A week in
Parents have launched a petition against a council’s decision to reduce the variety on its lunchtime menu for pupils, arguing that it will cut the number of children benefiting from free school meals in P1 to P3. As of August, Fife Council plans to offer a hot meal of the day or a baked potato with filling in its primary schools. The “pick and mix” option, which meant that children could choose between items such as a sandwich, a baguette or a salad, is set to disappear. Campaigners say that the change will force more parents to send their children to school with a packed lunch, rather than benefitting from free school meals. The petition against the change has gathered more than 2,700 signatures at the time of going to press (bit.ly/LunchPetition).
St George’s School for Girls in Edinburgh has announced the appointment of Alexandra Hems as its next headteacher. St George’s, a private school founded in 1888, is now Scotland’s largest all-through girls’ school. Ms Hems, who is currently deputy head of the independent Wycombe Abbey School, in Buckinghamshire, will take over the headship in the new year.
Children should be given the right to withdraw from religious worship in schools without their parents’ consent, according to the United Nations. A report published by the UN committee on the rights of the child notes that children in Scotland do not have the right to withdraw from collective worship without parental permission and recommends that this be changed.
Teachers have warned that schools in Scotland are increasingly unable to cope with the demands of inclusion, the policy that seeks to educate children with additional support needs (ASN) in mainstream schools. At the annual general meeting of the EIS teaching union last week, Aberdeen delegate Susan Talboys said that the presumption that children with ASN would have a mainstream education had “undoubtedly put more pressure on teachers to put up with bad behaviour for fear of being branded a failure”. The fact that the inclusion policy is failing is the “elephant in the room”, the disability charity Enable Scotland has said.