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A Week in Education

A Scot, featured in last week's TESS, has been acclaimed as one of Britain's top school librarians. Duncan Wright of Stewart's Melville College in Edinburgh was picked as joint school librarian of the year in the School Library Association's UK-wide competition, the first time two people have been awarded the honour. Mr Wright, aged 31, was praised for his "information literacy ladder" to help pupils in P7-S2, for making the library "a fun place to be" and for engaging disaffected readers "with his enthusiasm for other things than just the library".

The investigation which followed the suspension of former Aberdeenshire education director Bruce Robertson cost pound;48,929, according to last-minute information reluctantly supplied to the council before its meeting last Thursday. Mr Robertson faced allegations of bullying, but a six-month inquiry, conducted by South Lanarkshire's former director of education, Maggi Allan, ended with no grounds found to sack him. The expense of that probe, released to a local councillor, does not include the pound;63,380 spent on covering his absence, advertising costs to find a replacement, his salary while he was on leave or his payoff. The final total is reported to be around pound;300,000. The council is refusing to make any comment "for reasons of confidentiality".

The new face in charge of training the largest number of teachers in Scotland is a politics graduate from the University of Southampton. Tony McGrew has been selected as the new dean of the faculty of humanities and social sciences at Strathclyde University, which has absorbed the former Jordanhill school of education into a range of disciplines with politics, law, languages and psychology. Professor McGrew's previous post was head of the school of social sciences at Southampton and he stressed "interdisciplinarity" as key to his approach.

The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association insists it should keep its seat on the Curriculum for Excellence management board while it seeks a negotiated settlement with each local authority over CfE implementation concerns. It will ballot its members on a "work to rule" in those authorities where agreement has not been reached by October 15. Both the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and Education Secretary Michael Russell have told the SSTA that continued membership of the board is incompatible with taking industrial action. The SSTA claims it is being bullied.

The Scottish Government has launched a consultation on the proposed merger of the Edinburgh College of Art with Edinburgh University. The move, while being justified on academic grounds, is also driven by fears that the 250- year-old art college would find it "extremely difficult" to remain an independent institution as the public purse strings tighten. The governing bodies of both institutions have approved the merger which, if backed by ministers, would take effect from August next year. But a major stumbling block is said to be the costs of "transition", estimated at up to pound;20 million.

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