First minister Nicola Sturgeon has launched a new scheme that will encourage children to write their own book reviews. Between August and March each year, P4-7s will be encouraged to read as many books as possible from a selection chosen by a panel of academics, experts and teachers. The pupils will write book reviews, with prizes being awarded for the best. The judging panel will be chaired by Ms Sturgeon, who has revealed that she has a fondness for Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series.
Adventurer Mark Beaumont, who holds the world record for cycling around the globe, has launched a project aimed at getting children on their bikes before they start school. Cycling Scotland’s Early Years Cycle Skills scheme helps early-years staff to teach children how to ride bicycles. Mr Beaumont said: “As a mode of transport, a way to keep in shape, to socialise and to see the world, life on two wheels is best started as early as possible.”
Schools are signing up to an anti-smoking initiative that aims to ensure that the youngest children in school will become the first modern generation to grow up free from tobacco-related harm. The Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation, from charity Ash Scotland, has established the target of a smoking-free generation by 2034, and includes policies and practice relating to schools (bit.ly/SmokingCharter). It spells out that the whole school has a duty to provide effective education on smoking and health.
Primary school leaders’ body AHDS has proposed increasing teachers’ contracted time from 35 to 37.5 hours and raise pay. General secretary Greg Dempster believes that it could solve the shortage of teachers and supply staff; the knock-on impact on school leaders’ development time; and wage stagnation. But the EIS criticised the “deeply worrying proposal”, which it said would lead to many class teachers losing their jobs.