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A week in education

The teaching union landscape has become more crowded with the decision by the third largest union south of the border to recruit in Scotland. The 160,000-strong Association of Teachers and Lecturers, which claims to have 3,500 members in Scotland, has appointed Keith Robson as its official, based in Edinburgh. Mr Robson, 36, is a former president and director of the National Union of Students in Scotland. He aims to build on a strong base in independent schools. ATL will also welcome non-teaching members.

Education directors say they are opposed to extending guidelines on school closures to nursery schools. The Association of Directors of Education in Scotland, although it would welcome fresh guidelines on the reorganisation of nursery education, points out that education authorities run some nurseries in partnership with the private and voluntary sectors, which may decide to close their establishments for business or other reasons. "The regulatory context for nursery schools is less than clear," ADES states. It was responding to a petition before parliament from Friends of Cameron House Nursery in Edinburgh, where some schools were under threat of closure last year.

A Moray secondary school has been told to improve its curriculum and teaching, promote higher expectations among staff and pupils, and enhance its strategic and corporate leadership. A hard-hitting report from HMIE this week on Milne's High in Fochabers is demanding action. The council claims it is "a mixed report" and says that "pupils have been singled out for praise".

Consultation meetings on the future of primary and S1-2 schools in the Western Isles began this week. These will culminate in a report in June to the council, which says its expenditure on education exceeds its government grant aid by pound;7 million.

In other parts of the country, it was school openings which were on the horizon. They included the announcement that a pound;30 million secondary school and library is to be built in Edinburgh's deprived Craigmillar area to replace Castlebrae Community High - only a few months after the council said it should be closed. In the Highlands, work began on the region's first "green" school: Acharacle Primary in Ardnamurchan will cost pound;5.8 million, double the cost of two years ago. A pound;15 million redevelopment has seen Donaldson's School for deaf and language-impaired pupils relocate from Edinburgh to purpose-built premises in Linlithgow.

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