A week in secondary: 19 January 2018

19th January 2018 at 00:00

Brexit will cause a “major disaster” for schools and colleges if it removes access to the biggest student exchange programme in the world, MSPs have heard. The loss of the long-running Erasmus+ scheme would not only deny thousands of young people potentially life-changing opportunities in other countries, but it could harm teachers’ professional development, according to experts. The warnings were made at last week’s meeting of Holyrood’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee.

Scottish pupils now have the most rights in Europe when it comes to entitlement to ask for support in school and be involved in decisions about their education, according to the Scottish government. Changes to the Additional Support for Learning Act 2004 came into force last week, extending rights to children aged 12-15 that were previously only available to their parents or carers.

Scottish government statistics show a 21 per cent reduction in the number of teachers aged 45 and over since 2010, amounting to some 5,000 members of staff. Responding to analysis by The Herald, Jim Thewliss, general secretary of School Leaders Scotland, which represents secondary headteachers, said the loss of experienced staff was a particular challenge.

The Scottish government has increased its target for new apprentices to 28,000 and announced extra funds for key areas, including dental nursing and management. Employability and training minister Jamie Hepburn revealed the 2018-19 target during a Holyrood debate. It marks an increase of 1,000 on the 2017-18 target.

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