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A week in education

Pupils in all eight East Dunbartonshire secondaries are to have their fingerprints taken after what the council says has been a successful introducation in Boclair and Lenzie academies. The biometric process, which generates a unique code for each pupil, will be used for cashless catering only, the council insists. Rejecting the spectre of "big brother", a council spokesperson said the number created after scanning "could not be re-interpreted into a fingerprint image". Pupils would also have the opportunity to opt out.

A Glasgow teacher has raised a Pounds 100,000 damages claim in the Court of Session against the city council, alleging it failed to protect him from bullying by other staff. Michael Cunningham, 56, principal teacher of social subjects at St Roch's Secondary, claims the council is in breach of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and blames it for health problems which led him to undergo heart surgery. The council is contesting the claims.

The role of the Scottish Funding Council for further and higher education in delivering ministerial policies has been strongly underlined in the past week by the surprise choice of Mark Batho to be its new chief executive. Mr Batho, 52, is the Government's director of lifelong learning and takes over his new role at a time when the council has been charged with devising a new funding mechanism for the universities to help them support the Government's policies on economic growth. The Association of Scotland's Colleges described his appointment as "a wise and bold choice".

Parents and other users of schools take a more positive attitude to them once they have direct experience, according to a "satisfaction survey" of all its services by Stirling Council. The survey showed 70 per cent of those who used primaries were satisfied with them, compared with 28 per cent of the respondents as a whole; the levels of satisfaction with secondary schools rose from 27 per cent of the general public to 65 per cent of council residents who had experience of them. The school figures contrast with a satisfaction rate of 12 per cent with social work services for children and families.

There has been an upsurge of interest in home education from parents whose children are "dreading a return to the classroom", according to the support organisation Schoolhouse. Its monthly enquiry rate is usually between 100 and 120, but it has had nearly 100 this month already. Alison Preuss of Schoolhouse says its biggest headache has been parents acting on wrong information due to the proliferation of "UK" information websites which do not distinguish between English and Scottish education law.

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