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A week in education

Scotland's independent schools will be led for the next few years by John Edward, former head of the European Parliament's office in Scotland. The 41-year-old will take over from Judith Sischy as director of the Scottish Council of Independent Schools on May 1. An old boy of Edinburgh Academy and St Andrews University, he was previously based in Brussels with the European Policy Centre and Scotland Europa. Mr Edward is the son of prominent judge Sir David Edward, who is the chairman of SCIS but is now expected to step down.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott has called for national co- ordination of school closures during severe weather. He was responding to the fact that 20 per cent of Scottish schools (544) remained closed last Thursday, because of disruption caused by snow. Mr Scott said there was a need to clarify whether difficulties were caused by legalistic worries about people being sued, transport problems or heating and water systems breaking down. He praised "go-ahead teachers who get the school open and use the snow to make learning fun". The Scottish Government said the situation steadily improved during the course of the week, with 99 per cent of schools open on Tuesday, compared with 64 per cent on Tuesday last week.

Teachers throughout the UK sought advice on emotional and financial matters even on Christmas Day and New Year's Day, in calls to the helpline operated by the Teacher Support Network Group. Figures released by the charity showed 50 per cent more calls to the 247 line in December 2009 compared with the same month in 2008, up from 825 to 1,295. Its financial assistance programme paid out pound;311,000 during 2009, an increase of 35 per cent from pound;230,436 in 2008.

Would-be participants are now being invited to submit proposals for possible inclusion in the programme for this year's Scottish Learning Festival, which takes place in Glasgow on September 22-23. The theme of SLF 2010 is "Curriculum for Excellence: Enhancing Experiences, Raising Standards", and the closing date for submissions is February 5.

Parents at two Glasgow primaries have been forced, on technical grounds, to drop their legal action against the council over its failure to consult them on the appointment of headteachers. It means the council's contention, that its duty to redeploy staff following the closure of primary schools took precedence over the 2006 parental involvement legislation, will not now be tested in court.

Fife Council has clarified its position on Glow, stating that it remains committed to giving all its schools access to the intranet by the end of the session in June; this is not dependent on the outcome of the trialling process in 10 schools as we implied last week.

Meanwhile, the designation of Jaye Richards in our report should have indicated that she is principal teacher (learning and teaching) with a whole-school and learning community remit at Cathkin High, not head of a department. We apologise for the unwarranted promotion.

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