This week

16th March 2012 at 00:00

Sign language development

Computing scientists at Technabling, a spin-out company

of the University of Aberdeen, have developed technology which translates sign language into text.

The software application is the first of its kind which can be used on portable devices and allows users to customise sign language to their own specific needs. One of its aims is to help deaf people gain employment opportunities.

Lucky 13 for West Lothian

West Lothian has been confirmed as Scotland's 13th college region, despite comprising only West Lothian College. Education secretary Michael Russell said he believed the strength of the partnership between the college, local schools, the local authority and others was already delivering benefits for learners. Principal Mhairi Laughlin said this did not mean the college would take an "insular" view or work in isolation.

Coping well with cash pressure

The Accounts Commission has reported that Scottish local authorities have coped well with financial pressures but continue to face tough challenges from reducing budgets and growing demands for services. Its local government overview report says the 32 councils spent about pound;21 billion in 2010-11 and made savings mainly through pay restraint and reducing staff numbers. Pressure will continue from demand-led services such as social work, it predicts.

Parents fight over nursery

The parent council of Castlebay Community School has asked the education secretary, Michael Russell, to intervene in plans by the Western Isles Council to move their nursery from Barra Children's Centre to rooms in the primary department of Castlebay Community School. Parents claim the current location is light, bright and purpose-built while HMIE identified security issues with the school five years ago which have not been addressed. Parents also reject the council's argument that the move would deliver educational benefit.

Request to find Ritalin alternative

The Scottish Liberal Democrats' health spokesperson, Alison McInnes, has called on the Scottish government to investigate alternatives to the use of Ritalin and similar drugs for children suffering from attention-deficit hyperactivity. Figures obtained by her party showed the prescribing cost of the drugs has risen by 8 per cent in a year - a cash increase of nearly pound;200,000.

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