A week in education

2nd March 2007 at 00:00
Glasgow City Council has lost its appeal against an employment tribunal ruling that an atheist teacher was a victim of religious bias because he was not considered for a promoted post in a Cath-olic secondary. David McNab was not interviewed for the post in pastoral care at St Paul's High because he was not a Catholic and would not have been approved by the church. But in the ruling, Judge Lady Smith said education authorities were not required to provide Catholic education, but to facilitate it and the tribunal did not accept that being a Catholic was a "genuine occupational requirement" for a post in an RC school.

South Lanarkshire has a new director of education: Larry Forde will take over from Ken Arthur in April. Mr Forde, 47, was previously head of quality in its education department.

Highland Council has appointed Donnie MacDonald, head of education, to take charge of education, culture and sport while looking for a successor to Bruce Robertson, who took up his post on Monday as education director in Aberdeenshire.

First Minister Jack McConnell, and Chancellor Gordon Brown, have come up with another two targets, despite having got into difficulties with some of their existing ones. At a Labour Party event last week, they endorsed the merging of the Skillseekers programme with modern apprenticeships, which would be expanded from 34,000 places to 50,000 a year by 2011. They believe that, combined with a new advanced programme acting as a bridge to degrees, this should allow half of the Scottish population to have degrees or their equivalent by 2020 - compared with a 40 per cent target in England.

In another pledge, Mr McConnell said this week that a government led by him after the May elections would give colleges and universities real terms funding increases every year for the next four years. Universities Scotland claims the sector needs an extra pound;168 million, or 15 per cent above inflation, to keep it competitive.

Glasgow University is setting up a specialist centre for experienced as well as newly-qualified science teachers to stimulate freshness in their teaching. Only 18 per cent who enrolled on the postgraduate teacher education course for secondary teachers were in science.

The performance of the children and families department of Edinburgh City Council, which covers education and social work for young people, "is improving from a low baseline", according to a best value report by the Accounts Commission on Tuesday.

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