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7 April 09
27 October 08
19 August 08
The new teachers will be started work in schools across the Highlands on Monday (18 August). Pupils return to school following their summer break on Tuesday. In total, 47 probationers have been allocated to secondary schools and 62 to primary schools.
The number of probationers teachers in primary schools in each area are: Inverness,Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey (22), Ross & Cromarty (17), Lochaber (7), Skye & Lochalsh (3), Caithness (11) and Sutherland (2).
The number of probationers teachers in secondary schools in each area are: Inverness,Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey (21), Ross & Cromarty (6), Lochaber (4) Skye & Lochalsh (2), and Caithness (14).
The 47 Probationers in secondary schools will be working in the following subjects: Art and Design (1), Biology (2), Computing (2), English (9), French (4), Gaelic (1), Geography (4), History (4), Mathematics (4), Music (3), Physical Education (5), Physics (3), Spanish (1); and Technical Education (4).
Councillor Bill Fernie Chairman of the Council’s Education, Culture and Sport Committee said: “We look forward to welcoming the new probationers into our schools throughout the Highlands. They provide a valuable contribution to the education of our children. They bring with them enthusiasm and news ideas into teaching.”
The probationer induction day is the first of four in-service training days throughout the year specifically allocated to probationer teacher induction and training.
18 August 08
In 2007, over 2000 pupils received a “Highland School Meals Welcome Pack” to take home. Results showed that over 25% of pupils used their free meal voucher resulting in over 50% of all Primary 1 pupils taking a regular school lunch. This was a 20% increase in P1 pupils taking schools meals on 2006 figures.
This week around 1800 P1 Pupils will receive a Welcome Pack which includes:
• a free lunch voucher which can be redeemed for a 2 course meal including bread, fresh fruit juice or milk;
• sample menu;
• information about the nutritional content of school meals;
• a sticker incentive card to encourage pupils to continue taking school meals; and
• ‘pick a number finger snapper’, an educational game that promotes healthy fruit and vegetable choices.
Sharon Cameron, Highland Council’s Food Services Co-ordinator said: “School meals in Highland offer young people the opportunity to have a variety of freshly cooked and tasty meals at lunchtime which provide one third of their daily nutritional requirements. Our seasonal menus are healthy and nutritious and use fresh ingredients, sourced locally where possible.
“As part of the Scottish Governments drive to improve the health and social well being of children in Scotland, the Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition) (Scotland) Act is now in place. One of the relevant duties imposed by the Act is that all food and drink provided in schools complies with nutritional requirements, as specified in regulations set by Scottish Ministers. The council comply with these requirements by sourcing ingredients which are lower in fat, salt and sugar and by providing a choice of fresh fruit and vegetables every day. As part of the Councils School Food, Nutrition and Health Policy, guidance is given to parents and carers of children who require special diets.
“Pupils are encouraged to sit down together
with their friends and have an enjoyable lunch time experience. A well fed
child is much more likely to have better concentration, an improved
attention span, and be more alert in class.
Councillor Fernie said: “I would urge parents and carers of all Highland pupils, not just primary ones, to take up school meals and join the 16,000 already enjoying them every day. Improving healthy eating is a key aim of the Council’s administration that we are committed to. Having healthy well-fed children will also help to raise levels of attainment in literacy and numeracy among our pupils.”
Families who receive income support, job seekers allowance, child tax credit or support under part IV of the Immigration and Asylum Act may be entitled to free school meals for their children.
19 May 08
Walk to School week is from Monday 19th to Friday 23rd May 2008. This year's theme will link with Noise Action Week, by exploring the links between noise and walking to school.
Over 74 schools in the Highlands are actively taking part in walk to school week, and Edderton and Bonar Bridge Primaries are running a pedometer competition.
Councillor Bill Fernie, Chairman of The Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Committee said: "The school run has a significant impact on rush-hour traffic. Parents are being encouraged to walk to school with their young children as often as possible during the week and beyond. If the journey is too far to walk, then the message is, drive part way and walk the rest - keep the school gate area clear of traffic."
Traditionally, it is a one-week campaign to raise awareness of the problem. It is co-ordinated nationally by TravelWise and Living Streets, and locally by The Highland Council's Road Safety Unit with TEC Services.
Councillor John Laing, Chairman of The Highland Council's TEC Services committee said: "The Highland Council through its programme for Administration is committed to encouraging increased healthy and environmental options in school travel and thus increasing the number of children walking and cycling to school. Walk to School Week is a key point in our annual road safety calendar. It is vital to promote road safety issues and drive the message home that we are all responsible for the health and safety of our young people whether we are a parent; driver; pedestrian or pupil we must all teach and learn how to encourage walking to and from school safely."
