News at a glance

20th March 2015 at 00:00

Widening access role goes to FE heavyweight

A key figure in UK further education is to head up the group charged with driving forward equal access to university for students from deprived backgrounds. Lanarkshire-born Dame Ruth Silver has chaired the former Learning and Skills Improvement Service, served as an adviser to Westminster's Commons Education Select Committee and co-chaired the UK Skills Commission. She will now chair the Widening Access Commission, a body announced by first minister Nicola Sturgeon in November as part of the Scottish government's plan to ensure 20 per cent of university entrants come from the most disadvantaged 20 per cent of society.

Tipp-Ex teacher's career crossed out

A biology teacher who attempted to pass off the work of a colleague's class as that of his own Higher pupils has been struck off by a fitness to teach panel. David McCallum was at Douglas Ewart High School in Dumfries and Galloway when he took coursework completed the previous year and used Tipp-Ex to delete the names of students. He asked his own pupils to sign off the work, keeping the full extent of the document hidden by a piece of paper. Mr McCallum claimed he had lost students' work for the assessment and had therefore tried to "cobble together" material. The General Teaching Council for Scotland panel found him unfit to teach.

Glasgow college governance under investigation

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has announced a review of the governance and management of Glasgow Clyde College, after the suspension of its principal Susan Walsh. The review, to be carried out by legal firm DLA Piper, will look at the circumstances surrounding the suspension, as well as the college's human resources policies, processes and procedures. The board's actions in relation to students will also be considered. SFC chief executive Laurence Howells said: "This review is important to make sure the Glasgow Clyde College board has met the high standards expected of it."

We're the envy of the English, says union boss

Teachers in England would "give their right arm" to work in the Scottish school system, according to union leader Larry Flanagan. Speaking at the annual conference of local authorities body Cosla, the EIS general secretary said he had reached that view after talking to colleagues in the NUT, which represents teachers south of the border. The picture in Scotland is not entirely rosy, however. Mr Flanagan highlighted EIS research showing that only half of teachers see themselves as working in a team with a common goal, and only half would recommend entering the profession.

Language learning gets pound;7m boost

Investment of more than pound;7 million has been announced by learning minister Alasdair Allan to help teach more languages in schools through the ambitious "1+2" model. In 2011 the Scottish government committed to introducing 1+2 by 2020, meaning that every primary school pupil would start learning a second language in P1 and a third language by P5 at the latest. Fhiona Fisher, director of SCILT, Scotland's National Centre for Languages, said it was "heartening to see languages being supported to this extent, particularly in the present fiscal climate".

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