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A week in education

Renfrewshire Council has made a concession in its controversial move to draft in support staff to cover primary teachers' weekly 2.5 hours of non-class contact time. They now intend to pilot the approach later than planned and will not extend it to all primaries until January 2012, rather than August 2011. The proposal, which aims to save over pound;1 million a year, has been condemned by the General Teaching Council for Scotland and the Educational Institute of Scotland. The EIS says the changes amount to no more than repackaging "in a belated attempt to make them appear more attractive".

Young people adopt a different identity online, a survey by children's charity Kidscape has found. The results, released on Tuesday to mark Safer Internet Day and covering 2,300 youngsters aged 11 to 18 in Scotland, England and Wales, reveal that one in two lie about their personal details on the internet. Of those, one in eight speak to strangers online: 60 per cent of them lie about their age and 40 per cent about their personal relationships. Peter Bradley, Kidscape's deputy director and a psychotherapist specialising in adolescents, said he was "alarmed" by the findings. He commented: "We know that safe online behaviour is taught in schools and by other organisations like us, but teenagers seem to be unable to relate the risks to themselves."

A new partnership between Who Cares? Scotland and care organisation Spark of Genius is to give financial assistance to care leavers to go into business or further and higher education. It will include funding two places at the Harvard summer camp in America, following a successful placement last year which was featured in The TESS. The initiative is part of a Scottish Government drive to improve the outlook for looked after children: at present, only 2.6 per cent of young people in care go on to FEHE compared with 35.5 per cent of those who are not looked after.

The principal educational psychologist in South Lanarkshire shows "outstanding leadership" of a very effective service, the latest HMIE report concludes. The inspectors are less fulsome about education psychology in Argyll and Bute, saying that "some important improvements" are needed, including better management information.

After a torrid time following the death of Dundee toddler Brandon Muir, child protection agencies in the city have now been given a virtually clean bill of health. An HMIE-led investigation found "very positive and encouraging progress in driving forward improvements in performance." There had been "significant developments in the early recognition, immediate response and initial risk assessment of concerns about children at risk of abuse and neglect".

A UK-wide survey has found that young people who use public libraries are nearly twice as likely to be above average readers as those who do not (18 per cent compared with 9.5 per cent). The research, to highlight Save Our Libraries Day last Saturday, was undertaken by the National Literacy Trust among 17,089 pupils aged eight to 16.

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