News at a glance

31st July 2015 at 01:00

FoI request reveals hundreds of teaching vacancies

New figures published this week show that hundreds of teaching vacancies are being advertised across Scotland - and the true number of unfilled posts could be even higher. A Freedom of Information Act request made by the Scottish Liberal Democrats found that, as of 22 June, 469 vacancies across 27 councils were being advertised. But more recent research by TESS produced higher figures in a number of local authorities. The Lib Dems' survey reported 41 vacancies in Aberdeenshire but on 1 July TESS found a figure of 120 vacant permanent and long-term temporary posts. Other figures not supplied to the Lib Dems included Stirling (160 vacancies), Renfrewshire (47) and Perth and Kinross (19). North Lanarkshire gave unusually high figures for primary school vacancies: 132 full-time unpromoted; 24 full-time promoted; 73 job-share; 102 full-time, long-term temporary; and 172 part-time, long-term temporary. A council spokeswoman said that there was no shortage of teachers in North Lanarkshire and that, although a post might be recorded as vacant, in practice someone was often filling it on a temporary basis. Ken Cunningham, general secretary of School Leaders Scotland, said: "Clearly there is still an issue over teacher supply, which is not getting any better." Jane Peckham, national officer for the NASUWT Scotland teaching union, called for research into why vacancies were going unfilled "before a full-blown crisis in teacher recruitment and retention emerges".

Report praises positive legacy of Glasgow Games

Some encouraging early signs have emerged that last year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow have had a lasting impact on schools. A Scottish government report (bit.lyCGlegacy) shows that more than 90 per cent of schools took part in Game On Scotland, the official education programme. The games are thought to have had a particularly strong influence on global citizenship, by improving links between schools and Commonwealth countries. Some Active Schools teams believe the games have stimulated extra demand for sport. However, the report cautions that multi-sport events do not have a strong track record of establishing long-lasting legacies.

Confucius Classrooms to expand into primaries

Young children are to learn Mandarin through the extension of the Confucius Classroom programme into primary schools, first minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced during a visit to Beijing. Scotland already hosts 14 Confucius Classrooms in secondary schools, but now an extra 21 Chinese language and culture "hubs" will be created. The Hanban (the Chinese-government affiliated body that promotes Chinese language and learning) will provide funds to extend the programme and will partially fund an extra six Mandarin teaching posts. Local authorities will be invited to bid for funding.

Life-size Large Hadron Collider in Edinburgh

A replica of the Large Hadron Collider is part of a new interactive exhibition at Edinburgh's Dynamic Earth attraction. A life-sized mock-up of part of the 17-mile particle accelerator will be on display until 24 August, as part of a national roadshow celebrating the UK's involvement in the groundbreaking discoveries made at Cern, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research in Geneva. The exhibition features a "walk-through" section of the Large Hadron Collider tunnel and accelerator. The machine confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson particle, the discovery of which led to the University of Edinburgh professor Peter Higgs receiving the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2013.

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