News at a glance
SportScotland reveals jump in schools' activity
Pupils have taken part in almost 6 million Active Schools sessions in the past year - a 15 per cent increase on the previous 12 months. The SportScotland figures also show that the number of people delivering sporting activities in schools increased by 6 per cent to more than 20,000, about 17,000 of whom are unpaid volunteers. The Active Schools Network, a joint endeavour by SportScotland and the 32 local authorities, has for the past decade been organising sport and physical activity before, during and after school. The national agency last month announced an extra pound;50 million to fund the programme over the next four years.
Union deplores `dark shadow' of reforms
The NASUWT Scotland teaching union has warned that workload, stress and uncertainty will continue to increase as the profession struggles to implement reforms. General secretary Chris Keates praised the "outstanding performance" of pupils sitting the first National 4 and 5 qualifications, but said that reforms had "cast a dark shadow" across 2013-14. In addition, she said, the piecemeal introduction of new Highers from 2014-15 was contributing to "deep uncertainty across the profession" and high-quality resources, training and support were "urgently needed". Scotland organiser Jane Peckham added: "The increasing workload, bureaucracy and stress teachers are under is unsustainable for yet another year."
Employment fund extends to twentysomethings
The Scottish government has extended the age limit for the Youth Employment Scotland Fund to 30, meaning that an additional 13,000 young Scots will be eligible for the scheme. It is hoped that vulnerable groups, especially, will benefit from the extension to the fund, which supports employers in recruiting young staff. Training, youth and women's employment minister Angela Constance said that a recent review had "highlighted an opportunity to expand the programme to ensure it is accessible to those most at risk of being cut off from the labour market, such as working mums, care-leavers and disabled people".
Students give thumbs up to Scottish universities
University students have "endorsed Scotland's universities as the best place to pursue a higher education in the UK", according to Universities Scotland. Figures from the 2014 National Student Survey show that overall satisfaction of full-time undergraduate students in Scotland stands at 87 per cent, up from 86 per cent last year and higher than the 85 per cent in England and Wales. A Universities Scotland spokesman said that Scotland's universities had recorded improved or equal satisfaction from students in 21 out of 22 measures, including those assessing feedback, teaching, academic support, learning resources and personal development.
Could do better, South Ayrshire tells itself
South Ayrshire Council must address some "inconsistency in practice and planning", according to a report by Education Scotland. However, it adds that the council's strengths include "strong and robust self-evaluation" and "respectful relationships built on open and transparent communication between officers and staff in educational establishments". The findings emerged in a "validated self-evaluation" by the council.