News at a glance

28th November 2014 at 00:00

Parliament debates ecological education for all

Learning about sustainability and other environmental issues should be compulsory in secondary schools, the Scottish Parliament heard this week. Alexander Fraser, a member of an Edinburgh school "eco-committee", lodged a petition with MSPs calling for mandatory teaching in this area. Environmental education is currently covered by curriculum guidance for "experiences and outcomes", which includes enabling children to make "reasoned choices" about sustainable development.

International Lego competition tests Stem skills

The annual First Lego League kicks off tomorrow in Edinburgh, pitting dozens of pupils from across Scotland against each other in a robot-building contest designed to boost skills in science, technology, engineering and maths. Teams of schoolchildren will take part in three national heats, working with engineer mentors to create and programme robots. The winners will go on to compete in the UK final of the international championships, which originated in the US. Schools in England have taken part for about a decade and Scotland joined last year.

Secondary teachers urged to log on to online classical music resource

Teachers can access a free online resource to teach pupils about classical music. Sinfini for Schools includes curriculum-linked lesson plans, musical scores and audio recordings based on two well-known works, Maurice Ravel's Bolero and the Toreador Song from Georges Bizet's opera Carmen. The resource, for pupils aged 11-14, was designed by specialist music teachers working with the classical website Sinfini Music. To download the teaching pack, visit www.sinfinimusic.comukschools

Government adds pound;329m to nursery places fund

A scheme to fund nursery places is being expanded, with a multimillion-pound boost announced by the new education secretary this week. Angela Constance, who replaced Michael Russell in the recent Cabinet reshuffle (see "Well-wishers urge new minister to tread carefully", left), confirmed that pound;329 million would be invested over the next two years to allow more children to benefit from the initiative. The move coincided with the launch of a new advertising campaign urging families and carers to check if children were eligible for places as the scheme is extended from three- and four-year-olds to disadvantaged two-year-olds.

Deaf school responds to child protection concerns

Managers of Donaldson's School in Linlithgow have delivered improvement plans to the government after being given seven days to address concerns raised by Education Scotland inspectors. The national deaf school was served with a preliminary notice - said to be the first of its kind in more than a decade - when inspectors visited last week, after allegations of misconduct were made against a staff member. Police Scotland has also been "undertaking an initial assessment". In 2013, inspectors highlighted the need for the school to improve its child protection procedures, and a follow-up report this summer said that although good progress had been made, this needed to be embedded further. The government confirmed that school managers had submitted their response, which was being "carefully considered". A spokesman said: "Immediate steps have already been taken, and will continue to be taken, to ensure the safety and well-being of the children and young people at Donaldson's."

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