This Week

19th July 2013 at 01:00

Drop in youth unemployment

- The rate of youth unemployment in Scotland has decreased by 3 percentage points in a year, to 17.8 per cent, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. The overall employment rate is 71.9 per cent, against 71.4 per cent for the UK as a whole. This comes as Scottish government figures show a rise in GDP.

Elusive target in Gaelic medium

- The target to double the number of children entering P1 Gaelic education is still some way off. Bord na Gaidhlig's annual report shows that 428 children began primary school in Gaelic-medium education in 2012-13. A five-year target aims to boost numbers from 400 to 800 by 2017. Meanwhile, teacher recruitment problems were highlighted when it emerged that Inverness Gaelic School was advertising its headteacher post for an eighth time, having been without a leader for more than three years.

Rich-and-poor attainment gap

- Reading tests show that Scotland has the widest attainment gap between poorer and wealthier 15-year-old boys of 32 industrialised nations, according to analysis by the Sutton Trust. Using the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment figures, it found that the poorest boys in Scotland lagged 2.9 years behind better-off peers. English boys were one place higher, with a 2.6-year gap.

Questions over school closures

- Concerns have been raised about a consultation on school closure processes. Following a rural education commission's recent report, the Scottish government is seeking views by 2 September on issues including an independent referral body and a five-year moratorium between closure proposals for the same school. Children in Scotland chief executive Jackie Brock said there was not enough time to respond as the consultation fell mostly in the summer holidays. "It is disappointing that these proposed changes are being treated as an eleventh-hour add-on to a bill which has already started its passage through parliament," she said.

Measles cases on the rise

- The number of cases of measles in Scotland has increased significantly. In the first 24 weeks of 2013 there were 121 notifications of clinically suspected measles - 100 emerging in the latter part of that period - and 48 confirmed. Health Protection Scotland figures identified three separate clusters of cases, including one at a school.

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