A week in

4th March 2016 at 00:00

Extra funding will be made available to tackle the attainment gap between rich and poor pupils in schools. Finance secretary John Swinney has announced an additional £80 million for the Scottish government’s Attainment Scotland Fund over the next three years. Mr Swinney said the new funding would “help ensure that every child has the opportunity to realise their potential” but he came under fire for cuts to council budgets. The government’s bid to close the attainment gap has so far focused on primaries with the highest numbers from deprived backgrounds.

The children’s commissioner has called for all political parties to back raising the age of criminal responsibility. Children as young as eight can be arrested and charged with a crime in Scotland, and hold a criminal record. Speaking to newspaper The National, Tam Baillie said this “stigmatises many of them for life and reinforces negative behaviour”. Most countries set the age of criminal responsibility at 12, 14 or 16. In the rest of the UK it is 10, although a number of non-European countries set it as low as seven-years-old.

Authors Simon Puttock, Ross MacKenzie and Danny Weston were announced as the winners of the 2016 Scottish Children’s Book Awards this week. Puttock’s Mouse’s First Night at Moonlight School won the Bookbug readers’ award (age 3-7); and MacKenzie’s The Nowhere Emporium won the younger readers’ award (8-11). The winner of the older readers’ award (12-16) was Weston with The Piper.

A comprehensive review of the child protection system is being commissioned by the Scottish government. Education secretary Angela Constance said that the review will strengthen what steps are taken when children have experienced, or are at risk of, harm. It will make recommendations in 2016. Ms Constance said that she wanted to make the systems “as robust as possible”.

Emma Seith (@TESScotland)

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