First minister Nicola Sturgeon has revealed plans to provide a “baby box” to all newborns, containing bedding, clothes, a sleeping mat and books.The idea comes from Finland, where the boxes – which double as basic cots – have been credited with lowering infant mortality. In recent years, the Scottish government has focused on tackling educational inequality in the early years. By some measures, the most deprived children can be more than a year behind their peers when they start primary school.
Walking to primary school is more hazardous in poorer parts of Scotland, research from the University of Glasgow has found. However, children in these areas are more likely to walk to school, says researcher Laura MacDonald. It is therefore “essential that these areas are pedestrian-friendly and provide a safe and pleasant environment for walking”, she adds. Her research focused on the areas of Edinburgh, Glasgow, North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire.
Environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful is calling for primary schools to take part in a national “spring clean” of litter-strewn areas. Last year, volunteers helped to remove more than 400 tons of waste from towns, cities and the countryside – the equivalent weight of 36 double-decker buses. Schools at all levels are seen as a crucial part of the effort, which has so far recruited more than 15,000 volunteers. For more details, visit bit.ly/SpringCleanScot
With elections looming on May 5, the Scottish Parliament is highlighting resources that show schools how to help pupils understand the political process. As well as factsheets about how politicians come to be elected, there is also information on results from previous Holyrood elections and tools to help staff run mock elections (bit.ly/ScotElections). One activity, aimed at P4-S3, allows a class to take part in an election and explore concepts of representation and participation.