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This week

Teddy gets the most attention

Pre-school children still own three times as many traditional toys as technological toys, research by the universities of Stirling and Strathclyde has revealed. The study shows that despite the fast-moving technological age children grow up in, hi-tech toys have not replaced classic ones. The findings were presented to early-years practitioners, policy makers and parents at a Scottish Universities Insight Institute conference this week.

Parents may pay for teacher

Parents at Melrose Primary in the Borders are considering paying pound;30,000 for a teacher to counteract potential staff reductions as part of council cutbacks. The parent council said growing concerns that staffing numbers could be reduced had led to an investigation into the legality of paying for a post separately to maintain the "excellent work" at Melrose. Council education convener George Turnbull said financial pressures meant all options had to be investigated.

ChildLine faces office closure

The NSPCC has proposed the closure of its ChildLine in Scotland office, based in Edinburgh, following a review of its ChildLine operation. The office opened in late 2008, amid claims that pound;11m was needed to fund developments. The NSPCC plans to expand its online services and deliver significantly more counselling hours to meet growing demands made by children.

Denominational schools row

The Scottish Legal Action Group has called for an end to state funding of denominational schools, claiming they create and perpetuate religious discrimination. Such a move would help counteract sectarianism in Scotland, it argues in its journal Scolag. "Public funds should not be spent on religious observance or instructing pupils into a religion," said editor Andrew Wilson. A spokesman for the Catholic Church said the comments constituted "an ill-informed attack on religious freedom".

Bow down to castle high

Mearns Castle High in East Renfrewshire has been awarded one of the top reports by HMIE, with three "excellent" and two "very good" gradings. Inspectors deemed the school excellent for its improvements in performance, learners' experiences and improvement through self- evaluation. They praised its effective use of ICT, including digital cameras and electronic voting systems, among other aspects of learning.

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