A week in education
More than 1,000 Scottish students, lecturers and other protestors joined Wednesday's demonstration in London against university cuts and increased fees. NUS Scotland fears cuts of up to 80 per cent in university teaching funds will be passed on to the Scottish Government, and that Scottish students studying elsewhere in the UK will incur debts of up to pound;40,000. The Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru joined the National Union of Students in a protest letter to Business Secretary Vince Cable over Government plans to increase tuition fees. They argue that trebling fees in England will have "a very real and damaging impact" on potential students and their families, wherever they stay in the UK.
The rights of children with additional support needs will be strengthened by new legislation on Sunday. It will ensure that they and their families can make out-of-area placing requests for specific schools, and have access to support and tribunals if a request is refused. Barnardo's Scotland, with the Scottish Child Law Centre, has been contracted to provide free advice to families who appeal against education authorities' decisions on provision of support.
All single parents studying in Scotland will be eligible for support toward the cost of childcare, Education Secretary Michael Russell has announced. A pound;2 million fund, initially set aside for university students, will now also be available for further education students. Mr Russell said the move would ensure "no lone parent misses out on the ability to learn, due to issues with their ability to pay".
Skills Development Scotland has worked with Macdonald Hotels and Resorts to create 109 Modern Apprenticeship places. Trainees in Aviemore, Edinburgh and elsewhere, covering a wide range of ages, will earn vocational qualifications in professional cookery, general hospitality and food and drink service, and hospitality management. Skills Development Scotland said more plans were afoot for collaborations with companies that would improve skills in Scottish tourism.
An Aberdeen teacher has been suspended after allegedly talking about internet pornography with a pupil. David McGhee, 44, principal teacher of history at Kincorth Academy, was also alleged to have made inappropriate comments to pupils on two further occasions. He had been charged by police over the allegations but the case was dropped after an investigation. Meanwhile, a retired design and technology teacher, who worked at the city's St Machar Academy, faces a ban for allegedly hitting a pupil on the hand with a chisel and hitting a pupil on the head. Douglas Tredinnick denies both charges. A General Teaching Council Scotland disciplinary hearing is scheduled for next month.
Schools and youth groups have been urged to apply for free educational trips for vulnerable children or those with special needs, through the Give Us a Break charitable project run by Hostelling Scotland. There were 220 places left earlier this week, for trips in spring and summer 2011. They will involve outdoor sports and activities in places such as Loch Lomond, the Cairngorms and Loch Ness. The deadline is November 18. Visit www.hostelling scotland.com for more information.