A world of global rankings
Asian countries have taken top places in global school rankings for maths, science and reading, with England and Northern Ireland also high performers. Northern Ireland is Europe's top performer for primary maths, but England has slipped in science. The rankings come from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (Timss) and Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (Pirls). Scotland no longer takes part in either. In 2010, education secretary Michael Russell said the move would save money and reduce bureaucracy.
A duty to take part in CPD
The CLD Standards Council for Scotland has announced that the registration system for community learning and development practitioners in Scotland will be launched on 27 March. Registered workers will have a right and a duty to take part in continuing professional development, and through the registration process it is hoped that a coherent voice for the sector will emerge.
Jobcentre facing an investigation
Youth employment minister Angela Constance has written to the UK government's work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, asking him to investigate reports of Jobcentre managers encouraging employers to convert paid vacancies into unpaid work experience to meet targets. The UK government's back-to-work programme sees young people work up to 30 hours a week, unpaid, for up to eight weeks.
Excellent efforts are rewarded
The winners of the national BeXcellent competition, which invited children to share examples of CfE in action, have been announced. Pupils of Donaldson's School in Linlithgow and St Kentigern's Academy in Blackburn (West Lothian), won in the secondary category. Primary and nursery winners are: Bonnybroom Nursery and Hampden School (Glasgow); St Mary's Primary, St Mary's Nursery and Bright Horizons Rutland Nursery (all Edinburgh); and Tingwall Primary (Shetland).
Succeeding in social services
A flexible and skilled social services workforce is needed to bring about high-quality services in a climate of financial pressures and growing demand, a report published by the Scottish Social Services Council found. The Social Services Sector in Scotland: Workforce Skills Report 2011-12 sets out the challenges and skills needed to help employers plan ahead.