“Top marks for primary pupils who speak nothing but French”


This article describes the recent report on the successful five year project at Walker Street Primary School in Aberdeen. 

As a former teacher of German and French now supporting EAL pupils I am convinced that learning through complete or partial immersion might halt the decline in the uptake of modern languages in our schools. 

It is interesting also the effect on pupils’ self esteem and competence in English which also resulted from acquiring a new language in the natural way.

Janet Storey

A Polish parent helping at Musselburgh Burgh Primary School


This is a reprint of an article from 2008.  This  example of best practice should be happening more often in our schools as there are so many benefits for pupils, schools and parents.

Story time at The Burgh











Last year when her daughter was in Primary 5 the EAL teacher helped to arrange for a Polish mum to support our Art Specialist on a weekly basis. This was a great help to both the teacher and the pupils and the mum really enjoyed the experience. She is a qualified teacher and although she speaks very little English was able to communicate with the children through their artwork.

This year the same lady asked if she could help out again. She is now attending college so does not have as much time as previously.

I asked if she could come into my Primary 1 class to read stories in Polish once a fortnight. I have a Polish pupil in my class who often finds it difficult to focus during story time. We purchased bilingual story books and the mum read the Polish version and I was able to echo in English. When she heard the story in Polish, my P1 pupil was really excited and the rest of the class were fascinated. Now that they are a regular event the other children also enjoy these sessions and are beginning to predict what I am going to say based on what has been read and they are able to pick out some Polish words if they are repeated a lot within the story.

The bilingual books also go home with my pupil and she reads them with her parents who can both speak English.

We are working on Personal Account writing at the moment and I asked the pupils to draw a day out they had enjoyed. I asked the P6 Polish pupil to pop down to explain this task to her mum and my pupil. The mum then sat and supported her with her drawing and discussed the details of her picture encouraging her to add more detail when appropriate.

This collaboration has been of mutual benefit to everyone involved.

Alison Elgin

Publication: Books For All: Accessible Curriculum Materials For Pupils with Additional Support Needs

The Scottish Executive has published a report relating to accessible curriculum materials for pupils with additional support needs
The Books for All project investigated the need for and availability of learning resources in accessible forms for pupils in Scotland who have print disabilities
The project found that availability of books and other resources in Braille, Large Print and audio formats, for the relatively small number of blind and partially-sighted pupils, while not complete, was good, in comparison to the availability of accessible books for the much larger number of pupils with physical disabilities, specific learning difficulties, learning difficulties, or hearing impairment. These pupils may require, for example, adapted printed materials, digital versions that can be accessed by switch or read out by a computer, audio recordings, or signed multimedia resources.

Dyslexia at Transition

This website is being developed as a result of the Dyslexia at Transition DVD
which was launched by Sir Jackie Stewart on May 30th 2007 in Edinburgh.
Every school in Scotland will receive a copy of the DVD and a series of Road shows
is currently being arranged for session 07/08 to introduce authorities to the DVD
and offer teachers some ‘hands on’ experience of the disc and its potential.

Dyslexia and ICT Support Pack for Primary Schools

This pack has been designed to give advice and to assist Support for Learning staff in primary schools
in dealing with the issue of Dyslexia and the use of ICT.
Included in the pack are some tools available to use with the dyslexic learner and
help on how to use applications, which are already installed on computers within schools. 
The packs will be distributed to primary schools during September.

In service Day

I spent an interesting morning with the Outreach Teachers from the Inclusion and Equality Department, at Prestonpans Education Centre. The morning’s schedule was busy. First up was a session on the use of Digital images using iPhoto, with discussion on how the use of Digital Images could enhance the work with pupils who have Additional Support Needs.

The next slot was about Video Interactive Guidance, which was delivered by Penny and Hilery who have been taking part in this project. They explained that a short video is taken of a pupil interacting with a teacher. The footage is then played back to the teacher by her ‘mentor’ to inform practice. The ‘feedback session’ is also filmed so that the ‘mentor’ can receive feedback on her approach.

An interesting discussion took place about several blog posts within Exc-el, John Lewis was mentioned several times, and, also the blog ‘Support For All’ raised some interesting issues for discussion.

A walk round the new ‘build of software applications’ that we have on our ibooks and PCs in primary schools took place with particular emphasis on applications which could enhance the learning of those who have additional support needs.

We had an update on GLOW within East Lothian from two of our Mentors who are part of the Outreach Team, before the final session on Policy Documents.

All in all a very informative and interesting morning


Jars Recently, two SQA representatives visited Preston Lodge to clarify Alternative Assessment Arrangements. They discussed possible ‘adjustments or changes to published assessment arrangements for exams for candidates identified as having disabilities or additional support needs’.

The overarching message relating to a Scottish audience is that there is no need for a label – of dyslexia for example – to be assigned to an individual student in order for her or him to be entitled to alternative arrangements during their exams. Continue reading