A week in education

1st October 2010 at 01:00

The drive to tackle obesity appears to be paying off, according to the Scottish Government. It seized on the latest figures from the Scottish Health Survey, which showed that, among children, there has been a drop in those with an unhealthy body mass index - from 38.2 per cent among boys in 2008 to 31 per cent last year, and from 28.7 per cent to 28.3 per cent among girls. Young people are eating more healthily, said public health and sport minister Shona Robison, but she added it was "too soon to predict a downward trend".

Children's rights must be at the heart of decisions on cuts to public expenditure, Scotland's commissioner for children and young people has demanded. Launching his 2009-10 annual report, Tam Baillie has called on the Government, local authorities and other public bodies to conduct a "children's rights impact assessment" before deciding on savings. He said this tool would allow officials to weigh up the consequences of their decisions and therefore lead to more "fair and informed judgments".

Pupils with a science baccalaureate will be considered for entry into second year of related degree courses at Edinburgh University, but those who sit the languages baccalaureate will not be fast-tracked. The university, which will also continue to consider applicants with good Advanced Highers for direct entry into second year, has become the first to announce it will accept the Scottish baccalaureate as a formal entrance requirement. Professor Mary Bownes, a vice-principal at the university, said: "The breadth and depth of study required is ideal preparation for higher education."

Educational psychology services in Inverclyde need to become more universal and adopt a "robust" self-evaluation regime, an inspection has concluded. An HMIE report accepts, nevertheless, that the service has made a promising start in making improvements and had "a sound understanding" of its own strengths and weaknesses.

The proportion of Scottish pupils attending schools in good or satisfactory condition increased from 61 per cent in 2007 to 82 per cent this year, according to figures published this week. Labour, however, was scathing about the failure of the Scottish Future's Trust to build one of the 303 schools rebuilt or refurbished since 2007. The party also highlighted the fact that a quarter of Scottish schools remained in poor or bad condition.

A former principal of Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen has taken the unusual step of handing back his honorary degree in protest at the decision to award one to American tycoon Donald Trump. David Kennedy, who was instrumental in bringing the institution into existence as a university, said Mr Trump ought not to be held up as an example of how to conduct business. The businessman, whose golfing and housing plans for the north-east are opposed by Dr Kennedy, is due to receive his honorary doctorate in business administration next Friday in recognition of what RGU describes as his "business acumen, drive and focus".

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