A Week in Education
Edinburgh secondary heads have reiterated their call for more schools to be closed to stave off expected budget cuts. In a joint letter to the council, the 23 headteachers point out that the city "continues to educate a considerable minority of its young people in sub-standard accommodation at the same time as many of its schools are under-occupied." Proposed cuts in business manager and depute head posts have particularly irritated the heads who claim this will add to the pressures on other staff and therefore adversely affect teaching.
The number of unemployed teachers in Scotland claiming Jobseeker's Allowance has fallen for the fourth consecutive month and is the lowest in the UK, according to official figures. They show 320 on the claimant count in December, compared with 575 in September last year. This means that, at the end of last year, six out of every 1,000 teachers in Scotland were unemployed, 10 in England, 12 in Wales and 22 in Northern Ireland.
A Midlothian pupil has beaten off competition from 11 pupils throughout the UK to win a Living for Sport accolade of student of the year, in a competition organised by Sky Sports and the Youth Sport Trust. Conor Fitzpatrick of Newbattle Community High in Dalkeith had already won the Scottish heat and the judges were impressed by how he had been transformed from a student who rarely attended lessons to someone who, through sport, grew in confidence and was now coaching younger pupils.
Glasgow's education psychology service has been praised by inspectors for its efforts in encouraging the nurturing of pupils and promoting "the motivated school" which places the emphasis on pupil well-being, personal development and empowerment. Its work with pupils after they leave school is also commended. Improvements required are the usual HMIE recipe - better performance management and more consistency.
First Minister Alex Salmond this week announced a new initiative to promote the work of Robert Burns among pupils. It includes increased subsidies for schools to visit historic sites, such as the poet's new pound;21 million birthplace museum in Alloway, Ayrshire. Mr Salmond also used Burns Day on Tuesday to remark that Burns was "an educated man - and the most important thing is that Scotland then was the only country in the world where somebody of Burns's status in life would have been an educated man".
The merger between Edinburgh University and Edinburgh College of Art is to go ahead, despite some protests. The Scottish Government has approved the plan, backed by pound;13.8 million of new investment from the Scottish Funding Council. But Education Secretary Michael Russell accompanied the announcement by barbed comments about mismanagement of the art college in the past which meant that, even with the extra millions, it would still not have been able to go it alone.
Two Glasgow schools that merged last year have chosen to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of Cardinal Thomas Winning by naming the new school after him. St Aidan's and St Joan of Arc secondaries, which cater for pupils with special needs, will now be called Cardinal Winning Secondary.