A Week in Education
Plans by Argyll and Bute Council to close 25 primaries have been halted after the council's new education spokesperson, Lib-Dem councillor Ellen Morton, said she wanted a fresh examination of the issues before the beginning of March. SNP members and the Scottish Rural Schools Network claim there are errors and inaccuracies in the consultation document. Meanwhile, Education Secretary Michael Russell, who is standing as a parliamentary candidate in the area, has been accused of trying to interfere in the process after he emailed SNP councillors in November, using his parliamentary email account.
Action is being taken to help pupils catch up on schoolwork they missed because of snow disruption at the end of last term, Education Secretary Michael Russell has pledged. Rescheduled prelims and the setting of extra work and project assignments for private study over the holidays and in term-time are among the moves. Planned exam leave in some areas, including East Lothian, has been cancelled to allow coverage of missed syllabus items, while East and West Lothian councils have postponed some teacher "in-service" days until the summer term. Aberdeen and Moray are to launch a "catch up" campaign, while Clackmannanshire and Falkirk are organising additional supported study sessions.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has announced a pound;1.5 million expansion of the CashBack for Communities programme - a move which will allow more youngsters to benefit from money seized from criminals. A grant scheme managed by Youth Scotland will receive pound;500,000 to help youth groups and uniformed organisations such as the Boys Brigade, Scouts and Girl Guides set up new units or expand their existing work. Other beneficiaries include Tayside Police's Just Play scheme for under-threes (pound;350,000); the Prince's Trust's development awards to help young people through school, college or employment (pound;300,000); and ScottishPower's engagement in the Scottish Government's personal development partnership, aimed at young people at high risk of offending (pound;200,000).
Oor Wullie, first created by Dundee publishers D.C. Thomson nearly 75 years ago, has topped the Scottish children's book chart, beating teen vampire genre specialist Stephenie Meyer into second, fourth and fifth places. The Guinness World Records 2011 came third. The chart is compiled by Waterstone's booksellers.
Education Secretary Michael Russell has lauded the power of technology to transform learning, citing examples of Scottish pupils using apps for smartphones and tablets to help them with lessons and homework. Popular educational Android and Apple apps in 2010 included: Star Walk - the interactive astronomy guide; Shakespeare Pro - the complete works of Shakespeare; Maths Workout - a daily maths challenge; The Elements - an interactive periodic table; and Zebra Paint - a finger-painting app. Mr Russell highlighted the work of pupils at Glencairn Primary in Motherwell, who have been using iPod Touches to research authors through the Wikipanion app, Google Earth for geography, and Comic Twist to design comic strips of famous explorers.
Money worries top the list of teenage concerns, according to a poll carried out by Young Scot. The survey of 12- to 16-year-olds' new year's resolutions on Young Scot's website found almost two fifths (38 per cent) of Scottish secondary pupils had vowed to improve how they managed their cash in 2011. Financial worries came out higher than health and environmental concerns.