A week in education

Glasgow City Council told an employment appeal tribunal last week that the discrimination claimed by one of its teachers, who was overlooked when he applied for a promoted post in pastoral care in a Catholic secondary, was justified, proportionate and in pursuit of a legitimate aim - delivering education in a denominational school.

The council lost the first round in the case brought by David McNab, then a maths teacher at St Paul's High. It is appealing, arguing there was a "genuine occupational requirement" for the promoted postholder to be approved by the Catholic church and that it was not in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. The tribunal will issue its judgment at a later date.

The high-profile visit to Scotland last week by the Tory shadow cabinet from Westminster saw George Osborne, the party's Treasury spokesman, wading into the S1S2 debate. He said "half of all 14-year-olds can't read, write and add up properly." The Scottish Survey of Achievement, however, has shown that nine out of 10 secondary pupils made a good start with reading at least at 5-14 level D. And over 75 per cent of S2 pupils are very good or well-established at level D in numeracy.

The extent to which councils devolve education budgets to their schools varies - from 100 per cent in Aberdeen to 67 per cent in Aberdeenshire.

These are the figures for "devolvable" areas, which exclude spending over which the Scottish Executive expects councils to retain control, such as transport, special needs and meals.

Ministers want authorities to de-volve at least 90 per cent of their budgets to schools; only 19 of the 32 councils are at or above this level.

The picture emerges from the latest statistical bulletin on school spending last year - spending on primary schools was up 7 per cent to pound;4,138 per pupil; secondary schools by 6 per cent to pound;5,771 per pupil; and special education by 5 per cent.

The Court of Session has ordered the review of a case of an Edin-burgh youngster whose parental request for her to attend the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh in favour of a council school in the city was rejected by an additional support needs tribunal. Lord Glennie criticised the tribunal for ignoring the views of the head of the girl's nursery that she would be better off attending the RBS than Oaklands special school. The judge wants the issue to be looked at again by a differently-constituted tribunal. He also ruled that the city council's calculation of the costs of attending the two schools was flawed, and should not have included the existing running costs of the council school. Campaigners fear that, by making the private option more expensive, parents will be unable to afford a specialist school of their choice.

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