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A week in education

Inspectors will be sent in to Renfrewshire Council to make sure its schools do not break the law by using unregistered teachers, the First Minister has revealed. In parliamentary exchanges with Labour leader Iain Gray last week, Alex Salmond said the SNP council's decision to replace 60 teachers would not involve unqualified staff taking their place. Mr Salmond then attempted to shift the spotlight on to Labour-run North Ayrshire Council, criticising its short-lived proposal for a four-day week.

A computing teacher has been struck off for using "lewd and libidinous practices" towards a boy at Arbroath High between 1989 and 1991. Andrew Wilson argued his conduct was not "inappropriate" but the General Teaching Council for Scotland rejected that defence and also passed his name to Scottish ministers for a decision on whether he should be disqualified from working with children. In another judgment, the GTCS removed William Dryden from the register for "serious incompetence" when he was at Noblehill Primary in Dumfries. It found failures in his lesson planning, the pace of pupils' work, classroom discipline and using assessment to improve his teaching.

The Scottish Government is to provide pound;1.05 million for the Scottish Book Trust's `bookbug' reading programme. It aims to develop reading habits in the early years by providing free books for children at the ages of six weeks, 18 months, three years and in P1.

Tam Baillie has had his two-year term as Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People extended by MSPs. The Parliament's corporate body had been urged by critics to rethink his appointment over allegations of "self-promotion" and ignoring "almost all the advice given to him". Another letter to the parliamentary body indicated that seven staff have left since Mr Baillie took over. But an independent adviser deemed his performance to be "satisfactory" and he was reappointed for a further six years.

Inversnaid Primary, on the shores of Loch Lomond, is to be closed by Stirling Council. Dubbed "the most expensive school in Britain," it costs pound;54,000 a year to educate each of the two children, whose mother is their headteacher. That is almost double the pound;30,000 fees charged by Eton and 13 times the average pound;3,948 cost of a primary place in Scotland.

The Labour Party is targeting young people in the run-up to May's Scottish election. It hopes the Liberal Democrats' vote at Westminster for higher tuition fees will produce a backlash against the party in Scotland and aims to embarrass the SNP Government over what Labour claims is its inactivity over youth unemployment. The party is pledging a "future jobs fund" to help 10,000 youngsters back into work.

Almost a quarter of schools in the UK (23 per cent) do something to celebrate Valentine's Day, mostly staging an event or a party or making cards. A survey by School Stickers, a company which provides school rewards, also found that, of the schools which do not celebrate the day, 11 per cent say it is because they do not want to encourage relationships between pupils.

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