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A week in education

The chief executive of Aberdeen City Council wants to reinstate the post of director of education. Sue Bruce, who did the job in East Dunbartonshire, has begun consultations on restructuring the authority, proposing two options which both involve a director of lifelong learning, culture and sport. The absence of the post was criticised by the Accounts Commission last year.

The right of parents whose children have special needs to make a placing request for a school in another education authority came a step closer this week, as the Parliament's education committee agreed to support the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Bill. The committee has urged the Government to observe the position after hearing evidence that "parents and children are not being properly served when requesting their child is placed at a school of their choice".

The Education Secretary has again challenged Glasgow City Council to cut class sizes, pointing out this could have been done by retaining 318 teaching posts which have disappeared. Fiona Hyslop said: "It is regrettable that Glasgow, which has one of the poorest levels of attainment, also has one of the lowest levels of expenditure on education."

Inspections released last week found that child protection was very effective in Inverclyde and "significant progress" had been made in Clackmannanshire to improve services since its last inspection a year ago.

The inspectorate has praised the "well-judged leadership" of Murdo Macleod, the director of education in the Western Isles. The education department had "significantly improved" its support and challenge for schools. But in its report, HMIE judged that "strengths outweighed weaknesses" in the general leadership of the authority because of a lack of consensus among councillors on key issues such as school closures.

The Government has launched Changing Classrooms, a handbook to be sent to all Scottish schools to help them use classroom space more effectively. It was launched last week by Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop when she opened Dunning Primary, Perthshire, which incorporates some of the best design features.

Aberdeenshire Council is to target P1 pupils and parents in a "healthy-weight intervention programme" after figures showed 7,000 pupils in the authority were overweight.

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