A week in education

10th August 2007 at 01:00
Auditors say that challenges remain for Moray Council as it proceeds with a "difficult and politically contentious" PPP programme which will include two new secondary schools in Elgin. An Audit Scotland report did, however, praise the council for its "good progress in consulting and agreeing a systematic corporate schools estate strategy". The council's education department was heavily criticised in a previous Audit Scotland report last year.

Universities Scotland, the body representing higher education principals, has denied weekend reports that Scottish universities had a national policy of discriminating in favour of applicants from state schools rather than high performing pupils from the independent sector, where courses were over subscribed. A spokesman for the organisation said individual institutions operated their own admissions policies.

It is recognised, however, that universities such as Edinburgh and St Andrews, which have been criticised for their failure to widen access, have sought to give credit to state school pupils who are unlikely to opt for university. From this year, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service is asking applicants to university a question about their parents' educational attainment. "How universities use that information is up to them," said a Universities Scotland spokesman.

Isabel Hutton (left) is the new spokesperson for children and young people for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities. The SNP member, who was elected in May's local elections, is West Lothian Council's executive member for social policy.

Marks and Spencer and Save the Children have launched a campaign this week to raise money to enable at least 15,000 children in Uganda to go to school. With customers' support, MS aims to raise a minimum of pound;500,000 by donating 5 per cent of the sale price of main Back to School clothing during August.

The money will pay for the construction of 40 classrooms and two fully equipped pre-schools, the training of teachers and a complete set of teaching materials and text books for each classroom. It will also pay for safe water for a school, construction of two houses for teachers and their families, and toilets and washrooms in three schools.

Ten projects aimed at improving the quality and diversity of Scotland's public library services have been awarded pound;450,000 from the Scottish Executive. The funding, from the Public Library Quality Improvement Fund, is administered by the Scottish Library and Information Council, the advisory body to Scottish Ministers on library and information matters.

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