A Week in Education

3rd December 2010 at 00:00

Lawyers for a former pupil of Castlebay Community School on Barra are threatening to sue Western Isles Council for pound;50,000, alleging the authority failed in its duty to provide Marion McLeod and some of her classmates with "a progressive education in English". Out of a class of 11, Marion and eight other classmates failed Higher English last year. Her lawyer, Cameron Fyfe, says she should be compensated for the damage to her career prospects. A spokesman for the council said: "Qualified English staff were in place throughout the academic year. The council is aware there may be a legal action and in light of this declines to make further comment at this stage."

Pupils at 55 per cent of Scottish primary schools are now receiving at least two hours of PE a week, according to the latest statistics. In 2004- 05, only 5 per cent of primaries hit the target. Only three authorities - Dundee City, East Renfrewshire and Perth and Kinross - are delivering two hours of PE in all their primaries. HMIE has also reported that 60 per cent of secondaries were last year delivering at least two hours of PE across S1-4. Education Secretary Michael Russell welcomed the "huge improvement", but Labour's spokesman on sport, Bill Butler, said: "These figures show that Mike Russell hasn't taken his party's pledge seriously enough."

The General Teaching Council for Scotland has removed two teachers from its register after hearings before its disciplinary sub-committee last week. Thomas Docherty, a former teacher of religious education at a secondary school in Midlothian, admitted having sex with a female pupil when she was over the age of 16 and while he was in a position of trust. Muriel Macdonald, former headteacher of Bragar Primary on Lewis, was also struck off the teaching register for removing a plaster cast from a young boy's arm and exposing the child to "unnecessary suffering or injury to health".

Teacher unemployment is dropping, Education Secretary Michael Russell told secondary heads at their recent School Leaders Scotland annual conference. There were 510 Jobseeker's Allowance claimants looking for jobs as teachers in October compared with 575 in September, 2010, and 560 in October, 2009. The figures show Scotland faring better than other parts of the UK, he said: they equate to 10 per 1,000 in the workforce in Scotland, compared to 12 per 1,000 in England, 15 per 1,000 in Wales and 30 per 1,000 in Northern Ireland.

A petition has been launched in a bid to overturn restrictions on parents taking photographs at nativity plays and school events. Started by Stuart Waiton, a sociology lecturer at Abertay University and commentator on youth issues, it argues: "A very natural part of recording a lovely event in someone's life is frequently being sullied by unnecessary regulations enforced by overzealous councils and headteachers who enforce such bans."

The Children's Hearings (Scotland) Bill has been passed by MSPs. It aims to give stronger rights to vulnerable young people and create a national body, Children's Hearings Scotland. Its national convener will be responsible for setting and monitoring standards and for the recruitment, support and training of Scotland's 2,500 local panel members. Set up in the 1960s as an alternative to juvenile courts, the system is based on the principle of protecting children's welfare.

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