News at a glance
Scottish private schools among cheapest in UK
Scotland's independent schools are among the cheapest in the UK, according to a new report. Average annual school fees in Scotland are pound;10,750, according to analysis by stockbroker and wealth manager Killik and Co. This is almost pound;5,000 less than in London, the most expensive part of the UK. Only schools in the North of England are less expensive than those in Scotland, with average fees of pound;10,400. A lower proportion of children attend private schools in Scotland (4.4 per cent) than in the UK as a whole (7 per cent). Almost a third (30 per cent) of students at Scottish independent schools are from overseas.
`Unprecedented' cuts to IT courses questioned
Further education in Scotland is facing "unprecedented" cuts to IT courses, according to the Scottish Conservatives. The overall number of IT courses fell from 45,900 in 2009-10 to 21,800 in 2014, the party said. Education secretary Angela Constance recently told the Scottish Parliament that basic courses, such as those on "how to work a mouse and how to organise your calendar at Christmas" were now less of a priority. But she insisted that the number of places for recognised IT qualifications was stable, and that the emphasis had to be on courses that helped people into work.
Website to tackle hate crime and sectarianism
Lord advocate Frank Mulholland has launched a website to get pupils thinking about sectarianism and hate crime in Scottish society. The site (www.intolerance.scot) was created by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service with North Lanarkshire Council and pupils from that area. It includes hard-hitting videos that explore the fallout of sectarian violence for both victims and perpetrators. "I take great pride in the way our students have used their knowledge, skills and talents to tackle these issues openly and with sensitivity," said North Lanarkshire learning and leisure director Andrew Sutherland.
New meningitis vaccine launched to build teen herd immunity
A new meningitis vaccine has been introduced for 14- to 18-year-olds and will be administered at Scottish schools this coming year, in response to a rise in cases of meningitis W. The vaccine also protects against three other strains of the disease - A, C and Y. Meningitis Research Foundation Scotland manager Mary Millar said: "Adolescents aged between 14 and 18 are more likely to carry meningococcal bacteria than any other age group and offering the ACWY vaccine to all of them should stop the bacteria from being passed on. This means that even unvaccinated people will be protected from catching the disease - an effect known as herd protection."
Deadline to nominate a modern apprentice looms
There is less than a fortnight left to nominate contenders for the title of Scotland's Modern Apprentice of the Year. "We want to hear from all kinds of businesses - from family firms to global employers," said Skills Development Scotland depute director of corporate affairs Kirsteen Campbell. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony at Edinburgh's Assembly Rooms in November. Entries close at noon on 19 August. For more details, visit www.scotlandsmaawards.com