News at a glance

20th September 2013 at 01:00

Exam body urged to crack down on cheats

More than a third of school students caught cheating during exams have been let off with a warning, new figures show. Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) statistics reveal that a total of 1,264 young people have been caught cheating in the past four years, 448 of whom were punished only with a warning. The Scottish Conservatives, who obtained the information, called on the exam body to adopt a tougher stance. But Eric Martinez, SQA director of operations, said that warnings were applied only where candidates gained no advantage from breaking the rules - for example, having a mobile phone in the exam room but not where it could be accessed.

Two-year-olds 'held to ransom'

The Scottish government has been accused of holding a generation of children to ransom by promising free nursery care for two-year-olds only if the country gains independence. At the Scottish Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow at the weekend, leader Willie Rennie argued that the government should already be matching provision in England and expanding nursery education to two-year-olds. However, the Scottish government hit back by saying that it was investing #163;190 million in extending free nursery education.

Fewer teachers on the dole, figures show

The number of teachers in receipt of unemployment benefit is at an eight-year low, new figures show. Last month, 240 claimants in Scotland were looking for jobs as teachers, the lowest number for August since 2005. Education secretary Michael Russell said: "Good progress is being made and more teachers are finding jobs. We will continue working closely with councils to ensure that teachers are able to gain work in our classrooms."

Heads removed over creationist church row

Two joint headteachers at a South Lanarkshire primary have been removed after parents complained about the school's involvement with a US-based religious group. South Lanarkshire Council has begun "a full investigation into management practices at the school" in relation to the Church of Christ's involvement with Kirktonholme Primary. The church was accused of handing out books to children that questioned evolution, among other concerns. Sandra McKenzie and Liz Mockus have been given education roles elsewhere. In a letter to parents, South Lanarkshire education director Jim Gilhooly said: "It was clear that everyone was keen to see the school move on."

Cross-country cyclist gears up his classmates

A 10-year-old boy from Bishopbriggs has completed the Pedal for Scotland Sportive in a bid to inspire children across Scotland to cycle to school. Patrick Kiehlmann of St Matthew's Primary cycled 110 miles from Glasgow Green to Edinburgh's Murrayfield Stadium in under 10 hours. Patrick has also already covered more than 2,000 miles simply by riding his bike one mile a day to and from school.

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