Settling Back to School after Illness

GIRLSometimes pupils have to be absent from school for extensive periods to have hospital treatment. This can be disruptive to the class but even more so for the individual pupil.

One example was a P.2 pupil who  was diagnosed with Leukaemia while attending nursery class.

As the chemotherapy treatment goes on for 2 years, with some hospital stays , the family learns to cope with the various effects of drugs which can alter behaviour, appetite and brings  nausea, etc . She had not had the opportunity to settle well into P.1 so P.2 was daunting for her.

Unfortunately a well meaning volunteer from a support organisation had decided to teach her to read by the ‘Look and Say’ method and not phonics so  she was feeling very confused by sounds and letters.

A swift phone call to the volunteer and a visit to meet her teachers began to clear the path for confidence to grow.

A conscientious probationary teacher sent me weekly emails detailing what the class was doing in school. The pupil was able to complete the same work at home whether it be making a cardboard cereal packet model of her house which could be put on the wall with all the others, or being on the same reading book as her group.


One happy child ready to return to school full-time with no further anxieties.

Mental Health and Young People: All In The Mind?

Children studyingWe all meet  some brilliantly inspiring characters in East Lothian Schools  and I don’t just mean teachers.

Some of the young people we teach are struggling to come to terms with illness and become anxious about falling behind in school work.

Occasionally they look well  but their illnesses are of a psychological nature and they need all the help we can give to ensure that they are well supported to achieve and reach their potential. Continue reading

Dawn of the digital natives
The Guardian reports that a US study by the National Endowment for the Arts study, called
To Read Or Not To Read, says reading is on the decline but says Steven Johnson it completely fails to consider the amount that we do every day on our computers.

The NEA makes a convincing case that both kids and adults are reading fewer books. “Non-required” reading – ie, picking up a book for the fun of it – is down 7% since 1992 for all adults, and 12% for 18-24 year olds.

Johnson challenges the basis of the study. He says, ‘I challenge the NEA to track the economic status of obsessive novel readers and obsessive computer programmers over the next 10 years. Which group will have more professional success in this climate? Which group is more likely to found the next Google or Facebook? Which group is more likely to go from college into a job paying $80,000 (£40,600)?…’

 I’m not sure that economic success is necessarily a good measure of effective literacy skills, although I do agree with Johnson that reading from a screen is just as much about literacy as consuming novels.