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A week in education

The Education Secretary has given qualified backing to East Lothian's plans to give communities and heads more control over schools, following the English model of trust schools. These are funded by councils, but run by governing bodies which can employ their own staff and manage their own assets. Fiona Hyslop said: "The model of trusts implemented in England has serious flaws, but the community empowerment proposals being explored by East Lothian Council are interesting. They present a chance to explore how best to achieve a greater role for communities in their local schools. They sit well with Curriculum for Excellence and the entitlement of schools to expect more from their local community in supporting them. There is a clear opportunity for further devolving of local decision- making."

There is not enough protection for children against sexual exploitation, according to a report published this week by Barnardo's Scotland. In Whose Child Now?, the charity calls for more focus on the danger faced by the most vulnerable children. It highlights the failure to recognise the risks faced by children who go missing from home or care, and the organised nature of exploitation.

Scottish Labour has warned that the country faces a "teacher crisis" after figures revealed the number of graduates embarking on their probation had fallen. Graduates provisionally registered with the General Teaching Council for Scotland fell from 3,968 in 2007 to 3,439 this year. However, the Scottish Government argued that because of the time it takes to train a teacher, the numbers were set by the previous administration.

School leavers have been given pound;2 million by the Scottish Government to help them train for jobs. The cash is being made available to fund 420 new places for youngsters to learn skills in engineering, motor vehicle, warehousingretail and IT and administration. Following the scheme, which will be managed by Skills Development Scotland, they will move directly onto the modern apprenticeship programme, or into further training or employment.

Partnerships between schools in the UK and developing countries have the greatest impact when students and teachers meet, a recent study has found. In The Influence of North South School Partnerships, researchers from the Institute of Education London recommend that resources should be focused on exchange visits and post-visit activities. Three Scottish primaries and one secondary were involved in the research funded by the Department for International Development, with schools from the rest of the UK, Asia and Africa.

Teachers working with socially excluded or vulnerable children and those at risk of underachieving are being urged to apply for funding for residential breaks at youth hostels in Scotland. SYHA Hostelling Scotland's charity Give Us A Break has pound;7,000-worth of unclaimed educational breaks. Deadline is December 11. Funding covers accommo dation, meals and activities.

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CORRECTION: In last week's report on attempts by the Scottish Qualifications Authority to convince Oxford and Cambridge universities to accept the Scottish Baccalaureate as an entrance qualification equivalent to three Advanced Highers, we stated that Madras College had no pupils doing the languages baccalaureate. It has two pupils doing the course. We apologise for the error.

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