`Interference' on pensions
The EIS union has accused the UK government of "interference" in its teacher pension talks after a letter from Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury (pictured), to Scotland's finance secretary, John Swinney, insisted the "automatic link" between normal pension ages and the state pension age was a "core" element of the reforms. A Scottish government spokesman said Mr Swinney was seeking clarification from the UK government.
SQA exams get under way
This year's Scottish Qualifications Authority exams began this week. Nearly 159,000 candidates in 530 schools and colleges will sit 740,096 exams over a six-week period. Candidates who have signed up to the MySQA service will receive their results by text andor email by 9am on "results day" - Tuesday, 7 August. They must register by July 12.
Three out of four directors
Three of Education Scotland's four new strategic directors, all earning pound;69,000, have been appointed. Ken Muir will be director of inspection and responsible for schools, including Curriculum for Excellence; Alan Armstrong will be responsible for post-16 education; Alastair Delaney takes the brief for early years and local authorities. The post of director of strategy, performance and corporate resources is being advertised.
No way to plug the heidie gap
A proposal by East Lothian's director of education, Don Ledingham, to plug a shortage of primary heads by recruiting from secondary principal teachers has had a thumbs-down from the General Teaching Council for Scotland. Chief executive Anthony Finn said: "Any suggestion that, for example, a principal teacher of physics could, without additional training, become a headteacher of a primary school responsible for the teaching, learning and welfare of young children, could be seen as undermining the specialised skills of primary teachers and headteachers."
Senior pupils' painting award
Artist and former art teacher John Lowrie Morrison has launched a new award for senior secondary pupils. The Jolomo Scottish landscape painting awards, sponsored by the Bank of Scotland, were created in 2006, but will now include a schools section. Schools in Scotland are invited to submit one entry on the theme of painting inspired by the Scottish landscape.