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A Week in Education

The threat to "teacher-led nursery education" in some parts of Scotland would put at risk the quality of education for three- and four-year-olds, according to the Educational Institute of Scotland. In a booklet on nursery schools and classes, published last Friday, the union says research proves that disadvantaged pupils benefit the most from having professional teachers. It takes issue with the SNP Government's pledge to give every pre-schooler "access" to a nursery teacher, which is not the same as being "taught" by one.

Plans to build a pound;48 million replacement for Anderson High in Shetland, thought to be one of the most expensive school projects in Scotland, would make it "virtually impossible" for the council to maintain its reserves and stick to its capital programme, according to the director of finance. Final figures will be presented to councillors in May.

The new agency Skills Development Scotland came into force on Tuesday, as changes were announced to a number of training programmes. The agency combines Careers Scotland, learndirect Scotland and the training functions of enterprise networks. Chairman will be Willy Roe, who chairs Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Major changes will include more modern apprenticeships, a new one in life sciences, and an expansion in construction apprenticeships, for school leavers in Glasgow.

A small grants scheme for science projects has been extended, the Education Secretary has announced. The science engagement scheme will disburse pound;615,000 to 36 projects throughout the country.

Labour's literacy commission - tasked with eradicating illiteracy from Scotland - will include CBI Scotland director Iain McMillan; Judith Gillespie, development manager of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council; Gordon Matheson, Glasgow City Council's executive member for education and social renewal; Tommy Mackay, an educational psychologist who drew up West Dunbartonshire's 10-year literacy programme; and Scottish Youth Parliament chairman John Loughton.

This year's winners of the Young Scot Awards were Dunfermline cancer fundraisers Jamie Stewart and his twin brother Andy, who died from leukaemia in 2006. The awards are sponsored by the Sunday Mail and Lloyds TSB Scotland.

Members of the National Union of Teachers in England and Wales have voted 3-1 in favour of a one-day strike on April 24 over the Government's pay offer of 2.45 per cent. The NUT is calling for an inflation matching pay rise of 4.1 per cent. This would be the first national stoppage for more than 20 years.

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