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A week in education

For the third time, education ministers have "called in" school closure proposals by an education authority. Education Secretary Michael Russell believes the Western Isles Council has not properly considered alternatives to closing two primary schools (Carloway and Shelibost) and ending S1-2 provision at Lionel and Shawbost schools. He also claims the likely effect on the local community and the transport arrangements were not fully explored. The council's decision to close six other primary schools and the S1-2 provision at Daliburgh have not been challenged under the new Schools Consultation Act.

East Renfrewshire is boasting supremacy in the unofficial league tables for pupils gaining five-plus Highers. It claimed this week to have three schools in the top five, having knocked Jordanhill School - the direct grant-aided school in Glasgow - off the top spot. Instead, Williamwood High in Newton Mearns has the highest percentage of pupils with five-plus Highers - at 46 per cent. It is followed by Jordanhill - 45 per cent; St Ninian's High, East Renfrewshire - 42 per cent; Cults Academy, Aberdeen City - 40 per cent; Mearns Castle High, East Renfrewshire - 34 per cent.

Independent schools threatened with losing their charitable status if they did not offer bursaries to less well-off pupils have doubled the amount of money spent on pupil grants in three years and increased the number of pupils benefiting from fully-funded places by 45 per cent. This year, pound;32 million was spent on pupil grants compared to pound;24m the previous year and pound;17m two years ago, according to figures from the Scottish Council of Independent Schools.

New child protection guidance has been launched by Children's Minister Adam Ingram, following a review and consultation on previous guidance which dated back to 1998. It covers new areas of practice such as keeping children safe online and child trafficking and is based on the principles of the Government's policy Getting It Right for Every Child.

A national campaign has been launched to raise awareness of what being young and living with sight loss is like. The Haggeye forum - set up by RNIB Scotland three years ago to represent young people aged 12 to 25 - has produced the campaign, called "Stop and Stare", in a bid to help combat the isolation, exclusion and bullying that some forum members have experienced. The campaign includes a new digital resource kit for schools.

A museums think tank set up by Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop has published a series of recommendations aimed at ensuring a healthy future for Scotland's museums. They include the designation of a national body to support the sector and develop a national strategy, shaped by a forum of experts; Government funding of the three industrial museums (maritime, mining and fisheries); and the establishment of a federation of industrial museums.

We are delighted to announce that, in the recent annual awards organised by the Periodical Publishers Association Scotland, The TESS was highly commended in the Magazine of the Year (Business and Professional) category, while writer Jean McLeish was highly commended in the Feature Writer of the Year (Business and Professional) category. As reported last week, journalist Emma Seith was the winner of the feature writer award.

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