News at a glance
Slew of award nominations for TESS staff
TESS reporter Julia Belgutay has won the top award for further education reporting at the CIPR Education Journalism Awards. Judges for the UK-wide awards described Julia's winning article on Edinburgh college mergers as "an excellent piece of investigative and informative journalism". Her colleague Henry Hepburn was runner-up in the schools journalism category, with judges praising the amount of first-hand research in his piece exploring restrictions on internet use in schools. Julia was also shortlisted in the apprenticeship and skills category. At the PPA Scottish Magazine Awards, Henry and fellow TESS reporter Emma Seith were finalists in the Business and Professional Feature Writer of the Year Award. Designer Dan Sinclair was also shortlisted in the cover of the year category for a design relating to a story on Scottish independence.
Shetland secondary to close after council vote
The secondary department at Skerries School in Shetland - often described as Scotland's smallest secondary - is to close next summer. The department, which has three students and has fought off several closure attempts, serves the archipelago of Out Skerries. Shetland Islands Council made its decision on a casting vote, after a two and a half hour meeting ended in a 10-10 deadlock. The council argued that students would get a better education on the mainland, where they would board on week nights, and that the move would save almost #163;74,000 a year. The islanders, who fear that the closure could force families to leave, dispute the calculations and hope to overturn the decision.
Denominational schools 'don't cause sectarianism'
Denominational schools do not lead to sectarianism, according to a major report commissioned by the Scottish government. The Independent Advisory Group on Tackling Sectarianism in Scotland, which gathered evidence over 15 months, "does not believe that sectarianism stems from, or is the responsibility of, denominational schooling, but recognises the important role that education plays in tackling social issues such as sectarianism". Community safety minister Roseanna Cunningham said good work was already under way in education to tackle sectarianism.
More students going on to positive destinations
The proportion of young people in education, training or work after leaving school has risen to the highest level on record, according to new figures from Skills Development Scotland. In October, 91.4 per cent of school-leavers had secured a positive destination, compared with 89.9 per cent last year and 89.5 per cent in 2011-12. Education secretary Michael Russell said the figures for positive initial destinations gave him "further confidence that we are producing a generation of young Scots capable of great success, whatever they move on to". The government offers a guaranteed place in education, work or training to every 16- to 19-year-old.
New website holds key to CfE guidance
A website offering guidance and support on Curriculum for Excellence to teachers and parents has been launched by Education Scotland. Key Curriculum Support (www.educationscotland.gov.ukkeycfesupport) was created after feedback from the education sector said that information should be gathered in one place, rather than on a number of different sites. Alastair Delaney, strategic director at Education Scotland, said it was "easy to use and will certainly help reduce time spent searching between websites". The site was launched on the same day as it was announced that the curriculum at Kirkintilloch High in East Dunbartonshire had been judged "excellent" by Education Scotland inspectors.