News at a glance

14th August 2015 at 01:00

Conservatives call for end to `chaotic' testing

The Scottish Conservatives have called for schools to use nationally agreed tests to monitor pupil performance in primary and early secondary. Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request made by the party show that Scottish local authorities spent more than pound;3.6 million over three years on tests from private companies and universities. The Scottish Conservatives' spokeswoman for young people, Liz Smith, said these figures showed there was "a chaotic, patchwork system of testing across Scotland's primary schools which is undermining the ability of teachers to fully assess the basic skills of their pupils".

English grant change could affect Scottish learners

Thousands of young Scots were accepted into universities and colleges on exam results day last week, but Scottish education secretary Angela Constance has asked the UK government to explain how the removal of student maintenance grants in England could affect young people from north of the border. Writing last week to the UK's universities and science minister, Jo Johnson, Ms Constance said it was a "cherished principle of the Scottish government" to provide access to education based on the ability to learn, not to pay. She added that the Scottish government needed to know how the changes proposed by the chancellor to grants and tuition in England from next year would affect Scotland's settlement, "so we can plan our own future spending".

Education chief leaves public service after 38 years

West Lothian Council's deputy chief executive Moira Niven will retire today after almost 38 years in public service. Ms Niven took on the role with responsibility for education, planning and area services in 2011 and the council says attainment is now at its highest ever level. Having started her career as a business studies teacher at James Gillespie's High School in Edinburgh, Ms Niven later became an assistant to the education director at Lothian Regional Council, before joining West Lothian Council in 1995. She will be succeeded by Elaine Cook, who is currently the council's head of education (quality assurance).

Exam success at Glasgow Caledonian University

Students attending Glasgow Caledonian University's Advanced Higher Hub have achieved a 90 per cent pass rate, the university has announced. In the second year of the programme, there were 167 exam presentations from pupils at 21 Glasgow City Council schools. Of those students, 40 per cent achieved an A in an Advanced Higher and a further 30 per cent achieved a B. Every student taking history or English passed the exam. The hub opened in 2013 and supports the university's widening access agenda. It is run in partnership with Glasgow City Council and was the first such scheme in Scotland to employ school teachers on a university campus.

How many questions do children ask?

Scottish children ask an average of more than eight questions a day, according to a survey of parents by the Read On, Get On campaign. The coalition of teachers, parents, businesses and charities which aims to support children's reading also found that the number of questions increases over the summer holidays. In addition, more a third of parents said they found their children's questions difficult to answer. A report by Read On, Get On found that asking a lot of "why" questions was a key stage of language development.

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