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This week

Colleges bust bursary budgets

Half of Scotland's colleges overspent their bursary budget last year, according to a Freedom of Information request by NUS Scotland. Of 28 colleges who responded, 14 had to dip into their own budgets to provide student support. Another eight spent their full bursary allocation. NUS Scotland and Scotland's Colleges said their analysis was prompted by the government's proposal to reduce the current pound;95.6m student support budget to pound;84.2m from August.

A lot of noise over funding

Stirling Council will take responsibility for 75 per cent of funding for the Big Noise music initiative on the Raploch estate, currently funded by charity Sistema Scotland, from 2013-14. It plans to raise the money from council funds, business or trust partners and sponsorship. The orchestra offers music tuition to children from some of Scotland's poorest backgrounds.

Cutting-edge design approved

Plans to replace James Gillespie's High with a state-of-the-art building have been approved by Edinburgh City Council. The innovative design is based around Curriculum for Excellence principles and the new secondary school will form part of a pound;42m campus development, joint-funded by the council and the Scottish government. Features include collaborative research spaces, presentation areas and an "innovation hub" for teachers and pupils to work on new ideas. It is due to open in 2015.

Council tucks into Mary's Meals

Scottish Borders Council's catering team has become the latest to enter a partnership with the Scottish charity Mary's Meals. On three separate days a year, 3p from every lunchtime meal purchased at every school will be donated to the charity. This will go towards providing nutritious meals for children at two schools in Malawi. Parents are asked to consider donating an additional 3p on these days.

Shedding light on autism symptoms

Scientists have shown for the first time that measuring brain activity in infants as young as six months may help to predict the future development of autism symptoms. "Our findings demonstrate for the first time that direct measures of brain functioning during the first year of life associate with a later diagnosis of autism - well before the emergence of behavioural symptoms," said Mark Johnson, MRC scientist and head of the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development at Birkbeck, University of London.

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