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Primary Education News
News Literacy in Scotland, dyslexia training gap and more: education research in brief
Our weekly round up of the latest research papers, methods and ideas related to teaching and learning
Literacy levels in Scotland
A survey of literacy levels in Scotland has found most pupils performing well in reading and have an enjoyment of reading from a young age; but their classmates from deprived areas didn't perform so well, especially in writing.
The Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy, published this week, assessed 10,100 pupils from primary four (P4), primary seven( P7) and the second year of secondary school (S2) in May last year. It looked at pupils' performance in reading, writing, listening and talking. The survey found the majority of pupils in all stages were performing well or very well at the relevant Curriculum for Excellence level in reading; 83% in P4, 90% in P7 and 84% in S2.
The survey showed that pupils from more deprived backgrounds did not perform as well as less deprived pupils in all stages for both reading and writing and the gap was largest in writing. Children living in the areas of the least deprivation and who are performing well or very well were 17% higher than those living in the most deprived areas at P4; 14% at P7 and 16% at S2.
Global skills vacuum
Teachers are reporting an emerging gap between the skills and knowledge needed for students to operate in a global economy and what they currently learn at school.
The research, commissioned by the education charity Think Global, found that 64% of teachers asked felt that pupils' horizons were not broad enough and 85% of teachers believe schools need to prepare students for a rapidly changing, globalised world but only 16% actually did this. This shows a sharp drop from a similar poll by the charity in 2009 when 58% said that the school system was preparing students well to take part in a global economy and be able to compete for high value jobs.
The report, called Bridging the Global Skills Gap, also reveals a drop in teacher confidence to teach about big questions like immigration, climate change and global interdependence. In a poll conducted by Think Global in 2009, nine out of 10 teachers felt confident that their teaching helped pupils to understand that we live in an interdependent world; in the most recent poll only a little over half the same.
Dyslexia training for teachers lacking
New research suggests that three in four teachers step into the classroom as NQTs without the skills needed to help children with dyslexia. And almost half of teachers received no training to identify or help children with dyslexia during their teaching training.
A new report, called The Fish in the Tree, from the Driver Youth Trust, surveyed 124 teachers and also 54 initial teacher training providers and found that seven out of 10 providers spent less than a day training students on how to support children with dyslexia. The result was that 74% did not feel satisfied that their initial training provided them with the skills they needed to identify and teach children with dyslexia.
The trust is now calling for the government to support an amendment to the children and families' bill going through parliament to include a mandatory module on SEN, including dyslexia, in all ITT courses.
Children need chance to manage risks
Pre-school children need more scope to play outdoors and manage their own risks, says a team of academics from Nottingham Trent University.
The team, led by senior lecturer Annie Woods, said they worked with three and four year-olds from a local pre-school in Nottingham in the woodland at the university's Brackenhurst site and had observed the children as they played. She said: "We controlled the environment so they were always safe, but deciding for themselves through direct experience is a better way to learn, rather than simply being told that this activity or that activity is dangerous."
The study was inspired by a visit to forest schools in Denmark by members of the university's education team. Forest schools were first developed in Scandinavia after research indicated that children allowed to play outdoors played for longer, were less irritable and had fewer days off sick than children confined to urban areas.