News at a glance

23rd January 2015 at 00:00

GTCS considers aptitude test for foreign teachers

Teachers from outside Scotland who are seeking employment in the country's schools could be required to pass a new aptitude test. The plans - which would ask teachers to demonstrate their subject knowledge, teaching techniques and language proficiency - are being considered by the General Teaching Council for Scotland. The move comes after a ruling by the Court of Session last year, which was deemed to have weakened the requirement of a degree-level qualification for teachers in Scotland. A GTCS report said that aptitude testing would ensure teachers working in Scottish schools had the required level of academic knowledge and pedagogical expertise.

Bursary budgets exhausted in majority of colleges

Almost two-thirds of Scottish colleges had spent their further education bursary allowance by December, according to figures from NUS Scotland. The body said the number of bursary awards made to students by colleges had increased by 18 per cent between 2012-13 and 2013-14, although money provided by the Scottish Funding Council for that purpose went up by only 6 per cent. The NUS figures show that the biggest overspend on student support was recorded by South Lanarkshire College, which had spent 149 per cent of its bursary budget by December, closely followed by Ayrshire College (132 per cent) and Perth College UHI (126 per cent).

Want a logic boost? Try learning a new language

Learning a foreign language can improve general thinking skills, a study by the University of Edinburgh has found. Researchers looked at humanities and language students, testing their ability to concentrate on certain sounds, produce different words and switch between counting up and down. The language students were found to be better at switching attention and filtering information. Dr Thomas Bak, of the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, said the study demonstrated that learning languages "has beneficial effects on cognitive functions that go well beyond the language itself".

Survey finds referendum legacy of engagement

More than a third of 16- and 17-year-olds who were able to vote in last year's Scottish independence referendum actively campaigned for one of the sides in the debate, a Scottish Parliament committee has found. A survey of more than 1,200 young people carried out by the Devolution (Further Powers) Committee also reveals that four out of five teenagers now want to be able to vote in all elections, with two-fifths having attended a campaigning event in the run-up to the referendum vote. Committee convener Bruce Crawford said it was "quite clear" that young people in Scotland now wanted a say in the elections that shaped their lives.

Bidding bonne chance to Glasgow trainee chefs

A team of students from City of Glasgow College are set to take part in one of the world's most prestigious culinary competitions next week. Murray McDavid, Nikola Plhakova and Aoife Munro, two of them graduates of the college's HND in professional cookery and one of its hospitality management HND, will travel to the French city of Lyon with lecturer Gary Maclean to take part in the Bocuse D'Or contest. The group qualified for the competition by winning last year's UK-wide Toque D'Or. Mr Maclean was named runner-up in the Chef Lecturer category of the 2014 Craft Guild of Chefs Awards.

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