A week in education

As 5-14 test figures were seized upon again in the weekend's press as further proof of educational collapse, a survey of parents throughout Scotland, England and Wales has revealed that exam results feature as their 12th priority when it comes to choosing a secondary school. The poll of 113,000 families, carried out for the Association of School and College Lecturers, found that the most important as-pects of a school were teaching quality, discipline, child's happiness, control of bullying and caring teachers. The survey found that 78 per cent of parents rated their child's school as good or very good.

Further evidence of improved performance at the 5-14 stages has come this week from Edin-burgh where, over the first eight years of the Scottish Parliament, the number of primary pupils who have attained or exceeded their levels in reading has gone up by 10 per cent to 83 per cent, in writing by 12 per cent to 76 per cent and in maths by eight per cent to 83 per cent. The equivalent figures for level E in S2 over the same period are 67 per cent in reading (a rise of 24 per cent), 53 per cent in writing (up by 15 per cent) and 57 per cent in maths (a 13 per cent increase).

A contrasting picture of the performance of 14 year olds emerged in figures just released under freedom of information, which indicated that the number of S2 youngsters reaching level E in the three basic subjects fell in more than half of education authorities last year. But only in six of the 30 authorities that provided data did standards fall in two or more subjects.

The Scottish Executive has announced that the 21 councils with Gaelic on the school time-table will share cash totalling nearly pound;5 million in the coming year, after a further cash injection of pound;485,000 for Gaelic education.

Staff at Learning and Teaching Scotland set a sustainable example last week by planting 140 trees to offset their carbon footprint. The number of trees to be planted was calculated by recording the business mileage and energy used in its Glasgow and Dundee offices.

The annual excellence awards, promoted by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, saw only one authority lauded solely for its education work this year: Edinburgh Council picked up the Scottish Executive Award for Delivering Excellence for a reading project with looked-after children.

The report in last week's issue on the loss of 35 lecturers' jobs at James Watt College should have referred to 35 management and support staff jobs.

The college says no lecturers' jobs will be shed.

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