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This Week

High point for Scottish jobless

- New figures show Scotland had 102,000 unemployed people aged 16-24 in the three months from October to December. At 52.9 per cent, that is higher than the UK proportion of 50.2 per cent, although previous statistics suggest around a third of young unemployed people may be in full-time education. Overall unemployment in Scotland rose by 16,000 to 231,000; the Scottish jobless rate is 8.6 per cent, above the UK average of 8.4 per cent. Employment fell by 20,000, to 2,458,000. Finance secretary John Swinney stressed that Scotland had a higher employment rate than the UK as a whole for the 15th consecutive month.

New directors in Highland

- Highland Council has appointed two directors to lead the integration of services for children across the authority from April. Bill Alexander, director of social work, has been appointed as director of health and social care and Hugh Fraser, director of education, culture and sport, has been appointed to a position with the same title, but with extended responsibilities.

Active boost for pupils' well-being

- The health and well-being of Scottish children have been given a boost with the launch of a campaign to encourage at least 60 minutes' exercise every day and the announcement that 2,500 children in deprived areas are to benefit from swimming lessons. The Take Life On campaign and the Top Up Swimming programme aim to tackle what has been called one of the most fundamental health challenges facing Scotland: convincing youngsters to take more exercise.

Welcome for foreign students

- Introductory films, websites, smartphone apps and buddy schemes are among the new initiatives being funded to give a warm welcome to international students arriving at Scottish universities and colleges. The Scottish government has offered 16 projects a share of pound;154,000 to ensure overseas students receive the support and information they need.

Happy with extra support

- A Fife survey of parents whose children have additional support needs has shown a "very high level of satisfaction" with schools. Some 96 per cent of 352 respondents were satisfied, with 70 per cent feeling strongly positive. Their responses showed school staff routinely consulted families, and that this led to improvements.

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