A week in

16th January 2015 at 00:00

First minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a new £1.5 million “innovation fund” to help schools devise imaginative ways to improve literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing for children affected by poverty. Ms Sturgeon also confirmed £2.5 million for 57 schools that receive funding through the Scottish Attainment Challenge programme. But Liberal Democrat education spokesman Liam McArthur said that, with children in 11 council areas not receiving a share, “it is difficult to see how the first minister is living up to her promise to close the attainment gap completely”.

Classes to tackle “anti-fat attitudes” should be rolled out in schools to stop overweight people being bullied, scientists claim. Scottish researchers are calling for an “attitude intervention” after a new study showed that depression and low esteem could be linked to the way obese people are treated. In the study, by the University of Stirling and Sheffield Hallam University, 2,300 adults in the UK were asked about their attitude towards overweight people. Researchers found that respondents who admitted to having anti-fat prejudices were more likely to mistreat people due to their weight and that stigmatising obese people could lead to depression and lower self-esteem.

The number of pupils registered for free school meals has more than doubled in the past year. The overall figure of 259,000 includes an estimated 135,000 of P1-3s (around 80 per cent) since meals were made free for that age bracket in January 2015. John Dickie, director of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said the policy had “removed any hassle and stigma associated with means-testing children” as well as leading to increased take-up of healthy lunches among disadvantaged pupils.

The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) partnership has signed a “memorandum of understanding” with Bahrain’s national quality assurance body. The agreement includes a commitment to promote cooperation on professional development. The SCQF will also help to align foreign qualifications delivered in Bahrain to the country’s own qualifications framework.

The number of children in temporary accommodation in Scotland has risen since last year, figures released this week reveal. There were 4,923 children in temporary accommodation in 2015 – an increase of 8 per cent since 2014, Scottish government data shows. Conservative housing spokesman Alex Johnstone said: “It’s particularly worrying to see the amount of children staying in temporary accommodation because B&Bs and budget hotels are not suitable and can affect a child’s health and wellbeing.”


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