A Week in Education

11th June 2010 at 01:00

An extra in-service day, to help teachers prepare for Curriculum for Excellence, has been announced by the Government following discussions with the Educational Institute of Scotland. Education Secretary Michael Russell said in a letter to teachers sent on Tuesday that it should appear in local authorities' calendars between August and December. The extra day is for teachers to "address specific issues in their own school". EIS general secretary Ronnie Smith said the announcement marked a "significant step forward" in implementation. The move, coupled with an additional pound;3 million to support curriculum reform, "demonstrates that the Scottish Government recognises that CfE must be properly supported and properly resourced", said Mr Smith.

University tuition fees are no closer to making a comeback in Scotland, regardless of any decisions taken in England, the Scottish Parliament decided last week. MSPs voted 65-16 to ensure students would not have to pay up front for their higher education, with the Scottish Government's stance backed by Labour and Liberal Democrat MSPs. Last week's debate failed to produce suggestions for alternative sources of income, however. Labour and the Conservatives called for an independent review of university funding, a move ruled out by Education Secretary Michael Russell. A review south of the border, led by Lord Browne of Madingley, could lead to a rise in tuition fees at English universities.

A damning indictment of enterprise in Scotland has emerged from a Strathclyde University report, which found that of 20 similar countries, only Japan and Belgium had lower entrepreneurial activity in the last 11 years. Millionaire Sir Tom Hunter, who funds the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at Strathclyde Business School, which carried out the research, said Scotland's record in entrepreneurship was "poor and getting worse". The findings raise questions about the effectiveness of enterprise education at a time when ring-fenced funding for the Determined to Succeed programme is coming to an end and the subject is being subsumed into Curriculum for Excellence. The move carries benefits and dangers, it argues: integration should ensure universal enterprise education, but lessons may be delivered by teachers who lack expertise.

Dundee's child protection services have improved significantly since the death of toddler Brandon Muir in March 2008, a report has found. An independent review was ordered after the 23-month-old was killed by his mother's boyfriend, who was jailed for 10 years. Peter Wilson, former chief constable of Fife Constabulary, found that people could now have more confidence in Dundee's children's services. He said it was clear that action had been taken following an initial report into Brandon's death, and added: "The work has been considerable and the impact on both the organisational processes and the staff can be sensed in the mood of the workforce, and in their self-confidence about their role."

The Educational Institute of Scotland has welcomed this week's announcement that the National Assessment Bank of tests for assessment under the 5-14 guidelines will be switched off at the end of June, with a new National Assessment Resource of assessment materials for CfE to be launched in September. Ronnie Smith, EIS general secretary, said: "The NAB is wholly incompatible with CfE, and its continuing use by some authorities has been hampering and delaying teachers' work on its implementation."

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