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A Week in Education

Education services in North Ayrshire have received a positive HMIE report. The authority merited seven "very goods" - the second-highest rating - as well as two "goods" and one "satisfactory". It has been told, however, to improve attainment and consistency of teaching in secondary schools. The leadership of new education director Carol Kirk and her team was highly commended.

Glasgow City Council is expected to raise nursery charges today following a trial. An hourly rate of Pounds 2 will replace half-day sessions at Pounds 1.34, although families on income support will be charged 15p an hour. A report showed higher charges at two pre-fives centres had not been "a significant issue raised by parents". The charges will apply to care beyond the 15-hour entitlement for three- and four-year-olds in Glasgow, and children under three.

The finalists have been announced for the 17 categories in this year's Scottish Education Awards. Candidates for Teacher of the Year are: Simone McAdam (Kilmartin Primary, Argyll and Bute); Tony Begley (Holyrood Secondary, Glas- gow); Iain Houston (St Joseph's College, Dumfries); and Gerard Gordon (Notre Dame High, Green-ock). The awards ceremony will take place in Glasgow on June 16.


A teacher who claimed he was forced to retire early because of abusive pupils has lost a claim against Falkirk Council. The court ruled that James Campbell, 62, could not win a constructive dismissal claim by applying for early retirement in response to intolerable conduct. Mr Campbell, who was an art teacher at Denny High, previously lost a disability discrimination claim on the grounds of baldness.

Edinburgh Tory councillors believe setting up sixth form colleges could compensate for schools which are dropping Higher and Advanced Higher courses. Education spokesman Jeremy Balfour said they wanted to establish whether the idea could garner support, and the party has asked city education chiefs to investigate.

The Scottish Government is being kept under pressure to honour its manifesto promise of free swimming for children in council pools. A similar policy has been implemented in England this month as London prepares for the 2012 Olympics, and shadow sports minister Frank McAveety said the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow demanded the same commitment. The Government said it had "clear plans" for more local authorities to offer free swimming.

The principal of Jewel and Esk College is stepping down after eight years. Howard McKenzie will leave at the end of the academic year "to move on to his next challenge". He was acting chief executive of the Association of Scotland's Colleges last year, and played a key role in lobbying MSPs on behalf of the FE sector.

Despite massive public protests, Glasgow's ruling Labour group has voted 31 to six to close 11 primaries and nine nursery schools. However, they decided to save Ruchill Primary, which is the base for an autism unit with 24 pupils, and two nurseries. The closure plans will be officially approved at a special meeting on April 23.

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