A week in education

There could be as many as 100,000 young carers in Scotland, although the census figure puts the number at 16,701

There could be as many as 100,000 young carers in Scotland, although the census figure puts the number at 16,701. This is revealed in an HMIE self-evaluation guide on improving services for under-18s who are looking after members of their families. It is based on surveys undertaken during inspections in secondaries, which indicate that at least 10 per cent of the pupils have a caring role. Professionals working with them are urged to ensure they are "safe, nurtured, healthy, achieving, active, respected and responsible, and included."

In its latest audit of best value among local authorities, the Accounts Commission says Aberdeenshire Council provides a good standard of education, with above-average levels of attainment for secondary pupils. But this has been achieved with below-average levels of resourcing - pound;5,689 per secondary pupil (Scottish average pound;5,771) and pound;3,913 per primary pupil (Scottish average pound;4,138).

The SNP Government's national food and drink policy, launched last week at the Royal Highland Show in Ingliston, near Edinburgh, includes a renewed focus on food education. This involves Scotland's first "cooking bus", which will tour the country teaching healthy and practical cooking skills to pupils, parents and community groups.

Belmont Academy in Ayr won the Holyrood National Youth Parliament debating competition, where teams frame their performance around stage one of a parliamentary Bill. Its theme was strengthening school security. Joint runners-up were Ellon Academy in Aberdeenshire and Montrose Academy.

The new chief executive of Skills Development Scotland is Damien Yeates. He was chief executive of learndirect scotland, which came together with Careers Scotland and the training arms of the enterprise agencies to form the organisation.

Fledgling speakers of Gaelic should be encouraged to teach learners of the language in primary and secondary schools, according to the chairman of Bord na Gaidhlig. Matthew MacIver, who is also chief executive of the General Teaching Council, made his call at a Gaelic Learners in the Primary School conference in Stirling. He said "professional recognition" should be given to teachers who are learning to teach Gaelic, so they can begin to teach the language. The GLPS initiative offered "an innovative, creative and imaginative way of opening Gaelic up to more teachers and to more pupils."

A pound;40 million action plan to tackle obesity, poor diet and lack of physical exercise will release pound;19 million to be targeted on the early years over the next three years. It will be aimed at improving the nutrition of pregnant women, women of child-bearing age and children under five in deprived areas. Pupils will also be encouraged to take up walking, dancing, sports and healthy cooking.

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