Magazine article Public Finance

Round-Up

Magazine article Public Finance

Round-Up

Article excerpt

* There to a afreet Ink between the quality of teaching and truancy levels, a report by school inspectorate Ofsted has found. It surveyed 31 secondary schools in 23 local authorities and found that schools with the highest quality of learning had the lowest truancy rates. But the survey also uncovered significant differences in the way schools record unauthorised absences, with some recording late arrivals as simply 'late' if they accept the excuse given. Chief inspector Christine Gilbert said: 'Highquality lessons, strong leadership and management and a curriculum that meets pupils' needs effectively can have a significant impact on attendance.'

* Existing members of the NHS pension scheme will continue to be able to retire at 60, under a final agreement between health unions and NHS Employers signed on September 21. But those joining after March 31,2008 will have to wait until they are 65 to draw their full pension. The minimum age for drawing reduced pension will also be increased from 50 to 55 for new entrants and a 'cost-sharing' agreement between employers and staff will help to ensure its long-term affordability for the NHS. Or Andrew Dearden, chair of the British Medical Association's pension committee, said the agreement best reflected the priorities of its members to retire at 60 and keep a final salary scheme.

* Red tape and bureaucracy is the main reason why economic growth in Scotland lags behind that of the rest of the UK, Sir George Mathewson, chair of the Scottish government's new Council of Economic Advisers, has claimed. Mathewson, the former head of the Royal Bank of Scotland, said the council would concentrate on using the powers the Scottish government already had rather than pushing for more. Niall Stuart, of the Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland, backed Mathewson's view. …

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