Pupils to start the school day with Nintendo


The Herald reports that primary pupils are to start the school day with a dose of Nintendo gaming to boost their learning ability, it was revealed on Friday. The children will play “brain training” exercises on the DS game console before going into their normal lessons. The scheme is to be used in 16 schools following a successful pilot in Dundee.

Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) the body responsible for the development of the curriculum, is to extend the project around the country next month. Derek Robertson, LTS Development Officer for games-based learning, said: “The initial pilot project that used the Nintendo DS and Dr Kawashima produced fascinating results. “Not only was there a significant improvement in attainment in mental maths but there was also an improvement in concentration levels, behaviour and self regulation in the learning process. “It will be interesting to see how this applies on a larger scale.”

LTS is working with Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education and the University of Dundee to carry out a larger pilot of the scheme, with 16 schools using the game every morning and another 16 acting as the control group.

Labour aims to tackle high rate of illiteracy


 The Herald reports that a new literacy commission is to be established by the Scottish Labour Party to look at ways of tackling the estimated 10,000 pupils who currently leave school unable to read or write properly. Under the plan, a group of experts will be assembled to look at the benefits of synthetic phonics, one-to-one tuition and more vocational courses. In particular, the commission will look at the success of West Dunbartonshire in tackling illiteracy and look at how the techniques used can be rolled out across Scotland.

Dyslexia link to school failures


The BBC reports that many schoolchildren could be failing reading and writing tests because they are unaware they are dyslexic, new government-funded research suggests. A study by Hull University academics of 1,300 children said dyslexia was a major cause of failure.

Over half of those who did not achieve expected levels in SATS tests displayed all the signs of being dyslexic. The research has led to calls for more specially-trained teachers in schools as well as better diagnosis.

The Guardian also runs the story:

2m children have dyslexic-type reading difficulty, study claims http://education.guardian.co.uk/schools/story/0,,2265283,00.html

The Guardian reports that according to a research study schools are not identifying children at risk, says the research, which reveals that 2 million children have dyslexic-type learning difficulties, more than has previously been thought but in line with research in the US. Only 76,000 children have been recorded as having a learning difficulty and dyslexia groups said it showed that too few pupils are getting specialist teaching.

The research, based on screening 1,341 pupils and funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, suggests that 20% are at risk of a learning difficulty including dyslexia. It found that 55% of pupils who are failing Sats are at risk of dyslexia or learning difficulties.

From The Guardian’s article:

Separate research by the National Union of Teachers last year revealed that the majority of state schoolteachers lack confidence to identify and teach dyslexic pupils.

Fewer than one in 14 said they would be “very confident” in identifying a child with dyslexia.

 Comment from the Dyslexia Support Service in East Lothian: I’d be curious to hear whether class teaching colleagues in our authority identify with this research from England. And if so, what can we do about it?