News at a glance

28th March 2014 at 00:00

Scottish experts lead delegation to New Zealand

Key figures in the Scottish education sector are leading a UK delegation to an international summit. Education secretary Michael Russell and the general secretary of the EIS teaching union, Larry Flanagan, are attending the International Summit on the Teaching Profession in New Zealand today and tomorrow. The pair are making a joint address to the annual event, which is run by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Education International. It brings together education ministers and trade union leaders from 13 countries, including the US, Germany, Japan, Denmark and Sweden. Ken Muir, chief executive of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, is also part of the UK party.

Exam body enlists interpreters for deaf students

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has become the first UK awarding body to make instant communication available to deaf British Sign Language (BSL) speakers in their own language. SQA has joined forces with specialist interpretation company SignVideo to provide live translations. BSL users with a computer and a webcam can connect to an interpreter instantly, and make a free call to SQA customer support. SignVideo founder Jeff McWhinney said: "SQA is leading the way forward in providing full access for deaf people, showing how other public-service institutions with customer services that are inaccessible for deaf BSL customers could ensure full inclusion for deaf people like myself."

Unemployment rates fall for teachers

The number of teachers claiming jobseeker's allowance in February reached a new low, according to the Scottish government. Labour market figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that only 90 qualified teachers were looking for work - the lowest February figure since the statistics were first collated in 2005. This compares with 100 in January and 130 in February 2013. The Scottish figure equates to 1.8 teachers per 1,000, against 4.6 in England, 5.5 in Wales and 12 in Northern Ireland.

History teacher struck off for sex offence

A history teacher has been banned from the profession after engaging in sexual activity with a 16-year-old student from her school. Bernadette Smith, who taught at Bannockburn High, Stirling, was convicted on 29 November 2013 at Stirling Sheriff Court. The 35-year-old was sentenced on 26 February to a community payback order and made subject to sex offender registration. She waived her right to a hearing and was struck off this week by the General Teaching Council for Scotland's fitness-to-teach panel.

Crunching numbers for careers

An astrophysicist and a heart doctor are among those taking part in an initiative showing Scottish children why mastery of numbers is important. These and other professionals will talk about the use of numeracy in their jobs as part of the Young Academy of Scotland's attempt to tackle poor number skills. Neil McLennan, co-chair of the academy's Excellence in Education group, said: "It is vitally important that young people see the relevance of skills learned in the classroom linked to the everyday world and the world of work."

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