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A week in education

An Aberdeen teacher has walked free from court after he was found not guilty of supplying a Class A drug. Malcolm Stopani, 58, a teacher at Scotstown Primary in Bridge of Don, was accused of having been concerned in the supply of methadone. He and a 21-year-old woman appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court. But the sheriff ruled that the police evidence was contradictory, while Mr Stopani had a clear recollection of what had happened.

The Scottish Government is providing Pounds 81,700 to hold 152 Islamophobia workshops in secondary schools over the next two years. They will be delivered by the charity Show Racism the Red Card. The intention is that the 90-minute workshops will not educate pupils about the Islamic religion, but "challenge myths and stereotypes".

A Glasgow special school has scored a remarkable triumph by being shortlisted in an international architecture award. Hazelwood School, which has been featured in The TESS, is one of only two educational buildings in Europe among six to be selected for the inaugural World Architecture News.com Education Building of the Year awards.

A survey by transport charity Sustrans has found that more youngsters than ever are walking or cycling to school. The Government hailed the results of its Pounds 5.8 million investment in "active" forms of transport after figures, based on a survey of some 400,000 pupils, revealed that 51 per cent walk or cycle to school; 27.6 per cent are driven.

The children's hearings system is to be streamlined and strengthened, according to the Government. The Reporter service of professionals will remain intact, but a new Scottish Children's Hearings Tribunal will be responsible for recruiting and training the lay members of the children's panels to ensure "more consistent high standards". This will bring together the work in that area of the 32 children's panels and their advisory committees. The moves follow a consultation last year and will be the subject of a bill introduced into the Parliament in the autumn.

Services for child protection in the Fife Council area are not so good, according to inspectors. The HMIE-led team handed out only four ratings of "good", while six were "satisfactory" and eight "weak". Although there was effective help in some areas and some participation by children themselves, the report highlighted the need to improve guidance on sharing information among services, the processes of assessing the risk and needs of vulnerable children and the rigour of assessment and monitoring. The chief officers of the various agencies have been told to draw up an action plan and report on progress on implementing it within four months.

Scottish university students taking part in overseas exchange programmes are to receive full tuition fee support from next year. Students on the Erasmus exchange, which covers 31 European countries, have their fees paid, but those on programmes outside Europe have to pay half their fees (around Pounds 1,000).

We apologise to Peter Syme, director of the Open University in Scotland. In our item last week on the OU's 40th birthday, we inadvertently entitled him "professor" when he is Mr Syme.

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