News at a glance
Immediate closure for Aberdeen school
The Scottish government has taken the rare decision to force the closure of a private school in Aberdeen because of serious safety concerns. An Education Scotland inspection report published on 21 February found a catalogue of failings at the Hamilton School; it was closed the same day. Minister for learning Alasdair Allan said that officials had "no alternative" but to close the school immediately. On Monday, the Care Inspectorate published a "statement of concerns" after visiting the school's nursery, which could accommodate up to 218 children. The nursery has also now closed. Aberdeen City Council reopened a former school on Monday to accommodate about 125 primary-age children from the Hamilton School. Police Scotland said this week that enquiries were ongoing and that two women aged 65 and 25 had been charged in connection with their investigation, although no further details could be given.
English specialist found 'unfit to teach'
An English and drama teacher has been struck off the teaching register for incompetence. Maria Anna Sakkadas had failed to maintain the appropriate standards while employed as a teacher at St Paul's High School in Glasgow between August 2010 and May 2012, despite additional support provided by Glasgow City Council, the General Teaching Council for Scotland's fitness to teach panel found.
New leader tasked with Irvine Royal turnaround
Student learning experiences at North Ayrshire's Irvine Royal Academy are "not of a consistently high enough quality and often lacking in challenge", an Education Scotland inspection report has found. Inspectors also said there were "important weaknesses in the quality of the curriculum across the school". However, they acknowledged that the recently appointed headteacher Tracy Stewart had gained the respect of the school community and had accurately identified what was required for improvement.
Apprenticeships on the rise
The number of new modern apprentices taken on between April and December 2013 rose 7 per cent on the same period in 2012, according to figures from Skills Development Scotland. More than 19,000 people started modern apprenticeships in the first nine months of 2013-14, an increase of 1,200 on the previous year. According to the Scottish government, this indicated that its annual target of having at least 25,000 apprentices taken on each year was on course to be met.
What do children want? Better school dinners ...
Students want to be consulted on school meals and would like to see more variety, value for money and locally sourced produce used in dishes, according to charity Children in Scotland. The organisation's Ask the children what they want report, published this month, surveyed more than 300 students across Scotland, and comes as the government is about to publish new guidance on school food.