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A Week in Education

Accidents at work and attacks on teachers have cost their employers more than a quarter of a million pounds in the last year, according to figures released by the Educational Institute of Scotland. Compensation to claimants amounted to pound;180,000 while the rest was the legal costs to employers.

The EIS says the "startling" figure shows how much still has to be done to improve health and safety in Scotland's education establishments. A growing number of cases involve occupational stress, and the biggest single pay-out of pound;38,000 was awarded to an EIS member who suffered "psychiatric injury" as a result of being prosecuted following false allegations and lack of support from his employer.

A rare step up for an education director to chief executive has been approved by councillors in East Lothian where Alan Blackie has been promoted to the top post, beating 27 other candidates. Mr Blackie, 59, has been director of education (and then children's services) since the council was established in 1995. He has acted as chief executive on occasion, following the furore over the retirement package awarded to the previous chief executive.

Almost every 11-16 year old in Scotland now has access to a computer or laptop at home - 98 per cent. This is among the findings of a YouGov survey, commissioned throughout the UK by RM, the provider of ICT to schools. It also revealed that 94 per cent of pupils agreed that technology helped them learn more.

The second fully Gaelic school in Scotland was officially opened in Inverness today (Friday) by Alex Salmond, the First Minister. Although the first such school was in Glasgow, the pound;4 million Highland school is the first purpose-built one for Gaelic-medium education. It has a roll of 101 primary and 50 nursery pupils.

Headteachers of all 33 schools in Shetland have written a joint letter to the council, pleading not to be put through another school review process. It follows a council decision not to close two schools, including the one-pupil secondary department on Skerries. Councillors have also agreed, however, to draw up a 10-year "blueprint for education", which aims to consolidate schools into fewer, larger institutions. The authority is currently reviewing the future of eight primaries.

The row over the use of classroom assistants is continuing, with Unison urging that their jobs should be properly evaluated. The union claims thousands of its members are working at a higher level than is recognised by their pay, which is mostly at the bottom of the scale for local government staff. Unison believes the job evaluation process currently being undertaken by local authorities is failing to identify the true value of the work assistants do.

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