North Lanarkshire teacher dies on US holiday trek
Tributes were paid to a popular Airdrie Academy home economics teacher who died on a hiking trip last week while on holiday with her husband in California. Ruth Ross, 57, collapsed as temperatures soared during a trek near Palm Springs on Monday. Ian Fannon, headteacher at the North Lanarkshire school, said: "This is devastating news for the whole school community. Ruth was a well-liked and popular teacher who was totally committed to improving the lives of young people at Airdrie Academy. The thoughts of all staff and pupils are with her family at this difficult time." Ms Ross previously taught at Motherwell's Dalziel High School, also in North Lanarkshire.
Government announces first attainment funding
Seven councils are to benefit from the first allocation of the government's pound;100 million Scottish Attainment Challenge fund. Glasgow, Dundee, Inverclyde, West Dunbartonshire, North Ayrshire, Clackmannanshire and North Lanarkshire will receive a share of pound;11 million to support their work in closing the attainment gap. Each local authority has a plan for improvement. The fund, established in February, will target local authorities with the highest concentration of primary pupils living in poorer areas.
For more in West Dunbartonshire, see page 8
GTCS finds in favour of drink-driving teacher
A teacher convicted of four separate driving offences in a decade has been reprimanded but is free to continue in the profession. Secondary English teacher Ciaran Earle was convicted in Edinburgh in 2003 of driving under the influence of alcohol, in 2009 of speeding and, at Haddington Justice of the Peace Court in 2013, of driving a van without an appropriate licence and without insurance. The General Teaching Council for Scotland's fitness to teach panel noted that Mr Earle had taken steps to have his driving competence assessed, which found that he had developed "only very minor bad habits" since passing his test more than 25 years ago. Witnesses who attested to his "exemplary teaching record" helped persuade the panel that a reprimand was appropriate.
Eco Schools programme nets an extra pound;40,000
An initiative that encourages school action on environmental issues will receive an extra pound;40,000 in government funding in 2015-16. More than 98 per cent of Scottish schools participate in the Eco-Schools Scotland programme, which will now receive pound;440,000 in total for the year. Derek Robertson, chief executive of the Keep Scotland Beautiful charity, which manages the project, said it provided "the foundation for how schools and early learning and childcare centres engage with learning for sustainability, within Curriculum for Excellence". He welcomed what he called a "reaffirmation of the Scottish government's commitment" to fund the project until March 2016.
Registration opens for 2016 education congress
Next year's International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement (ICSEI), which will bring together speakers from all around the world in Glasgow, is open for registration. Among those already confirmed to speak at the event, which will take place from 6-9 January 2016, are Pasi Sahlberg from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, Allan Walker from the Hong Kong Institute of Education and Marinieves Alba, a community school director from New York City. Scotland's former senior chief inspector Graham Donaldson and Rowena Arshad, head of Moray House School of Education at the University of Edinburgh, will also be keynote speakers. For more information, visit www.icsei.net2016