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A Week in Education

Eight Clyde Valley councils in the west of Scotland are considering how they could share services, including education. The impetus is to save money. According to Steven Purcell, leader of Labour-led Glasgow City Council, his authority will hold talks with East and West Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire, Inverclyde and North and South Lanarkshire - although each will preserve their separate identities.

Sharing services of a different kind has emerged from remote Lochaline Primary in the west Highlands, which is to provide house room for firefighters and coastguard officers. Michael Foxley, leader of the administration in Highland Council, said he would like to see more of this, as a way of saving on both capital investment and revenue funding.

A former teacher at Bankhead Academy in Aberdeen has avoided a jail sentence after admitting having sex with a 15-year-old boy. Alison Smith, aged 29, was placed on probation for 18 months and given 200 hours of community service. Sheriff Kieran McLernan said that, although the incident was "a significant breach of trust", it was her own conscience which had brought the matter to light.

Broadcaster and journalist Muriel Gray is to be the first patron for additional support needs mediation in Scotland. Her daughter has complex special needs and Ms Gray commented: "To provide an independent, calm and empathetic environment in which both parties can fully express their views can only be a very welcome move forward. This is a wonderful initiative."

In the increasingly strident war of words between the SNP Government and its opponents, apprenticeships have emerged as the latest battleground. Iain Gray, Scottish Labour leader, said First Minister Alex Salmond had misled parliament by claiming there were 36,000 new start apprentices in Scotland, proportionately more than England's figure of 224,800 last year. But Labour says the total number of apprentices at all stages of training was 30,238, of which only 10,714 were new starts.

The Scottish Government is to inject Pounds 180,000 over the next three years to expand the number of Fulbright scholars taking part in the academic exchange programme which aims to further links between postgraduate students and academics in the UK and the United States.

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