The Scottish Qualifications Authority has launched its first National Qualifications courses in Chinese languages - Mandarin and Cantonese - at Intermediate 1 and Intermediate 2. Higher and Advanced Higher courses are planned for introduction in 2009, with certification in 2010.
East Renfrewshire Council has blamed the previous Scottish Executive's policy of reducing P1 classes to 25 pupils for its proposal to hold a ballot of parents who have made placing requests to Mearns Primary. A spokesman for the council explained that P1 class-size cuts had forced it to reduce its intake for the school from 132 two years ago to 115 this year. Sixteen families from outwith the catchment area had made placing requests - all of whom have been told there was no space. But the eight who already have older children in the school have been told that, if any places become available in future, they may be balloted. "This is nothing new. It was used by Strathclyde Regional Council extensively in the past, when there were rising rolls in Glasgow and Milngavie," said the spokesman.
Pupils are to get a better understanding of their rights at work, with the launch of a resource pack for schools by the STUC. A Better Way to Work in Scotland aims to reinforce the Government's Determined to Succeed programme and, according to deputy general secretary Dave Moxham, it will "equip young people to be better employees and better bosses in the future."
The steady rise in the number of pupils at independent schools continued last year, according to the latest figures, which show that they are at their highest level for 10 years - up from 3.9 per cent in 1997 to 4.5 per cent last year. There were more pupils in the private sector 10 years ago but, with the falling pupil population, the proportion is now higher. The figures also show that average class sizes in P1-3 are at or below the Government's target of 18-16.9 in P1 and 18.6 in P2 and P3.
Seven pupils from Edinburgh's Portobello High have shown that being educated in crumbling buildings is no barrier to success. The youngsters have won 10 per cent of the places offered to applicants worldwide for a top American university scholarship programme. It is open to 70 young people from every country to study for a year at any college or university in Georgia.