News at a glance

13th March 2015 at 00:00

`Free for all' policies called into question

Council leaders have attacked universal services, saying they cost "a huge amount of money" and "provide well-off individuals with a benefit they do not require". Universal free school meals for P1-3 were introduced in January, and Scots also benefit from free university education. Speaking at the Cosla and Improvement Service annual conference in Crieff, David O'Neill, president of the local authorities' body, said: "Universality may seem popular but it seems to me that those who propose it are behind the times." He added that targets such as maintaining teacher numbers "soak up resources", stopping councils from taking preventative action. "We know that the balance between poor educational outcomes for some people and addressing the issues that caused the problem is wrong," he argued.

Primary building projects receive pound;21m boost

The Scottish government has announced that pound;21 million will be invested in three new primary school building projects in East Renfrewshire, Dundee, and Argyll and Bute as part of its pound;1.8 billion school building programme. The announcement was made as the education secretary Angela Constance visited Crookfur Primary School in East Renfrewshire, which will be extensively refurbished and extended thanks to the funding. Since Scotland's Schools for the Future programme was launched in 2009, 18 new schools have opened with a further 17 currently under construction. The programme aims to deliver more than 100 new or refurbished schools by March 2020.

`Golden moment' to inspire young women

Encouraging young women to fulfil their potential will be the focus of an event at the Scottish Parliament on Monday. The meeting was announced in the wake of last year's vote on independence by the presiding officer, Tricia Marwick. It will bring together 128 young women, four from one secondary in each of Scotland's 32 local authorities. The S4 and S5 pupils will explore themes of confidence, leadership and barriers that hold young women back. Ms Marwick said: "As the Scottish Parliament is led by its first female presiding officer, with women in key political positions, we have a golden moment now to encourage this generation of young women."

Teacher struck off after `inappropriate' texts

An English teacher who addressed female pupils as "sweetie", "sweetheart" and "sweetpea" in emails and text messages, and suggested that they meet up outside school, has been struck off by a General Teaching Council for Scotland fitness to teach panel. The Glasgow teacher, Michael Hendry, also frequently sent messages to the pupils late at night in which he complimented them on their appearance and personality, swore and made inappropriate comments about other members of staff. He failed to report that one of the pupils, who confided that her ex-boyfriend was "aggressive" and had hit her "a few times", was at risk of physical violence. The panel determined Mr Hendry was unfit to teach.

Und der Gewinner ist.

Nominations are open for the annual German Teacher Award, which pays tribute to language teachers in UK primary and secondary schools. The award, which consists of a pound;750 cash prize and a certificate, is given by the German Embassy in London, and is now in its 12th year. Headteachers must nominate German teachers by 12 May. The winner will be announced at a ceremony in the summer. Find out more at bit.lyGermanTeacher

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