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This week

SPTC launches manifesto

- The Scottish Parent Teacher Council has launched its manifesto, calling on policy-makers to protect education and the rights of parents, children and carers. In A Vision for the Future of Scottish Education, the body asks politicians to address six major challenges in state education, including the impact of budget cuts on core education services, illiteracy levels among school leavers, and cuts to additional support services.

High ratings for child protection

- Child protection services in North Lanarkshire have received one of the best ratings in Scotland. HMIE rated six areas as "very good", the second- highest rating available - including protection services' response to immediate concerns, meeting children's needs and reducing long-term harm. The report picked out a programme for 3-18s, Play it Safe, developed by children and teachers, as an example of good practice.

Gaelic plan moves forward

- The Scottish Qualifications Authority has launched its Gaelic Language Plan, a key part of the strategy to deliver the Scottish Government's national plan for Gaelic. The SQA's chief executive, Janet Brown, said it was committed to an expansion of subjects and levels as Gaelic-medium candidate numbers rise, and offering qualifications in Gaelic to learners and fluent speakers.

More cash for anti-knife drive

- A knife-crime education campaign which helped cut knife-carrying by 35 per cent in a pilot project in Inverclyde is to have its funding doubled, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has announced. After a successful second trial in Renfrewshire, ministers plan to roll out No Knives, Better Lives, which involves hard-hitting talks in schools, activities and the beaming of anti-knife messages onto youngsters' mobile phones.

Industrial action at Heriot-Watt

- Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at Heriot-Watt University took industrial action this week. Staff said they had no choice after university management introduced a new performance development review without proper negotiation or consultation with the union. The new PDR had lost any real focus on developing staff and aimed to monitor performance by increasing the "crude tick-box management culture" at the university, said the UCU.

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