This week

30th November 2012 at 00:00

Pledge to keep teacher numbers

- Finance secretary John Swinney's funding settlement to councils includes a pledge to maintain teacher numbers in line with pupil numbers and secure places for all probationers under the teacher induction scheme. Local authorities are to receive a cash increase of #163;35.2 million for new or extended service delivery compared to 2012-13. The settlement would allow councils to continue the council tax freeze to help families in tough economic times, Mr Swinney added.

University applicants down

- The number of applicants to university has dropped by 8.4 per cent overall compared with this time last year, according to the admissions service Ucas. The highest drop is in Scotland - 10.5 per cent - while in England it stands at 9.9 per cent. Ucas chief executive Mary Curnock Cook said: "Experience tells us that changes at this point in the cycle are a poor guide to final demand."

Language barrier limits export

- The British Council's Language Rich Europe report, Trends in Policies and Practices for Multilingualism in Europe, suggests a widespread lack of language skills is encouraging Scottish companies to limit their export markets to English-speaking countries only. It also reports that in 2001, practically all pupils studied a language up to S4, but by 2010 this had dropped to 67 per cent.

No questions, for now at least

- SNP members on the Scottish Parliament's education committee have used their built-in 5-4 majority to block a demand for education secretary Michael Russell to answer questions about his recent row with the college sector over the resignation of the chairman of Stow College, Kirk Ramsay. The SNP majority said Mr Russell would be recalled in the new year on the broader issue of colleges and rationalisation.

St Andrews faces access difficulty

- The University of St Andrews has warned it expects to face continuing difficulties in meeting widening access targets because "so few young people from Scotland's most deprived areas are achieving basic university entry grades". The university has been repeatedly criticised for admitting just 14 students from the 20 most deprived Scottish areas in 2011 and this week published a new target of 20 students. NUS Scotland labelled the aim "minuscule by any standard".

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