News at a glance

23rd August 2013 at 01:00

Deaf school investigates 'inappropriate' behaviour

A staff member at Donaldson's, Scotland's national school for deaf children, has been suspended and referred to the police, while two senior members of the school's team have also been suspended. Mary Mulligan, convener of the board of governors, told TESS that the board had recently learned of allegations that a staff support worker had been involved in an "inappropriate physical act" with a young person. The incident is alleged to have taken place in 2009, but not at the school in Linlithgow - which takes children from 2-19 - and not involving a student from the school. There are concerns that details of the incident may have been known by some staff. Ms Mulligan, in a letter to parents dated 19 August, explains that chief executive Janice MacNeill and headteacher Mary O'Brien have been suspended to allow an internal review, because the board needs "to be sure that certain school procedures have been followed".

More English students heading north

English students have become more likely to be accepted into Scottish universities since the introduction of higher fees for UK students outside Scotland, according to figures from admissions body Ucas. A total of 15.3 per cent who applied from south of the border in 2012 were accepted, up from 11.8 per cent in 2011, despite a fall in applications. Overall, English students made up 9.6 per cent of the number accepted at Scottish universities last year, up by a fifth since 2011. The number of Scots accepted has also risen.

Refreshing the parts others don't reach

The second stage in the testing of a professional reaccreditation scheme for teachers, which would make serving teachers refresh their skills regularly, has been launched by the General Teaching Council for Scotland. It will bring in up to 11 more local authorities and six independent schools. A working group has explored similar schemes in medicine, dentistry and accountancy, as well as that operated for teachers in Victoria, Australia. The target date for implementation of the Professional Update scheme across Scotland is 2014.

Statistics and damned lies

Scotland has been criticised by the UK Statistics Authority for not producing league tables of exam results. In a letter to Westminster schools minister David Laws, the authority chair Sir Andrew Dilnot summed up the findings of a report, School-Level Examination Statistics. He writes that if government statisticians do not produce league tables and advice, "the evidence suggests that media and interest groups will simply gather up the individual schools' results and publish them in forms which are ... more likely to lead to misunderstanding and misuse". The Scottish government said that comparison of schools is "almost impossible".

Severance payouts cost colleges dear

Costly college staff severance payouts are a "damning indictment of the SNP's college reforms", Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesman Liam McArthur has said. Colleges faced a #163;25 million cut this year and the money spent on pay-offs would have filled the funding gap and protected courses, he said. Scottish Funding Council figures showed that #163;42 million was spent on payments to staff taking voluntary severance as colleges merge, more than #163;39 million of which was provided by the council itself.

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