New maths group aims to revamp subject’s image
Glasgow’s education director Maureen McKenna will chair a new group to champion maths in Scotland, education secretary Angela Constance has announced. Speaking in the Scottish Parliament this week, Ms Constance said the group would be charged with addressing negative public perceptions of maths and numeracy. It will set out practical approaches to encouraging enthusiasm for the subject, and consider how to tackle problems identified in the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy earlier this year. The move came on the day that Janet Brown, chief executive of the Scottish Qualifications Authority, told MSPs that 2014-15 maths Higher students had been set an exam that was “too hard”.
GTCS asks teachers to suggest new standards
Consultation has opened on revised registration and standards rules for teachers. The rules cover issues such as the new Professional Update process; when a teacher may be removed from the register; and criteria for teachers from outside Scotland who wish to teach in Scottish schools. Feedback is sought not only from teachers and their employers but also from parents, carers and other members of the public. The consultation closes on 2 November, with a response by the General Teaching Council for Scotland to be published in December. Find details at www.gtcs.org.uk/consultations
Climb Scotland hopes to drive pupils up the walls
A new programme, Climb Scotland, aims to capitalise on the growing number of climbing walls appearing in Scottish schools. More than 200 primaries now have low-level structures on which children can get a feel for the sport. A development team will introduce pupils to a range of activities and events, as well as running clubs and providing specialist support to parents, volunteers and teachers. Climb Scotland team leader Jamie Smith said: “Many [children] have an innate desire to clamber higher. It’s a great sport for growing confidence, team and leadership skills, coordination and fitness, and has a very strong social scene, too.” Find details at www.climbscotland.net
Edinburgh academic revives Geographer Royal title
The new Geographer Royal for Scotland is Professor Charles Withers of the University of Edinburgh. A chief priority for Professor Withers, a world-leading historical and cultural geographer, will be to champion his subject to schoolchildren. The first geographer royal, Sir Robert Sibbald, was appointed in 1682 by King Charles II, but in recent times the role has gone unfilled. Mike Robinson, chief executive of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, said 2015 was the perfect time to revive the title, given the need to understand urgent global issues such as migration and climate change.
Minister launches Stem teacher recruitment drive
Education secretary Angela Constance has launched a campaign to encourage more teachers to join the profession. Speaking at the Scottish Learning Festival in Glasgow on Wednesday, Ms Constance said the recruitment drive, entitled Inspiring Teachers, would focus on attracting science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) specialists. As part of the initiative, leading figures from Scottish business, industry, media and science will share memories of the teachers who inspired them under the hashtag #inspiringteachers – starting with the education secretary herself. Also on Wednesday, the minister launched a tool to help pupils develop entrepreneurial skills, and announced additional Access to Education funding for schools in every council area.