Give early years' image a boost, says Siraj review
Primary headteachers are to undergo compulsory training on the importance of learning and childcare in the early years, in accordance with the guidance given by an independent review by one of the UK's leading experts in the sector. Professor Iram Siraj's report makes 31 recommendations designed to boost the "public's esteem of the sector" as well as improve the economy and Scottish society. It argues that a higher-quality workforce is a priority, and Professor Siraj says that paying staff the living wage is "fundamental to improvement". The Scottish government has responded by providing pound;1 million for staff development in the early years. For more information, go to bit.lyEarlyYearsReview
EIS to debate taking action on teacher workload
A number of delegates at the EIS teaching union's annual conference next week are due to call for ballots on industrial action if nothing is done to alleviate teachers' workload. Motions from Dundee and East Renfrewshire local associations both explicitly raise the prospect of striking, the latter in relation to negotiations over early retirement. Changes to the teachers' pension scheme will also feature in key debates. The union's general secretary, Larry Flanagan, said: "Teachers are always extremely reluctant to take industrial action, so it is significant that there are a number of motions calling for some form of industrial action over workload."
Teachers' association elects new president
North Ayrshire teacher Euan Duncan is the new president of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association. Mr Duncan, who was elected unopposed, is principal teacher of pastoral support at Kilwinning Academy in North Ayrshire. His first degree was from Durham University, after which he went into banking. Mr Duncan soon turned to teaching, specialising in religious and moral education, and started his new career at Irvine Royal Academy. He is an active Christian and self-taught DJ, and enjoys making music, cycling, hiking and dinghy sailing.
New website aims to get schools to go global
A new website from Education Scotland and the British Council Scotland aims to help schools set up "meaningful international experiences". Learners International draws on the expertise behind British Council school-linking programmes. Education Scotland's lifelong learning director Alan Armstrong said the resource marked a "step change" in helping schools work with international organisations, which would "truly benefit learners in this country and abroad". The site was launched at Queen Anne High School in Dunfermline, winner of the international category at the TES Schools Awards 2014. For more information, see bit.lyLearnersInt
Geography suffers from choices squeeze
The health of geography in Scottish schools is under threat from the narrowing of subject choices, according to a survey of teachers in 31 local authorities. Research by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and the Scottish Association of Geography Teachers found that pupils were likely to take only five or six National 4 and 5 courses. The society's chief executive Mike Robinson said: "If you consider that two of those subjects are maths and English, that is leaving the majority of pupils with only three or four other subjects to choose from. Geography, itself a broad subject, is suffering and the result is a greatly narrowed choice for pupils."