The Tess archive - 29 June 2001
McConnell gets out sticking plasters
Education Minister Jack McConnell has agreed to "quick-fix" measures aimed at streamlining assessment of Higher Still courses, and to consult on more fundamental changes. He announced a task group to oversee implementation of changes recommended by the National Qualifications steering group. It will be chaired by "exams czar" Colin MacLean, who also chairs the steering group.
Rivalries swell class-sizes debate
Another skirmish in the class-size war has broken out following publication of last year's school census. Education Minister Jack McConnell welcomed "good progress" in meeting the Scottish Executive pledge to reduce P1-3 classes to 30 or fewer. SNP education spokesperson Michael Russell, whose party is committed to an eventual P1-3 limit of 18, concentrated on pupil numbers rather than classes to reject claims that P1-2 targets had been achieved.
As the mighty Disney reversed its ban on the production of The Lion King by Stornoway's Nicolson Institute, Western Isles education chairman Norman Macdonald said: "Disney's original decision was dopey but their latest is not to be sneezed at, and dwarfs their earlier position. It was snow white what Disney did but I'm not too bashful to say `well done for agreeing not to doc a fee'."
Schools pass click test
Computer use in Scottish public sector schools has soared. The number of modern computers rose in a year by 23,100, bringing pupil-computer ratios to 18:1 in primary, 7:1 in secondary and 5:1 in special schools. Internet connections were in 97 per cent of secondaries, 64 per cent of primaries and 59 per cent of special schools.
College purge on rogue spending
The Scottish Further Education Council has called for its powers to be strengthened after a report highlighted weaknesses in the financial running of colleges. The Audit Scotland inquiry into the governance and financial management of Moray College was sparked by allegations of misconduct, which led to the departure of principal Robert Chalmers. Auditor-general Robert Black said the college's problems pointed to wider risks for the whole sector.