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A week in education

Teachers' pay has not been in the headlines much post-McCrone, but some teachers in Fife are going to be hit in their pockets after the council over-paid them by mistake. Dozens of teachers are now said to face repaying between pound;1,000 and pound;6,000 received over the past three years.

The council admitted the error, which concerned pay awards being added to the salaries of teachers who were cash-conserved. The staff affected will be given three years to repay their excess wages in instalments.

Hugh Bryce, head of Kincorth Academy, and Alexander McNaughton, principal teacher of PE, have been suspended by Aberdeen Council as a "precautionary"

measure pending an investigation into "alleged irregularities".

A week after a nursery school organisation warned that some of its members were at risk of going under because of spiralling staff costs and high business rates, it was announced this week that KidCare had collapsed and its 75 staff were made redundant. The private company ran high-profile pre-fives services, which included the children of staff working at the Scottish Parliament and Glasgow and Strathclyde universities. It operated out-of-school care services and one-off creches, and had been in business for 18 years.

Any move to dilute the chartered teacher programme would be "counter to the spirit" of the teachers' agreement, the Educational Institute of Scotland has warned. Commenting on last week's announcement by the Education Minister of a review of the initiative, the union said it did not want to see any quota imposed on CT numbers, nor authorities given the decisive say in who could become a chartered teacher.

Anne Houston (pictured above) is to be the new chief executive of Children 1st. She has been director of ChildLine in Scotland for the past 12 years and has been responsible for its UK operations since February. She takes over next month from Margaret McKay, whose period in charge has seen the number of services the charity runs for vulnerable children and their families increase from six to 45.

A pupil from St George's School for Girls in Edinburgh, which has been flying the flag in Scotland for more Chinese teaching in schools, has won the British Council's annual Chinese-speaking competition for schools. More than 170 pupils from 36 secondary schools competed, and Abigail Salveson earned herself a trip to China.

A Glasgow University lecturer is backing the case for "tourism languages"

to be taken more seriously in academic circles. In a new book, Learning the Arts of Linguistic Survival, Alison Phipps suggests that traditional qualifications and short courses before going overseas on holiday have a role to play in learning about other languages and cultures, and in changing people's perceptions of the world.

Link Community Development, which places teachers who want to work in developing countries, is again calling for experienced primary teachers and headteachers to spend five weeks of their summer in a rural community in Malawi. The focus will be on improving the quality of learning and teaching and encouraging community involvement with schools.


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