Money targeted at poor pupils should not be used to reinstate services lost through budget cuts, education secretary John Swinney has warned. He said he had already intervened after one council, Dundee, cut swimming lessons for primary pupils but advised that schools could use the Pupil Equity Fund instead. Swinney also told the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee that teachers hired with money from the fund should get contracts for more than one or two years.
Scotland may gain up to 90 educational psychologists over three years, after a £4 million funding package was announced. The news comes after Tes Scotland reported warnings that pupils with special needs from the youngest ages up were not getting adequate support, owing to an acute shortage of educational psychologists. The funding package was agreed between local authorities and government.
Increasing free nursery hours may help children adapt to life in primary school, according to a report. The plan is to almost double free preschool and childcare hours for children aged 3 and 4 – and some aged 2 – by 2020, and a government report examines trials in 14 local authorities. Where children attended a single early learning or childcare setting, primary staff reported “smoother transitions to school”.
Poor families in Scotland are to receive at least £100 each towards school uniforms. The move, which comes after Tes Scotland highlighted concerns about the price of some uniforms, will benefit an estimated 120,000 families, with the £12 million cost split between local authorities and the government.