News at a glance

22nd May 2015 at 01:00

Survey reveals support for education chief plans

Most parents agree with the Scottish government's plan to create a new post of chief education officer in every local authority, a survey suggests. The Scottish Parent Teacher Council canvassed views on Scotland's new education bill, including the controversial new post, which has been proposed to underpin the importance of education locally. Despite critics arguing that the role would be superfluous, the survey finds that 87 per cent of respondents back the creation of chief education officers.

Advisers sought to tackle attainment gap

Education Scotland is recruiting a team of "attainment advisers" to improve student achievement, with a particular focus on those from disadvantaged backgrounds. The new role is part of the Scottish government's push to drive up educational outcomes in the country's most disadvantaged communities. Education Scotland is aiming to recruit "highly motivated senior leaders with a proven track record in leading improvement in education". Successful applicants will be seconded on a full- or part-time basis to the body for up to two years, with one adviser to be appointed for each of the 32 local authorities.

Orchestra project of note praised by researchers

A new study finds that children taking part in a pioneering music training scheme display better attendance, language skills, handwriting and "confidence and pride". The Big Noise orchestra programme - inspired by the Venezuelan model El Sistema, which offers intensive musical tuition from a young age - has been running in Scotland since 2008. Healthcare Improvement Scotland chief executive Angiolina Foster said: "These first findings are impressive and fascinating. It is clear that over the next few years we could see even more exciting outcomes as the oldest children sit their exams and leave school."

Apprenticeships boosted by funding injection

An extra 500 modern apprenticeship places will be funded over the next year and more opportunities created for school pupils to undertake work-based foundation apprenticeships, thanks to a pound;3.8 million investment from the Scottish government. The additional places - announced to mark the start of Scottish Apprenticeship Week - are the first step in expanding Skills Development Scotland's apprenticeship programme from 25,000 new starts to 30,000 by 2020. A further pound;125,000 investment in CareerWISE, an initiative to raise awareness of Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) modern apprenticeships among girls, was also announced.

Humanists hand out atheist handbook to schools

The British Humanist Association (BHA) is sending a free copy of The Young Atheist's Handbook: lessons for living a good life without God to every secondary school library in Scotland. BHA chief executive Andrew Copson said Alom Shaha's book was "a perfect tool for helping young people to think critically about the world around them". The news comes a week after the Scottish Parliament's Education and Culture Committee decided to close a petition from the Scottish Secular Society calling for the teaching of creationism to be banned in science classrooms. The committee agreed with the government that it was preferable to "leave the curriculum to teachers.rather than to legislate to ban issues".

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