News at a glance
Councils required to be more open over closures
The Scottish government is planning to make changes to the law on school closures to ensure that the process is more transparent and that parents and communities are better informed. The proposed changes to the consultation process are part of the government's response to the recommendations of the Commission on the Delivery of Rural Education. It will aim to clarify the presumption against closure of rural schools and will mean that clear financial information will have to be set out for a school closure proposal. David O'Neill, president of local authorities body Cosla, has accused
education secretary Michael Russell of "bad faith" over the plans, which stipulate that a council has to prove the educational benefits of closing a school. The commission had said there would be sufficient grounds if the impact of closure was neutral.
Teacher removed for Facebook messages
A technology teacher has consented to be removed from the teaching register for sending Facebook messages to a girl aged 13 commenting on her appearance and requesting pictures of her. Kyle John Young waived his right to a full hearing in front of the General Teaching Council for Scotland. He was convicted in April 2013 at Hamilton Sheriff Court of sending a written sexual communication to a minor and sentenced to a Community Payback Order with a supervision requirement of three years. He was also made subject to the notification requirements of the Sex Offenders' Register.
Police step in over row about golliwog painting
A police inquiry is under way after a woman complained that an almost 80-year-old mural at Wardie Primary in Edinburgh was "racially offensive". The mural in the assembly hall, depicting scenes from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, features a painting of a golliwog. Margaret Neizer-Rocha said she found it inappropriate and complained to the council, MSPs and the police. However, a council spokesman said there were no plans to cover or remove the mural, which was of "both historical and artistic importance as evidenced by the fact that it recently received full Heritage Lottery funding support to restore the work".
No need to be doleful about graduate employment
Scotland has the highest concentration of graduates in the UK outside London, new figures from the Office for National Statistics show. The data, published this week, also set the Scottish graduate unemployment rate at about 4 per cent, only slightly higher than in the South West of England, which has the lowest rate in the UK. Education secretary Michael Russell said that despite the good news, the government knew there was still "much work to be done to ensure that all our graduates have the opportunity to access sustainable graduate-level jobs".
New moves over safe use of mobile technology
The EIS teaching union has welcomed a promise by the Scottish government to provide advice to schools on the safe and responsible use of mobile devices, to protect students and staff from bullying. Minister for learning Alasdair Allan said it would help schools to develop policies to promote the responsible use of mobile technology in schools. He also said that a summit of internet providers and anti-bullying partners would take place on 4 December. EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: "This new guidance, which complements existing EIS advice for teaching staff, brings an important national perspective to the issue of safe and responsible use of mobile technology in schools."