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This Week

Russell criticised over closure

- Education Secretary Michael Russell (left) has been accused of interpreting school closure legislation in ways never agreed by Cosla and the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES). Cosla claims Mr Russell failed to act in a "consistent, pragmatic and limited way" in his interpretation of the 2010 Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act, while in a separate letter, ADES complains that assurances have not been kept that ministerial call-in of closure decisions would be applied "only in exceptional cases". A spokesman for Mr Russell said it was the Education Secretary's duty to intervene if councils embarked on unnecessary and ill-thought out school closures.

Pro tax-based contributions

- A special paper, Whither Scottish Higher Education? by the Fraser of Allander Institute in partnership with PwC in Scotland, backs the introduction of a tax-based contribution from graduates, dependent on their income. Report author Jim Love, former professor of economics at Strathclyde University, also calls for a "systematic but short-lived" review, immediately after the Scottish elections, to examine government contributions to education, research and knowledge exchange. The current student control numbers for Scottish and EU students should also be re- examined, he argues.

Study into three school closures

- Orkney's education and leisure committee has agreed to launch a detailed study into closing three schools - Stenness Community School, Burray Primary and North Walls Junior High's secondary department. Parents have raised concerns about their children having to travel longer distances and the impact on community life. But education director Leslie Manson said the saving of pound;600,000 from closing schools was equivalent to 12 teachers' salaries.

Primary named building of year

- Kingsland Primary in Peebles has won the Edinburgh Architectural Association's building of the year award. Mark Fresson, director of Archial architectural practice, said: "When it comes to schools, the architectural profession is often guilty of repeating mistakes made by the Victorians; some schools are still designed with windows which are placed so that younger pupils simply cannot see out. Kingsland, in contrast, benefits from full-height glazing so pupils can enjoy the connection with the outside world."

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