A week in

5th February 2016 at 00:00

The use of standardised assessments in P1 and S3 is “inappropriate and detrimental to pupils”, according to charity Children in Scotland. Testing P1 children was “simply not appropriate”, said chief executive Jackie Brock. It was “similarly unsuitable” to test S3s who were “already under significant exam pressure”. She added: “We recognise that assessment is central to teaching and learning but we believe that arrangements for national standardised assessments should be made by teachers.”

A “radical restructuring” of the childcare sector will be needed if the government is to deliver on doubling the entitlement to free nursery education by 2020, says the thinktank Common Weal. Its new report estimates that the target would mean an extra 45,000 full-day places, 1,125 childcare centres and 10,970 staff. Capital costs alone would amount to more than £800 million.

Labour is calling on the government to introduce a 1p tax rise to avoid hundreds of millions of pounds’ worth of cuts to local services, including education. The demand from Kezia Dugdale, the leader of Scottish Labour, follows a plan from the Liberal Democrats to raise income tax by a penny to increase education investment, including the introduction of a pupil premium. Labour’s tax plans come after a warning from the leaders of 14 Labour-led councils that this year’s budget settlement from the government could have “potentially devastating consequences for education”.

The body representing 28 of Scotland’s 32 councils has announced its new chief executive. Sally Loudon, chief executive at Argyll and Bute Council since 2008, succeeds Rory Mair at the helm of Cosla. Mr Mair retired last Friday. During the latter period of his tenure the organisation became embroiled in bitter disputes with the Scottish government and the EIS union over interventions to protect teacher numbers and prevent councils saving money by reducing the length of the primary school week (see pages 6-7).

Thousands of children with additional support needs (ASN) may be missing out on crucial help, it has been claimed. The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition raised concerns after official figures showed that, across Scotland, 20.4 per cent of primary pupils and 24 per cent of secondary pupils have ASN (bit.ly/ASNstats). But there are large regional disparities: 23.5 per cent of Glasgow primary pupils have ASN, against 4.9 per cent in neighbouring North Lanarkshire. In Aberdeenshire, 33 per cent of secondary pupils have ASN, compared with only 15 per cent in Aberdeen.

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