The new school year nears - it's time for a fresh start

16th August 2013 at 01:00

New term, new TESS. This week the magazine comes to you in a fresh, updated format. As well as an attractive new design, there is more space for Scottish news: our reporters will have greater scope to keep you up to date with the latest developments in education across the country.

Further inside the magazine, you'll notice a more international flavour. Teachers in 2013 are using technology to set their ideas flowing across national borders; TESS, of course, is part of the TES family of publications and online networks that connects more than 53 million teachers and students across the globe. The magazine will reflect that rapidly expanding community by bringing Scottish readers features from around the world.

We start as we mean to go on, with an exclusive report (see pages 16-18). Last year, TESS brought you news that SportScotland was embarking on the first ever national audit of sports facilities in schools. Now, we reveal the results.

They are highly encouraging: more schools than ever have gleaming new sports facilities, with a plethora of dance studios and fitness suites beckoning young people who may previously have given PE a wide berth. Stewart Harris, chief executive of SportScotland, sees an "extremely encouraging" picture emerging.

But it's not all good news: these facilities are not used nearly enough out of school hours. Even in secondaries, which are generally better equipped for a range of sports than primaries, only 61 per cent of available space is used during term time and 40 per cent of outdoor space (43 and 28 per cent respectively during holidays), although SportScotland says these figures are better than was anticipated.

And, as Andy Murray gears up to defend his US Open title this month, it is discouraging how thinly tennis courts are dotted around Scotland's state schools: 104 among the 2,080 schools that responded, although SportScotland says there are about 2,000 other courts in the country.

Things are changing. SportScotland is driving the idea of "community sport hubs", which should ensure that children do not grow up seeing sport as something to be enjoyed (or endured) for just a couple of timetabled school hours each week.

And tickets are about to go on sale for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, which next summer will put the eyes of the sporting world on Scotland like never before. As with the Olympics in London last year, legacy is the watchword - there may never be a better chance to catalyse the next generation's interest in sport.

We are very excited about the new TESS, and we hope you will be, too. Some things will not change: you will still see us at far more educational events, and in more schools and colleges, than any other publication. So share your thoughts with us, by email, letter or Twitter - or just come over for a chat.

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