News at a glance
Strike ballot threatened as talks founder
The prospect of industrial action in schools moved a step closer this week after a meeting failed to reach agreement on teachers' pay and conditions. The EIS teaching union said that it remained open to dialogue with councils and the government over the summer, but warned that if substantial progress was not made by early in the new school year, it would ballot members on the possibility of strike action. Councils have called for "a large dose of realism" from the teaching union, arguing that a proposed two-year deal of 2.5 per cent, backdated to 1 April, was "generous" in the context of austerity.
Council to cut senior posts to make pound;600K savings
West Dunbartonshire Council is proposing to reduce the number of deputy headteacher posts at four of its five secondary schools. It also intends to cut the number of principal teachers at most schools in a bid to save pound;600,000. A spokesman said the changes would be implemented in two phases, with the reduction in the number of deputies taking place from August. The second phase, bringing the number of pastoral care principal teachers in line with each school's roll, would begin in April next year. Under the new system, principal teachers would have responsibility for a number of subjects. "The proposed changes will not result in any job losses," the council said.
Grades demand `distresses' private school pupils
A leading private school has "distressed" pupils by sending out letters specifying the grades they need to attain, according to an Education Scotland report published this week (bit.lyAlbynReport). Parents criticised Albyn School in Aberdeen earlier this year for a letter suggesting that pupils who underperformed in S4 exams should consider "alternatives" for S5. The inspection report on the independent school, where fees are up to pound;11,520 a year, finds that most families are happy with the support the school provides, but adds: "A few learners have been distressed by letters.relating to attainment standards." In a separate inspection report, Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh is also urged to make immediate improvements to the ways students were supported.
Young jewellers sparkle at enterprise awards
Students from Kirkwall Grammar School on Orkney will represent Scotland at the UK Company of the Year Awards in London next month. Their business, Fjara, was named Scottish Company of the Year at the Young Enterprise Scotland (Yes) Awards in Glasgow last week. The Yes Awards celebrate the success of businesses established by 16- to 18-year-olds. Fjara, which has made pound;2,800 from sales of seaglass jewellery that reflects Orkney's heritage, also won the Marketing Star School Award and the Investors in Young People Award. The students' teachers, Aileen MacGregor and Kerry Warman, were named the teachers of the year at the ceremony.
Glasgow independent passes charity test
Fernhill School in Rutherglen has had its charity status confirmed after a review by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. The Glasgow independent was the latest to be assessed as part of a group review announced in September 2012. Last December, it was announced that 40 out of 52 schools assessed had passed the test. However, the review of Fernhill was suspended after the school ran into financial difficulties. Last June, a rescue plan was announced, which the school's board said had been made possible by the "swift response of parents, who have secured pledges for a six-figure sum to avert the prospect of administration".