Loneliness among young people ‘ignored’
Members of the Scottish Parliament have called on the government to prioritise the tackling of young people’s “loneliness and isolation” alongside poverty and poor housing. A report by Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee cites extreme examples of under-25s who “can forget what it is like to be in the company of other young people” (bit.ly/LonelinessReport). Its research also explores loneliness among elderly people. Convener Margaret McCulloch said: “The report highlights the stigma people currently face, and how difficult it is to admit to loneliness…But currently a lack of awareness of the impact of isolation allows it to be ignored.”
Billionaire’s college praised for ‘positive attitude’
A controversial Glasgow college started by billionaire businessman Jim McColl, which takes students aged 14-16, has received its first inspection report (bit.ly/Newlands). The report praises Newlands Junior College for: a positive attitude to learning from almost all young people; a welcoming ethos and supportive relationships between all adults and students; “interesting learning experiences” from a wide range of providers; and an “attractive, modern and well-resourced environment for learning”. Areas for improvement include: self-evaluation; procedures for ensuring the wellbeing of young people; and curriculum development.
Union’s tribute to ‘committed’ former president
The EIS teaching union has paid tribute to former president Peter Quigley, who died suddenly earlier this month. Mr Quigley received an EIS fellowship in 1999 for his contribution to education and was a driving force behind calls for smaller class sizes, as well as playing a significant role in media studies becoming a separate subject. General secretary Larry Flanagan said: “Peter had a career-long commitment to the work of EIS, which he joined in 1971, supporting colleagues locally and nationally, and always seeking to improve and protect the working rights of teachers.”
Football shirts could breach alcohol advertising law
A proposed ban on alcohol advertising near schools risks criminalising parents who wear football or rugby shirts bearing the logos of drinks companies, MSPs have been warned. The Law Society of Scotland said the Alcohol Bill could catch parents unawares as they picked up their children. The member’s bill from Labour MSP Dr Richard Simpson proposes a ban on billboards or window displays within 200m of schools, nurseries and children’s play areas. An online survey by the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee found that 78 per cent of 543 respondents wanted a ban on alcohol advertising near schools.
Battle over ‘named persons’ goes to Supreme Court
Campaigners against the proposed “named person” policy will continue their legal battle at the Supreme Court in London in March. The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act would give a named person – often a teacher – responsibility for the welfare of every child under 18. Simon Calvert, of No To Named Persons, said: “The right to a family life unhindered by state interference is of such vital importance that we feel we have no option but to bring the matter before the Supreme Court.” A Scottish government spokeswoman said: “Twice this year, the courts have rejected this petition…Both rulings found the policy was informed by experts in child welfare, health and education with the intention of putting the best interests of the child at the heart of decision-making.”