A week in education

18th June 2010 at 01:00
A round-up of this week's news

Education authorities and other leaders of public bodies must be "more open and realistic" in discussions about the impact of cuts in funding, the Scottish Parliament's finance committee has urged. Its report last week on the efficient delivery of public services also calls for a greater link between spending priorities and performance. The committee's inquiry heard from School Leaders Scotland that there was an "absence of a golden thread" attaching government funding to what happens in the classroom. Finance Secretary John Swinney gave the MSPs a clear steer away from reducing the number of councils and towards sharing services. "What about a joint education service in, for example, East Dunbartonshire and West Dunbartonshire?" he asked. "That proposition could be entirely manageable."

Angus Council is looking for a new director of education after the sudden resignation of Rachael Seitz, who only took up the pound;102,900 post in November. Her departure was for "personal reasons", the council said. Ms Seitz was previously director of schools services in the London borough of Ealing and had been a quality development officer in East Renfrewshire. Senior education manager Neil Logue has taken over as acting director.

The unexpected decision by the governors of St Margaret's private school in Edinburgh to close it on June 29, because of falling pupil numbers, will not be reflected elsewhere in the sector, according to the Scottish Council of Independent Schools. "The circumstances of St Margaret's are specific to St Margaret's," SCIS director Judith Sischy said. Parents at the 350-pupil school have launched a campaign to save it.

Scottish school education had the most meagre pickings for many years in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours. No Scottish headteachers received recognition, although there was a liberal sprinkling of awards for their colleagues in England. The OBE was the most senior gong for Scottish education, with only three recipients - Graeme Hyslop, principal of Langside College in Glasgow; Jane Arrowsmith, principal of Troup House special school in Aberdeen; and Ian Colligan, former board chair at Dundee College. MBEs went to Moira Niven, head of educational development in West Lothian, and to Margaret Ann Forisky, development officer at West Lothian College. An OBE was awarded to Miles Dibsdall, new principal of Edinburgh's Telford College, in recognition of his time in his previous post in Lincolnshire.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority should be turned into a charitable trust fully independent of government, according to think-tank Reform Scotland. It suggests the SQA faces a "clear conflict of interest" in awarding qualifications as well as accrediting those of other bodies, such as City and Guilds. The latter role should be taken over by government.

Child protection services in the Stirling area, where the local authority pioneered a unified children's service, have received only one score of "good" from inspectors. The HMIE-led team handed out one "satisfactory" finding and rated the remaining four aspects as "weak". It wants to see earlier intervention to stop problems in families escalating and more immediate responses where there are concerns for children's safety.

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