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A Week in Education

Scottish council services, including schools, could be affected by strike action on August 20 if local authority staff carry out their stoppage threat. The Unison, Unite and GMB unions have said their members will walk out after a series of ballots rejected a pay rise of 2.5 per cent each year for the next three years.

An HMIE review of Aberdeen College could not identify any main areas for action in the college-wide part of the inspection, the first such finding in the FE sector. The college, which is the largest in Scotland, also received "good" or "very good" grades for all the subject areas inspected; engineering, hospitality and media departments were particularly strong performers.

Proposed reform of Scotland's children's hearings system could lead to the formation of a new national body. It would bring together the work of the children's reporter service, children's hearings, and recruitment and training of members of the children's panel. Adam Ingram, the Children and Early Years Minister, said the new body would cut bureaucracy, but stressed that services would still be delivered locally. The system has come under increasing strain in recent years, with 100,000 referrals handled by reporters in 2006-07. The consultation runs until the end of October.

Boys are continuing to keep the number of under-21s in full-time higher education below the target of 50 per cent, the latest figures on the age participation index reveal. The overall proportion last year was 46.9 per cent, a decrease of 0.2 per cent. The number for females was 52.9 per cent and 41.2 per cent for males. Almost 30 per cent of the API is accounted for by universities and 15 per cent by higher education places in further education colleges.

Jamie Oliver's campaign for healthy school dinners has earned him his own badge from the Scout Association. The chef is one of several celebrities to receive the honour as part of the Scout movement's 101st birthday. Others include Ray Mears, Ewan McGregor, Charley Boorman, and the teenage winner of Britain's Got Talent, George Sampson.

A national campaign to promote Scotland's first mass anti-cancer vaccinations as been launched by Public Health Minister Shona Robison. It aims to inform teenage girls and young women about the Scottish Government's HPV immunisation campaign and how it can protect them against cervical cancer. The vaccination will be offered on a routine basis from this September to girls in S2 at secondary schools. A three-year "catch-up" campaign also begins this year to vaccinate girls aged 13-17, including those who have already left school.

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