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A week in education

Stirling University has been designated Scotland's "University for Sporting Excellence"

Stirling University has been designated Scotland's "University for Sporting Excellence"

Stirling University has been designated Scotland's "University for Sporting Excellence". First Minister Alex Salmond announced last week that Stirling is to be allocated pound;600,000 by the Scottish Funding Council to help create more flexible programmes to support student athletes in their academic and sporting activities. By becoming the centre of a national network of excellence, Stirling will provide training and support for high performance athletes studying at universities and colleges across Scotland.

The Church of Scotland has announced the pound;500 winners of its new award for religious observance and religious education in schools. The Stevenson Prize, named after John Stevenson, a secretary of the Kirk's former education committee, is given in recognition of excellent work by pupils. Liberton High, in Edinburgh, won the secondary category, and Mossneuk Primary in East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, the primary section.

Children placed in bottom sets in primary school suffer "adverse long-term" effects and are often stuck in that group for the rest of their school days, an academic report said last week, and some badly behaved pupils were placed in bottom sets, regardless of ability. The primary school study, by researchers from the Institute of Education and King's College London, said: "There are no consistent effects of structured ability grouping, such as setting, on attainment." It added: "There can be detrimental affects on social and personal outcomes for some children."

A follow-up review of Kilmarnock College by HMIE has found continued weaknesses in its ability to develop and implement strategies related to learning and teaching, retention and attainment and slower progress than anticipated in strategic and operational planning. The Scottish Funding Council has been asked by the college to send a team of specialists from its Further Education Development Directorate to support it in these areas. The college said that some of its work could not be included in the report because it had not been completed in time.

Speculation is mounting that Scotland's first state-funded Islamic faith school could soon get the go-ahead, after Alex Salmond said he was "sympathetic" to the idea. Glasgow is considered the likely location. A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: "As Glasgow develops the next phase of the primary school modernisation project, we will work with communities to reflect their needs and await with interest the detail on the Scottish Government's putative Scottish Futures Trust capital funding framework." It is understood, however, that no request for an Islamic faith school has yet been made to the council by campaigners.

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