The link to noise explores noise pollution of vehicles on the school run but also addresses the issue of ~good~ and ~bad~ noises for children walking to school. ~Good~ noises could be for example, being alert to the siren of an emergency vehicle approaching; while ~bad~ noises could be from MP3 players and mobile phones which distract people from the other road traffic noise that they should listening to for their own safety.
According to a National Travel Survey by the Department for Transport in 2006, the proportion of primary school children walking has dropped from 61% in 1994 to 52% today. Forty-one percent of primary school children are now being driven to school.
21 April 08
Speaking at teaching union NASUWT’s annual conference in Birmingham, Ed Balls announced that he had asked the ‘cyberbullying’ taskforce, which is Chaired Kevin Brennan MP, to report to him by July on what can be done to promote head teachers’ existing powers and help eradicate the growing phenomenon.
Cyberbullying is abuse that uses mobile phones, social networking sites or other technology to deliver its message. Such incidents include upsetting emails, unwelcome text messages, silent phone calls and the malicious use of websites and internet chat rooms.
A survey conducted last year by Teacher Support Network and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers revealed that 17 per cent of respondents had experienced this type of bullying.
Only eight percent of those questioned said that they knew the school had a code of conduct relating to cyberbullying, with 19 percent of this group saying it was ineffectively enforced.
Patrick Nash, Chief Executive of Teacher Support Network, said: “We’re pleased that the campaign work the teaching unions and Teacher Support Network have done recently has caught the government’s attention.
“We know from helping thousands of teachers through our free support services that this kind of bullying can have a devastating effect on a teacher’s wellbeing and ability to teach, which can cause serious ramifications for the education of his or her pupils. While we can help individuals cope with their circumstances, we need schools, local authorities and national government to tackle the climate that allows such abuse to occur.
“We look forward to the report and hope that it will result in serious action from the DCSF.”
The Council's Education, Culture and Sport Service is holding a conference for Highland's parents titled 'Journey to Participation'. The event takes place on Saturday 12th April at the Drumossie Hotel, Inverness from 10am to 3.30pm.
Topics of discussion on
the day will cover:
Councillor Bill Fernie, Chairman of The Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Committee said: "Parental involvement in the future partnership between Parent Councils, Schools and the Education, Culture and Sport Service is vital to our children's learning. I hope that by bringing parents together from all over the Highlands we will gain a better understanding of what parents want to see in the future for the education and well-being of their children as well as how schools can best serve their areas."
Parent Council members throughout the Highlands have been invited by the Council to attend the conference. The deadline for applications to attend is Monday 31st March, 2008. Anyone who is a Parent Council member that wishes to attend should contact Jackie MacKenzie at The Highland Council on 01463 702074 or email: Jackie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Confirming that the Schools of Ambition scheme is to be supported with £11.5m over the next three years, Ms Hyslop said: "We are committed to improving the education of every single child in Scotland. "Children come to school from a wide variety of backgrounds and they all deserve the best possible education to meet their individual needs and achieve their potential.
"We need to spread excellence across the whole school system. That way, lessons learned from the Schools of Ambition project can be put into practice across all schools so that all schools can be schools of ambition.
"I want to make our position clear. We are continuing to fund the 52 schools currently in the scheme - to the tune of £11.5 million in the current spending review period. This is record funding for the project - an increase of almost £1 million from the previous administration."
Ewan Hunter of the Hunter Foundation said: "Having spoken to Fiona Hyslop, we're reassured the Government's plan to accelerate and expand the best practice from Schools of Ambition right across the system means we and they are getting the best from our respective investments. We look forward to working with the Government to announce the detail of what that best practice is, and how it will be embedded across the system.
"We remain keen to continue to work with the Government to support their wider efforts on education reform. And we're clear we're both working to the same agenda - improving positive, sustained outcomes for all children in Scottish schools."
Ms Hyslop continued: "We are monitoring these schools' progress continuously and drawing out key learning that can be used by other schools in raising ambitions across Scotland. This process will begin at two national conferences being planned for June.
"We want every child to be able to benefit from the best possible education."
Under the Schools of Ambition programme, schools are supported through a three-year transformational programme, each receiving around £300,000 funding and additional support and challenge throughout. The schools are a mix of already high performing schools wanting to reach even higher, those that need to improve after poor inspection reports, and those that recognise they can move their performance up several gears.
Participating schools are encouraged and supported to share emerging learning with their immediate colleagues and are committed to sharing with the wider community.
A series of conferences, seminars and publications will be used to promote the lessons learned.
Schools of Ambition website: www.schoolsofambition.org.uk
3 February 08
Signing up with Breathing Places Schools is a great way to do your bit for biodiversity in your area while getting pupils excited about the plants and animals around them.
Interested teachers can sign up at
Breathing Places is a major BBC Learning campaign to inspire and motivate people to create and care for nature-friendly green spaces where they live.