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This Week

Record number achieve Highers

Some 53 per cent of pupils - a record - are leaving school with at least one Higher qualification, according to Scottish Government figures. The Scottish Conservatives said that, with the statistics also showing fewer leavers going into employment and more in further education, a funding "time-bomb" was ticking. The Scottish Liberal Democrats were concerned that school exclusion rates were much higher for looked-after children.

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Employment falls by 2%

Public-sector employment has fallen by 2 per cent in a year. There were 576,000 people employed in the first quarter of 2011, down 11,600, although no breakdown was recorded for teaching posts; private-sector employment increased by 52,000. Finance Secretary John Swinney said the number of public bodies had been reduced from 199 to 147, and was on course to fall to 115.

Councils to share services

Midlothian and East Lothian councils have agreed to share education and children's services. The decision follows a seven-month project, supported by the Scottish Government, to put together a business case. The aim is to reduce costs and improve services delivery by combining management and support areas. Further work, scheduled to run until October, will calculate potential savings.

Joint education portfolio mooted

Strathclyde University and the University of the West of Scotland are discussing a new "youth and community education portfolio". It follows the announcement in May that Strathclyde's community education department was to close. Strathclyde principal Jim McDonald said: "A key consideration has been to ensure that provision would still be available to meet the needs of prospective students, local communities and the Scottish economy."

Course that's bound to succeed

The Outward Bound Trust's "adventure and challenge" course has been recognised as a Level 5 qualification - equivalent to Intermediate 2 or Standard grade Credit - on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework. Neil Hendry, from Aberdeen's St Machar Academy, said that 800 pupils at his school had taken part in the course but that the SCQF recognition added "another dimension".

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