A week in education

The school rebuilding programme got pre-election treatment this week with the First Minister, Deputy First Minister and Education Minister out and about to highlight their achievement in modernising 200 schools, with another 100 promised by 2009. Jack McConnell, speaking as Labour leader, committed his party to refurbish another 150 by 2011 if it formed the Government after May's elections. In response, Fiona Hyslop, the SNP's education spokesperson, pledged her party would replace "the fundamentally flawed, expensive and inefficient private finance schemes" with a special "futures trust" programme. But it would complete any projects it inherited if it came to power.

Mascara entered the world of education this week after a head wrote to parents asking them to discourage girls from wearing make-up to school.

Anne Torley, head of Ormiston Primary in East Lothian, said girls wearing mascara, was creating a "distraction". This turned out to mean that teachers were having to stop teaching to deal with the problem, rather than boys losing concentration.

The Open University in Scotland is stepping up its involvement in teacher education with a new flexible course for secondary maths teachers which can be studied at home and lead to the postgraduate diploma in education.

Beginning in August, school placements will be arranged in each student's area. The course "has the potential to open up teaching to a whole range of talented and committed people who have much to offer the profession but, until now, have been deterred because of their personal circumstances", says Peter Syme, director.

A Scottish education authority has been given official backing to build "resilience" among pupils in one of its secondary schools, costing Pounds 128,000. Denny High and its seven primaries will pilot a programme over two years, working with staff and parents to develop their knowledge of mental well-being and resilience, caring relationships, dealing with stress and support for children. The work will be done by Young Minds, the national children's mental health charity.

Educational activities which benefit from charitable status will lose it unless they provide financial information to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator by March 15.

Strathclyde University has announced redundancy plans affecting 250 jobs, in an attempt to head off a pound;10 million deficit by 2010. This follows a move by Dundee University to shed 100 jobs to reduce a pound;3 million deficit, and a voluntary redundancy scheme at Glasgow Caledonian University. Universities blame the 13.1 per cent three-year pay deal for lecturers, agreed last year.

At least 60 people were studying towards qualifications with One Plus, the childcare provider that went into liquidation last month. The Scottish Qualifications Auth-ority said contact had been made with another provider.

SQA T 0845 279 1000 E customer@sqa.org.uk

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