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This week

Positive news on pregnancy rate

- The teenage pregnancy rate has fallen, according to ISD Scotland figures. There were 5.7 pregnancies per 1,000 population in the under-16 age group in 2011, down from 7.1 in 2010. The rates in the under-18 and under-20 age groups have also reduced. However, the figures also show that under-20s in the most deprived areas were about 10 times more likely to fall pregnant than those in the least deprived.

Maths exam 'not dumbed down'

- The Scottish Qualifications Authority has hit back at allegations of a "dumbing down" of the Higher maths exam. Gill Stewart, director of qualifications development, said that this year's exam paper was "fair and balanced, and offered an appropriate degree of challenge for candidates at A, B and C level". She added that it had been subject to a range of quality assurance checks prior to being signed off.

Work demands highlighted

- The latest Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report, Education at a Glance, highlights the heavy workload demands on Scottish teachers, the EIS has said. General secretary Larry Flanagan said that compared with other OECD countries, teachers in Scotland continued to work some of the longest hours. The report also highlights the "real-terms pay slippage" that Scotland's teachers have experienced since 2005.

New publisher for past papers

- Hodder Gibson has been confirmed as the new publisher for Scottish Qualifications Authority past papers. Its publications will include general and subject specific guidance sections and, in future, interactive electronic "question practice" activities. To support the introduction of the National 5 qualifications, the publisher will offer SQA subject-specific specimen papers, along with specially commissioned National 5 model practice papers.

Play strategy is on a roll

- The Scottish government has launched its first national play strategy. In recognition of play's being integral to children's development and linked to their physical, emotional, social and brain development, it will publish an action plan this autumn to establish how to educate people who regularly work with families on the importance of play. The Children and Young People Bill, currently under consideration, aims to ensure that the importance of play is felt across children's and family services.

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