News at a glance

3rd July 2015 at 01:00

Focus needed on early language, new report says

Children living in deprived areas of Scotland are twice as likely to struggle with language development by the age of 3, according to a new report. The publication, Ready to Read (bit.lyChildrenReady), from Save the Children's Read On, Get On campaign, calls for the Scottish government to improve early years workers' knowledge of language development and to support early language skills through free nursery hours. The group also wants a more explicit focus on language development in inspections. Neil Mathers, a spokesperson for the campaign, said: "If we don't do more to help all children develop strong language skills by the time they start school, this is the sticking point that could jeopardise the Scottish government's goal of closing the attainment gap."

New school closure panel overturns Skye ruling

A new panel set up to review school closure plans has made its first ruling and overturned a decision by a Scottish council to shut schools in its area. The School Closure Review Panel, established earlier this year, ruled this week that Highland Council did not fulfil its legal obligations when it decided to close four primaries on Skye - Dunvegan, Struan, Knockbreck and Edinbane - and construct a new combined school at Dunvegan. The council now has 14 days to appeal. Previously, if ministers "called in" a local authority proposal to close a school they also made the final decision. Review panels were introduced to remove allegations of political bias.

Funding call for college student associations

Student representatives are calling for college student associations to be better funded and supported as new research reveals that only a third of students (36 per cent) agree their association has a strong voice in their college and more than half (56 per cent) say they have never visited it. The research was based on a survey of more than 2,000 college students. Vonnie Sandlan, NUS Scotland president, said: "At a time when we're seeing a worrying drop in part-time college places, and an even more worrying shortfall in the amount of financial support available to those students who do get a place, it will be absolutely vital to have college students' associations that are able to defend the rights and needs of their student members."

Scottish students to visit Large Hadron Collider

Four Scottish students are spending a week at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland after winning the Scottish government's Higgs Prize for Physics. The students are attending lectures and seminars from Cern's summer school programme, as well as talking to Scottish researchers about their work at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. The prize is awarded by the Scottish government to the highest-performing male and female Advanced Higher physics candidates from a publicly funded school.

Edinburgh junior award scheme goes online

An online version of Edinburgh's successful Junior Award Scheme for Schools is being launched. The programme, run by local charity Friends of the Award in Edinburgh and the Lothians, together with Edinburgh City Council, aims to recognise wider achievement and is now used in two-thirds of the city's schools, as well as more than 150 others around the UK. For more details, visit www.jasschools.org.uk

Cosla announces new education spokesperson

SNP councillor Stephanie Primrose from East Ayrshire Council is Cosla's new education, children and young people spokesperson, the local authorities umbrella body has announced. She replaces Douglas Chapman, who was elected SNP MP for Dunfermline and West Fife in May.

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