A week in education

21st May 2010 at 01:00

New figures show that uptake of school meals has dropped since tough healthy-eating rules were introduced across Scotland in 2006. The annual number of dinners served has fallen by 5.7 million since 2002. In Glasgow, the uptake of school meals has dropped to 38 per cent from 61 per cent in 2006. Fergus Chambers, chief executive of Cordia, the company responsible for Glasgow's school canteens, blamed "draconian" regulations for the fall-off, which earned him a sharp rebuke from Mike Lean, professor of nutrition at Glasgow University.

Meanwhile, Irvine Royal Academy's dinner lady, Suzanne Duncan, has been named UK School Chef of the Year. Finalists had 90 minutes to serve a two- course meal meeting national nutritional guidelines, but costing no more than pound;1.25 per head. Suzanne served turkey drumsticks with summer salsa, a yoghurt and mint dip and homemade flatbread, followed by strawberry, rhubarb and ginger layered cheesecake.

More than two out of three carers aged six to 18 are being bullied at school, according to new figures. A UK-wide survey also found that 70 per cent of all those questioned said being a young carer made their lives more difficult. Nearly 71 per cent said there was not a single teacher who knew they were a carer. The Princess Royal Trust for Carers questioned 700 young people who looked after sick or disabled family members, including 48 in Scotland.

"Considerable work" still needs to be done to make vulnerable children safer in Fife, inspectors say. Child-protection services had "responded positively" to an initial HMIE report published in May last year, with stronger leadership and direction ensuring "a new energy and impetus for taking forward improvements". But, while there had been improvements in assessing risks and planning to meet children's needs, staff required more help. Some, including those working in addictions and mental health, did not always understand the need to share information. Children who might have benefited from a comprehensive medical assessment were not always identified.

A charity is contending with a rising number of calls about exam stress. YoungMinds, which aims to improve the emotional well-being and mental health of young people throughout the UK, handled a third more calls from parents concerned about the issue in 2009-10. In Scotland, the number of calls rose to 117 from 99 the previous year. The free helpline number is 0808 802 5544, Monday to Friday, 9.30am-4.30pm.

Children will no longer be held at the Dungavel immigration removal centre, the UK immigration minister, Damian Green, has announced. Families with children detained in Scotland will in future be moved to a specialist centre in Bedfordshire, he said. The change in policy - part of the coalition deal between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats - is being introduced immediately; a review into alternatives to detention is to be carried out.

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