Scottish Government pledges 650 places for eco jobs training

By Shaun Milne

SCOTLAND’S eco industry received a boost of 650 new training places today (tues).

Education Secretary Michael Russell pledged the new support for employers working to support a low carbon economy.

The training, to be delivered through Skills Development Scotland, is being funded with the support of the European Social Fund.

The Scottish Government said the announcement would help firms reskill or upskill employees in low carbon technologies, helping with the economic benefits of greener business. Continue reading

Students could be fast-tracked into second year of univeristy

By Christine Lavelle

STUDENTS in Scotland could be fast-tracked into second year, if they opt to take the new Scottish Baccalaureate qualification.

It is already backed by Mike Russell, education minister, and the procedure could mean big changes for university education in this country.

The University of Edinburgh is the first to announce it will accept the Scottish Baccalaureate as a formal entrance requirement, and students who take the science baccalaureate will be able to skip first year.

Made up of a group of highers, advanced highers and an interdisciplinary project, the Scottish Baccalaureate was an election manifesto pledge made by the SNP government to encourage young people to take sciences and languages to a more advanced level. Continue reading

Primary one class sizes set to be reduced to 25

By Amanda MacMillan

EDUCATION Secretary Mike Russell confirmed yesterday (Tue) that regulations to legally limit primary one class sizes at 25 will be laid in Parliament tomorrow.

In 2007 the SNP pledged to cut class sizes to 18 in primaries one to three – but the current legal limit is still 30.

This has created problems for local authorities as they have faced legal challenges for turning down placing requests when trying to limit class sizes.
During a visit to Letham Primary in Livingston, where all primary one to three pupils are in classes of 18 or fewer, Mr Russell said that he still has this target. Continue reading

Teacher numbers could continue to fall

By Paul Thornton

EDUCATION Secretary Michael Russell MSP has admitted that the “freefall” of teacher numbers in Scotland will not be reversed and could get worse.

After seeing the number of teachers plummet by more than 2,000 in the last two years, Mr Russell admitted: “There has been a reduction that I don’t see us making up again, to be honest.

The admission is the latest in a series of blows to the SNP’s education policies which were a lynchpin of their election campaign and was branded “astonishing” by Labour.

They say the Scottish Government have now scaled back on almost all of their manifesto pledges including promises on class sizes for younger children.

Only seven per cent of P1 to P3 classes now have a class size of 18 or less despite this being an across the board promise.

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Senior SNP Minister accuses opposition parties of “guddling around on the edges”

By Oliver Farrimond

EDUCATION Minister Mike Russell has slammed opposition parties’ attempts to uncover the truth behind the Scottish Government’s preparations for Scotland’s deep freeze.

Reacting to the news that the Scottish Conservatives had submitted several Freedom of Information requests, Mr Russell described them as “guddling around on the edges”.

He made the remarks while visiting Humbie Primary School in East Lothian yesterday, which has just re-opened following days of heavy snow.

He said: “I am absolutely not concerned about what the opposition parties’ freedom of information requests might uncover.

“I know that myself, my colleagues in government, every civil servant and right across the local authorities, everybody’s been working very hard indeed. Continue reading

Gaelic Facebook “waste of money”

By Rory Reynolds

A GOVERNMENT-backed ‘Gaelic Facebook’ that received £250,000 in taxpayers cash has attracted just 1,500 members., a social networking site launched by culture minister Linda Fabiani last year, has cost the public purse a staggering £156 per member.

The site, which also allows users to “keep up to-date with all Gaelic goings on with news and reviews” has been branded a waste of public money after just 1,574 users signed up, despite almost 60,000 people in Scotland speaking the ancient tongue.

And just 1,500 watched the 12 films on its video website, MyGaelicTube.

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Call for probe into school sex scandals

By Paul Thornton

MINISTERS are being urged to investigate a top fee paying school after a THIRD sex scandal hit the academy in a year.

A male teacher at Edinburgh’s St Mary’s Music School was this week struck-off following his conviction over a nine-month sexual relationship with a 15-year-old boy.

The General Teaching Council Scotland have also recommended that Scottish Ministers ban Ashley Turnell, 36, from working with children.

Turnell was convicted at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last December and given probation, community service as well as being slapped on the sex offenders register.

Now a Labour peer has written to Education Minister Mike Russell demanding an enquiry after it was revealed this was the third sexual conviction of a staff member or adult connected with the school in the past 14 months.

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