A week in secondary: 11 May 2018

11th May 2018 at 00:00

The long summer holiday should be scrapped, a child poverty expert has said. It was introduced a century ago because young people were needed to help bring in the harvest, but Lindsay Graham calls for a “radical rethink”, arguing that the long break is “a travesty” that sees disadvantaged children fall behind in their learning.

Secondary teachers will be asked to throw their weight behind potential strike action. The opening motion at the annual meeting of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association, on 18 and 19 May, highlights “the damage caused by a number of years of pay cuts”. SSTA president Kevin Campbell calls for strike action if there is no “pay deal to restore the true value of teacher salaries”.

The scale of neglect of teenagers may be underestimated, a report for the Scottish government has warned. University of Stirling researchers found that, compared with younger children, much less is known about older children’s experience of neglect. One recent study found one in seven 14- to 15-year-olds living with adult caregivers who neglected them. But it was based solely on pupils at mainstream schools, not those in specialist provision, private schools, without a school place or who were missing from the system.

New figures have revealed that spending to support teenagers to stay on at school or college, or to take part in “activity agreements”, fell by £7.8m (24 per cent) between 2006-7 and 2016-17. There was a 15.5 per cent drop in teenagers claiming the £30 weekly educational maintenance allowance (EMA) over that period.

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