A week in education

As pupils' mobile phones have been hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons, Aberdeen youngsters have been finding a good use for them - sending them to Africa. Muirfield Primary is collecting mobiles as part of the Phones 4 Africa campaign, and has amassed 60. There is a home-grown motivation - preventing them being buried in landfills and contaminating the ground.

Meanwhile, Hugh Henry, the Education Minister, has written to authorities to draw up effective guidance on the use of mobiles in schools. He will ask the discipline stakeholder group, which he chairs, to take the lead and is inviting BT and mobile phone companies to its next meeting.

The group of youngsters almost as much in the news as school mobile phones, those not in education, employment or training (Neet), are to get a leg up from the Scottish Premier League. A meeting of the football clubs, convened by Jack McConnell, the First Minister, agreed on Monday to a new programme, Kick Start, which will provide those young people with training and skills.

It will be backed by pound;400,000 from the Scottish Executive. The SPL clubs offer learning support to 2,500 young people each year.

A partnership between Aberdeen University's school of education and the Educational Institute of Scotland will add a new dimension to teachers'

professional development in the north-east. The emphasis will be on "practical action research," focusing on inclusion, A Curriculum for Excellence, leadership and mentoring.

Official figures show a substantial increase in the number of students studying science in Scottish universities, a 22 per cent increase, since 1996-97. The growth has been in maths, computer science and biological sciences and "other physical sciences". Undergraduate numbers in the "pure"

sciences, such as physics and chemistry, have declined.

Another move to tighten measures for protecting children was announced this week - a 24-hour child protection information line. Anyone with concerns about a child can now call 0800 022 3222. The service will be supported by Pounds 200,000 from the Scottish Execu-tive over three years.

A new BBC Radio Scotland series will allow six teachers from different parts to tell of their life in the classroom. Starting on Sunday, Teachers'

Tales will range from an American teacher working in Edinburgh to a "flying teacher" in the Orkney islands.

The Scottish Conservatives have returned to old territory and thrown their weight behind the restoration of school boards, which the executive has scrapped in favour of parent councils and forums.

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