A week in education

The Scottish Parliament has announced details of events to mark the 300th anniversary of the 1707 Act of Union between the English and Scottish parliaments. They will include an educational project for schools, "A Union for a' that". It will run from September to November in conjunction with some historical and cultural organisations, taking the form of workshops at Edinburgh Castle and at Holyrood.

A new sound will soon be heard in Clackmannanshire primaries where an audio enhancement system is to be introduced in all its P1 and P2 classrooms. The Sound-field system, which raises the level of the teacher's voice, has been trialled in the authority and proved a boost to learning. The move follows findings that one in five children could be missing out in the classroom because under-14s find it difficult to distinguish speech in noisy environments, a problem which lessens as they get older.

Cash for "cultural pathfinder" pilots, linked to the draft Culture Bill published for consultation last month, has been announced. Twenty-six Scottish councils look set to benefit as they deliver 13 community projects aimed at delivering cultural services, some of which will be targeted at children. The Bill will place a duty on authorities to provide cultural experiences and entitlements for children.

The school meals bill should apply to nurseries and independent schools, according to the Scottish Parliament's communities committee. The committee made the call this week as it published a report in which it backed the principles behind the bill.

The Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition) (Scotland) Bill aims to promote health in schools, ensure all food and drink available to pupils meet nutritional standards, and increase the number of children taking meals. In its Stage 1 Report, the committee endorsed the principles of the bill, but called for the proposed legislation to be extended to the pre-school and independent sectors.

Anne Crammond, headteacher of the fee-paying Fernhill School in Rutherglen, has left her post after less than two years. The board of governors of the Catholic school said the parting had been by "mutual agreement", although there are understood to have been complaints from staff about Mrs Crammond's management style.

The latest tranche of cash for local authorities takes the form of a Pounds 12.8 million injection for nurseries and childcare centres. Hugh Henry, the Education Minister, said he expected it to be spent on such items as play equipment, climbing frames and playmats. "Small things often make a big difference," he said.

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