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This Week

Fears for access to universities

- University of Edinburgh research suggests that introducing tuition fees in UK universities has reinforced established admission patterns. It also finds that the 2007 scrapping of the graduate endowment fee in Scotland has not led to a surge in students from poorer areas. David Raffe, professor of sociology of education, said: "Our findings provide little comfort either for the market-led philosophy, which is driving higher education in England, or for the claim that free tuition in Scotland promotes wider access for working-class students."

#163;3m for tackling sectarianism

- More than #163;3 million has been given to projects tackling sectarianism. The Scottish government funding has been allocated to 18 organisations, including Sense Over Sectarianism, Place for Hope and the Scottish Book Trust after assessment by the independent expert group set up to explore sectarian issues. A small grants fund, meanwhile, will distribute #163;350,000 over the next two years.

Dumfries school plans on hold

- The decision about whether to create a senior phase school in Dumfries - with existing secondaries educating students up to S3 only - has been postponed. Dumfries and Galloway Council's education committee was due to make its recommendation to the full council this month, but has put off the decision until December.

Criminals fund sports boost

- Money seized from criminals will be used to boost youth football and rugby. A #163;3.15 million fund toward full-sized pitches with 3G artificial grass was announced by first minister Alex Salmond. Grants of up to #163;300,000 will be focused on areas plagued by antisocial behaviour and crime. The funding comprises #163;2 million from the Scottish government's CashBack for Communities programme (which uses the proceeds of crime to support youth projects), #163;1 million from sportscotland and #163;150,000 from non-profit environmental body Wren (Waste Recycling Environmental).

Design a stamp for Christmas

- Royal Mail is giving primary schoolchildren in Scotland a rare chance to create an official UK-wide Christmas stamp. Only twice before has the official Christmas stamp been designed by schoolchildren, in 1966 and 1981. The theme is "What does the Christmas season mean to you?"

Visit royalmail.comdesignastamp.

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