Beware quick fix in early secondary
Short-term "fixes" in the first two years of secondary schools should be avoided, experts have warned. Douglas Osler, senior chief inspector of education, has called for a thoroughgoing review of the early secondary years. But respected academics Brian Boyd and Mary Simpson, in a review of S1 and S2 in Angus, caution schools not to listen to HMI's advice uncritically.
New start, new image
Scottish Executive officials will step up their charm offensive on teacher induction by visiting universities to explain the deal for newly-qualified teachers. The one-year induction scheme, which replaces the two-year probationary period from August, is intended to give the 2,400 beginners who emerge this summer a guaranteed training year. But education authorities and the executive are locked in talks over how it will be funded.
Children `escape' charges
A recommendation by the Scottish Law Commission that the age of criminal responsibility be raised from 8 to 12 has been welcomed by children's welfare groups but has roused political objection. Currently, young offenders aged 8-11, accused of offences such as murder, rape and serious assault, can be referred to the courts. In 1999-2000, 80 children aged 8- 16 had charges against them proven in court.
Walkout over death threats
Schools across Northern Ireland are set to close today as teachers walk out to protest against death threats by loyalist paramilitaries. Last week the Red Hand Defenders named teachers as "legitimate targets" after claiming responsibility for killing a postal worker in north Belfast. Frank Bunting, chairman of the Northern Ireland Teachers Council, said the hundreds of teachers who turned up for work despite the threats were "heroes".
Island bans teacher poachers
The Jamaican government has banned New York City from holding recruitment seminars in the island's hotels without clearance from the ministry of education. The clampdown follows the loss of hundreds of Jamaica's best- qualified teachers last year, as New York launched an aggressive recruitment drive to address its own shortfall. Education minister Burchell Whiteman decried "this imbalance where richer countries get all the wealth, including the professional wealth, we have produced".