News at a glance

24th October 2014 at 01:00

Income determines outcome, says poverty report

A significant gulf in educational outcomes between pupils in rich and poor areas of Scotland has been revealed by a major new report. The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission's annual State of the Nation research found that those in the poorest neighbourhoods were four times less likely to go on to education, training and employment after leaving school. But the report also shows that Scotland has the UK's lowest child poverty rate after factoring in housing costs, and a relatively low proportion of children in workless households. However, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesman Liam McArthur said the findings were a "damning criticism" of the Scottish government's approach to child poverty.

Attacks on teachers are on the rise

Verbal and physical assaults on school staff have risen in almost a third of Scotland's 32 council areas, according to figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives. A Freedom of Information request from the party found that 10 of the 24 local authorities who responded had recorded an increase in such episodes between 2012-13 and 2013-14. Liz Smith, the party's spokeswoman for young people, called for a "zero-tolerance" approach to bad behaviour. Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the EIS teaching union, took a similar view but stressed that the most serious cases of pupil misbehaviour were rare. Falling staff numbers and rising class sizes were likely to contribute to a lack of discipline in pupils, he said.

Private school leader backs vote for 16-year-olds

The principal of an Edinburgh private school has backed calls for the voting age to be lowered to 16 in all UK elections in light of the huge turnout for the independence referendum last month. Melvyn Roffe, principal of George Watson's College, expressed support for the idea as a University of Edinburgh study was published that recommended lowering the voting age. Meanwhile, a primary pupil became a headteacher for a day as part of a referendum-inspired democracy project in Orkney. Stromness Primary School P6 student Daniel Kirkpatrick was elected by classmates who liked his manifesto, which pledged to turn the gym into a pop-up cinema for an afternoon.

Teacher caught with cocaine returns to school

A secondary PE teacher convicted of possessing cocaine at the T in the Park festival was allowed to continue teaching on the condition that he underwent monthly drug testing for a year to prove that he was not taking illegal substances. William Simpson, who was suspended from Blairgowrie High School in Perth after the incident at the music festival last year, was given the conditional order after the GTCS fitness to teach panel agreed that his misconduct - which he said was linked to chronic back pain - was unlikely to be repeated.

Staff join forces for First World War lessons

Teachers planning lessons on the centenary of the First World War can now access a new online forum to share resources. Education Scotland has created the site to provide access to information geared towards each stage of the curriculum. The site also features a newsfeed and details of upcoming projects. More details are available on the Glow portal at


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