News at a glance

12th December 2014 at 00:00

Colleague's return averts Ayrshire College action

Lecturers at Ayrshire College will not be escalating their strike action, after a member of staff was allowed to return to work. The EIS-FELA union, which represents FE teaching staff, has withdrawn its ballot of members for further strike action relating to the suspension of a colleague. A joint statement from the college and the union said the investigation, which was prompted by student complaints, had been concluded and the employee would return this week. College principal Heather Dunk said the disciplinary process would continue in line with college policy. Lecturers at the college's North Ayrshire campus have also now suspended strike action over proposed changes to their terms and conditions.

Coalition demands more cash for mental health

Mental health services for children and young people in Scotland are at crisis point, according to the Scottish Children's Services Coalition (SCSC). The organisation has called on health, well-being and sport secretary Shona Robison to direct extra funding towards provision for vulnerable children and young people, after it was announced that pound;125 million of additional funding would be invested in the NHS. Hundreds of vulnerable young people were missing out on treatment or waiting too long for support, the SCSC said.

Charity regulator signs off on private schools

Scottish independent schools have welcomed a report from the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR), which reveals that 40 of the 52 schools reviewed since 2007 have met the test for charitable status in Scotland. A further 10 initially failed the test but are now compliant with the requirements under charity law. The remaining two reviews have been suspended. John Edward, director of the Scottish Council of Independent Schools, said that they had undergone more "rigorous and in-depth scrutiny" than any other group of Scottish charities.

New youth employment group gets to work

The first meeting of the National Invest in Young People Group took place earlier this week. The body has been set up by the Scottish government to oversee the establishment of regional employer-led groups across Scotland, a key recommendation of the Wood commission. It is chaired by STV chief executive Rob Woodward and includes industry representatives, Ayrshire College principal Heather Dunk, Edinburgh City Council chief executive Sue Bruce and Scottish Trades Union Congress general secretary Grahame Smith. Roseanna Cunningham, the fair work, skills and training secretary, said the first meeting was an "important step in the delivery of a wide-ranging, radical programme to develop a world-class vocational education system for Scotland".

Pupil-teacher ratio increases in state schools

The pupil-teacher ratio in Scotland's state schools has increased this year, from 13.5 to 13.6, according to new government figures. The primary ratio rose from 16.5 to 16.7, as the secondary figure dropped from 12.2 to 12.1. The total number of full-time equivalent teachers fell by 254 to 50,824, from 51,078 in 2013. Meanwhile, the proportion of new teachers finding permanent or temporary work after their probation year rose from 79 to 80 per cent, matching the upward trend identified in the annual TESS probationer survey in August. Average P1-3 class sizes rose from 23.2 to 23.3, with a sharper drop in the proportion of pupils in classes of 18 or fewer, from 13.6 per cent to 12.9 per cent.

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