CfE evaluation 'may be done outside Scotland'
Education secretary Michael Russell has hinted heavily that the independent evaluation of the new curriculum will go to researchers based outside Scotland. Last week, TESS revealed that the government is to commission an evaluation of Curriculum for Excellence. Academics have been pushing for a review to discover whether the reforms are working. Speaking at an event at the University of Edinburgh, Mr Russell confirmed there was "something in the pipeline". However, he warned that any evaluation would have to be done properly. "Due to the nature of Scotland that's difficult - a great many academics and researchers have been involved in the implementation," he said.
EIS ballot on pay and conditions
The EIS teaching union is due to begin balloting members on changes stemming from the 2011 McCormac report on pay and conditions. The changes would give local authorities greater flexibility over working conditions. Members' agreement to the changes is a precondition of the acceptance of the most recent offer of a pay deal, which constitutes a 1 per cent increase across the teaching profession this year and in 2014-15, as well as improvements to the pay and conditions of supply teachers. The ballot is expected to begin next week and run for at least three weeks.
Commissioner campaigns for top toilets
Tam Baillie, Scotland's commissioner for children and young people, has launched the Flushed with Success: Setting the Standard for Scotland's School Toilets campaign to improve the bathroom experiences of the nation's students. He is calling on the Scottish government to introduce new guidance to ensure that children and young people have access to dignified and safe facilities. Although some schools had great toilets and went above and beyond what was required in legal terms, Mr Baillie said, he had come across many instances where the standard was poor.
'Standards at risk as budgets are cut'
Scottish teachers fear that budget cuts will become more severe in the future and cause standards to fall, according to a report from Children in Scotland. The charity interviewed nearly 300 people, including teachers, parents and council representatives. It found that local authorities appeared to be doing well in protecting core education budgets but that many interviewees believed this would not last. The report, Protect Learning - In and Out of School, also suggests that the benefits of Scotland's much-vaunted attempts to prioritise the preschool years could be "neutralised" by budget cuts. It calls for a review of the impact of cuts on children in the poorest communities. To download a copy of the report, visit www.childreninscotland.org.ukcampaigns.htm
Queries over feasibility of 'named person' adviser
Concerns have been raised about government plans to appoint a single point of contact for children and families who can provide advice about the council services they can use. The advisers would be based mostly within schools. Susan Quinn, former president of the EIS teaching union, told the Scottish Parliament's education committee that the union supported the principle of "named persons", but said she was concerned about the level of support that would be available. Ms Quinn said there should not be a "default position whereby the school is expected to provide a 'named person' regardless of capacity and resources".