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A Week in Education

The number of teachers in Scotland is the lowest for eight years. There were 54,600 full-time equivalent teachers employed in the second quarter of 2010, according to statistics from the Scottish Government on public sector employment. Numbers have fallen by 2,200 (from 56,800) in the past year and by almost 2,900 (from 57,500) since the SNP Government came to power in 2007. Overall, there were 606,400 people employed in the public sector between April and June, down 8,100 on the same period last year.

Glasgow City Council will no longer fund aspiring headteachers through the Scottish Qualification for Headship. A spokeswoman said the #163;5,500 course fee per person at Glasgow University was "just not possible at the moment", although the authority stresses it will provide an alternative course. Headteachers' representatives have expressed their disappointment at the move, which the city council said would save it #163;150,000 a year. But School Leaders Scotland general secretary Ken Cunningham added that the SQH had had a mixed response.

The Pope singled out Scotland's Catholic schools for special praise in his homily at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow last week. In the past 30 years, he observed, schools had met the challenge of providing an "integral education" to higher numbers of students, helping their "spiritual and human growth" and their ability to enter the workplace and public life. He said: "This is a sign of great hope for the church, and I encourage Catholic professionals, politicians and teachers of Scotland never to lose sight of their calling to use their talents and experience in the service of the faith."

East Renfrewshire's child protection services have earned an outstanding HMIE report. They received one "excellent" rating - in the category of "children are listened to and respected" - and five "very good" ratings. The local authority's officials have concluded, after analysing other HMIE reports covering almost all of Scotland, that this made it the best in the country for child protection. Good practice included the "What About Me?" project, which supports children whose parents have drug or alcohol problems, and approaches to online safety.

Highland pupils wishing to study a second modern language may have to do so through open learning or video-conferencing, officials have suggested. Budget cuts would make it unviable to run classes attracting few pupils, according to John Considine, Highland Council's acting head of education services. There was "a very real risk" that second modern language classes would have to go. The council plans to explore collaboration with colleges and the use of Glow Meet.

The educational psychology service in Aberdeenshire has received a national award for its performance. It has met the Government standard for customer service excellence. The accolade follows the achievement of Charter Mark status in 2007 and a strong endorsement of its work from HMIE in 2008.

A scheme encouraging Scottish schools to create orchards has held its annual prizegiving. Fruitful Schools awards went to: Rosevale Primary, Glasgow; Paisley Academy; Inverkeithing High; Gartmore Primary, in the Stirling Council area; Ferryhill Primary and Royal Mile Primary, Edinburgh; and Canongate Primary, St Andrews.

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