A Week in Education
Teachers will not accept a continuing attack on vital public services, the leader of Scotland's largest education union has warned in the wake of a major anti-cuts demonstration on Saturday. An estimated 20,000 people, including teachers and lecturers from across Scotland, staged the march in Edinburgh, which was organised by Scottish Trades Union Congress and supported by the Educational Institute of Scotland. Ronnie Smith, the EIS general secretary, said: "Public services such as education are an investment, not a cost. The Government must continue to invest in our public services and in our education system."
The number of pupils at Scottish private schools has fallen for the third year in a row. The drop on last year was not huge - 0.5 per cent or 173 pupils - prompting the Scottish Council for Independent Schools (SCIS), which published the figures, to claim the outlook was positive. However, the sector's youngest recruits were worst hit, with a drop of 7.5 per cent in the number of nursery pupils attending private schools, from 1,855 to 1,713. The number of primary pupils also fell, but by just 2.3 per cent, from 11,306 to 11,045. There was a small rise of 1.2 per cent in the number of secondary pupils and an increase of 3.7 per cent in the number of pupils boarding, from 3,524 to 3,655. John Edward, director of SCIS, said: "It's clear that having chosen an independent school, parents will do all they can to keep their children there."
A new national advocacy service for additional support needs has been announced by Children's Minister Adam Ingram. Barnardo's Scotland and the Scottish Child Law Centre have been awarded the contract to provide free lay and legal advice to families and young people who appeal to ASN tribunals against education authorities' decisions regarding support, such as out-of-area placing requests. Until now, a free advocacy service has been provided on a temporary basis by parents' group Independent Special Education Advice (ISEA) Scotland.
The General Teaching Council for Scotland is launching two consultations on issues relating to its future independent status, including how the GTCS council will be elected and new rules for teacher registration. Chief executive Anthony Finn urged anyone with an interest in how the teaching profession is governed to take part. "Independence will offer new challenges and opportunities to the teaching profession in Scotland," he said, "and it is important that we prepare carefully and make the right decisions."
Dundee University has announced it will cut up to 195 jobs as part of a review. The university's governing court said the cuts would make it a more focused organisation and that many of the losses could be made through natural wastage and voluntary redundancy. The University and College Union claimed the job losses were "unnecessary", because the institution received a 1.8 per cent cash terms increase in the latest funding allocations, and has voted in favour of strike action.