Disputes muddy cleaning contracts
- The rows over school cleaning contracts won by private firms in Strathclyde, Fife and Borders spread this week to Grampian, where the direct services organisation which cleans the schools, faces competition from mostly English private firms. Gerry Skelton, a Transport and General Workers' Union official, had heard of heads closing toilets for a day.
Fife finds ability at 12 holds key
- Attainment before entering secondary school is the most significant factor in measuring the performance of pupils, and therefore of schools, in SCE exams, according to Fife and the Centre for Educational Sociology. Fife is the only Scottish region which assesses all P7s using the Edinburgh Reading Test. It is only when scores are adjusted for ability at 12 that differences between schools narrow dramatically.
Reform is `ideological'
- Government plans to cut the time trainee teachers spend in college are motivated by "ideology rather than any impartial evaluation of the present system of teacher education", the University Lecturers' Association has said. The union says the government is wrong to claim that pre-service training is dominated by theory. The government plans to increase the minimum time in schools for the BEd course from 24 to 30 weeks.
Witness revolution in progress
- To observe FE colleges in Scotland today is to observe a revolution in progress, writes US dean Dorothy Regan Drake. Autonomy for individual colleges will increase their similarity to US community colleges, although differences will remain. Illinois community colleges offer courses and services almost exclusively to residents and businesses within a defined district.
30% of teenagers confess to racism
- The rifts in German society are increasingly apparent as the country enters its third year as a united land. For education authorities, the most worrying development is the upsurge in right-wing extremism, manifested in an alarming escalation of violence towards foreigners. A survey shows that almost a third of people aged 16-20 hold racist views or are susceptible to anti-foreigner propaganda - double the number in 1990.