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A Week in education

The inspectorate is to step up its efforts to spread good practice by including an annexe in all school reports showing the achievements it has come across, irrespective of overall score. It is part of an agreement between HMIE and Learning and Teaching Scotland, and will be reinforced through links between district inspectors and LTS area advisers.

More than 150 children each day were referred to children's panel reporters in the past year - 56,199, the highest number since records began. The increase is solely due to a rise in referrals on care and protection grounds, according to the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration; there was a 7 per cent fall in referrals for alleged offences. Barnardo's Scotland has urged the Scottish Government to look at the multi-agency approach in the Tayside Constabulary area, which it believes has led to lower proportions of care and protection cases in Perth and Kinross, Angus and Dundee.

John Fyffe, who has been acting executive director of education and children's services in Perth and Kinross, has been confirmed in the post.

A satellite link-up last Friday between pupils in Paisley, Hamilton and Glasgow with children in Sierra Leone and Malawi gave them a chance to find out what it was like growing up in each other's countries. Orchestrated by the Department for International Development in London, the pupils ran a replica United Nations session and quizzed Douglas Alexander, the International Development Secretary.

Schools are being urged "to tell their stories of achievement" as nominations opened this week for the "Oscars" - 2008 Scottish Education Awards. The deadline for entries is February 22 and the winners will be announced on June 13.

Shetland Islands Council decided by the narrowest of margins to save two rural schools from closure last week, including the smallest secondary department in the country. Around a quarter of the 70 residents on Out Skerries travelled with placards to Lerwick to hear the council's services committee decide by 11-10 to keep their one-pupil secondary department open - at a cost of pound;70,000. Sandness Primary was also saved - at a cost of pound;85,000.

The TESS is celebrating this week after being highly commended in the Periodical Publishers Association Scotland annual awards. From 180 entries, we were pipped at the post in the business and professional magazine of the year category. But the judges singled out the new-style, relaunched TESS as one of three publications for commendation, noting that "Scottish branding and strategy has led to real evidence of success in a well-presented format".

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