University of Stirling

Development and External Affairs

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News Archive

February 2008

New four-year degree for aspiring primary teachers

A Veiled Threat to Children's Rights?

Criminals Face Up to Trial


New four-year degree for aspiring Primary teachers

Date released: Tuesday 19 February

Scotland’s top University for education is to introduce a new approach to primary teaching this September that will allow aspiring school teachers to complete their studies one year ahead of the normal Honours degree and PGDE route into teaching – which takes up to five years.

The University of Stirling’s four-year concurrent degree, run by The Stirling Institute of Education, will enable students to combine academic study in modern languages or environmental sciences with a professional qualification in primary education.

Principal & Vice-Chancellor, Professor Christine Hallett said: “This is a major initiative for the University of Stirling. It is the first time we have offered primary education and means that we are now providing teaching qualifications from early years through to further education. The new programme recognises and builds on the strength of The Stirling Institute of Education as a leading provider of initial teacher education in Scotland – recently voted first in Scotland and third in the UK for undergraduate teacher education in the Guardian University Guide 2008.”

This development draws on the Institute’s long-standing research interests in early years education and follows in the footsteps of the Institute’s successful four-year concurrent programme for the secondary sector, where students study for an Honours degree in their chosen academic subject(s) alongside a professional teaching qualification. Students have praised the course for giving them more time to build up their competence as a teacher and offering a good balance of theory and practice as well as providing high quality tutorial support from University staff and practising teachers.

The new programme will be offered from September 2008 and 50 places are available. For further information log onto: www.ioe.stir.ac.uk/news.php

Lesley Wilkinson
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

 
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Alison Fox

Teaching Fellow

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4

telephone Tel: + 44 (0) 1786 467623
email Email: alison.fox@stir.ac.uk

A Veiled Threat to Children's Rights?

Date Released: Tuesday 19 February

Elaine Sutherland, Professor of Child and Family Law at the University of Stirling, will give her Professorial Inaugural Lecture on Wednesday 20 February.

Under the title A Veiled Threat to Children’s Rights?, Professor Sutherland of the School of Law will address the issue of young people attending state-funded schools who choose a particular mode of dress for religious or cultural reasons. The extent to which their choice is respected by schools has proved controversial in Europe and North America. Professor Sutherland will use this controversy as a means of exploring how well legal systems protect children’s rights.

The free lecture will be held from 5 – 6pm in Lecture Theatre A4 and members of the public are welcome to attend.  To reserve a place, please RSVP to externalrelations@stir.ac.uk or 01786 467055.  

Further details can be seen on the University of Stirling Events page at: www.proffice.stir.ac.uk/events/index.php

Lesley Wilkinson

Media Relations Manager

(01786) 467058

For further information:

 
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Professor Elaine Sutherland

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA

telephone Tel: + 44 (0) 1786 467294
email Email: elaine.sutherland@stir.ac.uk

Criminals Face Up to Trial

Date released: Wednesday 20 February

A pioneering e-fit technique is helping to catch more criminals, according to police who have concluded a six month trial.

Lancashire Constabulary has become the first police force in the UK to successfully trial the groundbreaking EvoFIT facial composition technique, developed at institutions including the University of Stirling in Scotland.

Other police forces could now bring in the new technique.

EvoFIT, widely considered as the third generation E-fit system, is a new facial composite system for victims and witnesses to construct a likeness of a criminal's face. It was first used by Lancashire Constabulary back in August to identify a potential suspect in a rape case of a young girl in Blackpool.

A further 20 EvoFITs have been used by the force since, predominantly for serious sexual assaults. Four cases are currently awaiting trial and a further two have resulted in potential suspects being identified.

Lancashire Constabulary has been piloting the new technology to create an accurate picture of a suspect to crime and catch criminals. The pilot is being funded by Crime Solutions at University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and the University of Stirling.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Webster said: “EvoFIT has been a revelation. Following the six month trial we have been so impressed with the new technology that we are in the process of making it available across all our divisions for more frequent crimes such as car crime.

“So far EvoFIT has been predominantly used to identify serious offenders but we are hoping to start using it for all levels of crime as our success rate has increased up to three hundred percent. Although the new system is still in its pilot stage and continues to be evaluated, we are keen to persevere with the technology. Not only are we catching criminals faster, it is saving us thousands of pounds in terms of resources for investigations by providing that all-important name.”

Professor Peter Hancock, who engineered the new technology at the University of Stirling, where he is Deputy Head of the Department of Psychology, said: “It has taken ten years and dozens of different research experiments for EvoFIT to be developed, with collaboration between three universities – Stirling, Edinburgh and Central Lancashire – and a software company, ABM.”

He explained that the system is based how the human mind processes information. EvoFIT breeds the selected faces together, combining characteristics, and a composite is 'evolved' over time.

“Victims or witnesses are shown sets of whole faces and simply need to indicate which ones look like the person in question. The system also has the ability to change the age, weight and other holistic aspects of a face, further improving the likeness. The process normally takes less time than E-Fit and provides a more accurate result. Sometimes it is even confused for a photograph of a suspect.”

The first trial involving EvoFIT in Lancashire is set to begin in April at Preston Crown Court.

And it could be rolled out nationwide after it was presented to the ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) Burglary Conference held in Cheshire, where police forces share ideas and gain from best practice. EvoFIT created so much interest, it is also being presented at the National Distraction Burglary Conference in April.

Media Relations Manager

(01786) 467058