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A week in education

Schoolgirls as young as 13 are to be offered vaccination against cervical cancer from September 1, the Government announced this week. The HPV vaccine will provide protection against the virus which causes 70 per cent of cervical cancers, and it is expected that 180,000 girls from S2 to S6 will be covered in the first two years. The HPV immunisation programme will cost pound;64 million over the next three years.

The General Teaching Council for Scotland will begin its search next week for a successor to Matthew MacIver as its registrar and chief executive. Mr MacIver, aged 61, a former secondary headteacher and leading Gaelic campaigner, is stepping down after 10 years at the GTCS, first as depute registrar and then as registrar for the past seven years.

Unions representing 220,000 local government staff in Scotland, including classroom assistants and nursery nurses, have rejected a three-year pay offer which would have increased their salaries by 2.5 per cent each year from 2008-10. The unions - Unison, GMB and Unite - had tabled a claim for a rise of pound;1,000 or 5 per cent for 2008. But they reject a three-year deal as "a pig in a poke" because it does not allow negotiations to be re-opened if inflation climbs beyond an agreed level.

A new memorandum of understanding to develop education links between Scotland and China was signed this week by Fiona Hyslop, the Education Secretary, and Wu Qidi, China's vice-minister for Education. The memorandum, the second on education between the two countries, aims to increase the study of Chinese language in schools, step up teacher and student exchanges, establish regular undergraduate summer schools and develop research links. Ms Hyslop returns from China tomorrow after her week-long visit.

A legal activist, particularly in the field of additional support needs, has been appointed to the board of Learning and Teaching Scotland. Iain Nisbet, head of the education law unit in the Govan Law Centre, has been appointed for a three-year period to the post which is unpaid.

Steve Sinnott, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers in England and Wales, died suddenly last Saturday from a suspected heart attack, aged 56. His death came just days after the NUT had voted to stage its first national pay strike for 21 years, due to take place on April 24.

Inspectors say they are confident North Glasgow College is well- led and turning in a good performance. Most scores were 'good' or 'very good' in subject areas and cross-college work, although student attainment was only 'fair' in electricalelectronic engineering and in business, management and administration.

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