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Figures show drop in Scottish pupil literacy rates

BBC – Staff Writer

“The Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy found that less than half of Scotland’s 13 and 14-year-olds are now performing well in writing. P4 and P7 pupils also saw a drop in writing performance. The reading ability of P4, P7 and S2 pupils remains broadly similar to 2014 – but lower than 2012. And there has been no reduction in the big gap between the performance of the country’s wealthiest and most deprived pupils.”(more)

Obesity campaigners call for more salads and fewer puddings in school

BBC – Staff Writer

“School meals should include fewer puddings and more fresh vegetables, according to a report. Obesity Action Scotland (OAS) said improvements to school meals could play an important part in reducing childhood obesity. It wants to highlight the issue ahead of the council elections in two weeks’ time. The Scottish government said a review of school food and drink nutritional standards was under way. OAS is calling on local government election candidates to commit to transform school meals in Scotland “from a feeding culture to an eating culture”. The organisation said it wanted unprocessed or “minimally processed” foods used wherever possible and vegetables, soup and salads prioritised over puddings.”(more)

‘Get children playing outdoors’ to improve academic success and reduce obesity

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“The Active Healthy Kids Scotland Report Card 2016 has found that children’s physical activity levels are continuing to fall well short of recommended levels…The researchers have proposed that strategies to promote physical activity and reduce screen time should place a higher emphasis on playing actively outdoors, something children could potentially do 365 days a year…Professor John Reilly, of Strathclyde’s School of Psychological Sciences and Health, led the study. He said: “The amount of time children spend in front of screens has had an impact on their wellbeing for many years. The popularity of computer games and the emergence of the internet, smartphones, and social media have contributed further to this problem…Play benefits children in helping them to develop socially and emotionally, so promoting active outdoor play would have many benefits in addition to improving physical activity, improving academic attainment, and reducing obesity.””(more)

Most P1 pupils in Scotland learn one foreign language, latest figures show

BBC – Staff Writer

“The majority of pupils in the first year of primary school are learning a foreign language…On a visit to Edinbarnet Primary School in West Dunbartonshire, Minister for Learning, Dr Alasdair Allan, said: “In today’s global, multi-cultural world it is more important than ever that young people have the opportunity to learn languages from an early age, to equip them with skills and competencies for the globalised economy. We want to ensure the enthusiasm for languages starts at an early stage in a child’s education.””(more)

All pupils to learn two foreign languages by high school

Edinburgh News – John-Paul Holden

“Every pupil in the Capital will receive lessons in at least two foreign languages by the time they leave primary school under radical plans aimed at helping them keep pace with peers across Europe…Parent leaders in the city have hailed the development and said it would help prepare youngsters for the modern world. Alex Ramage, parent representative on the city council’s education committee, said: “This is a really important part of trying to ensure that our children are as well placed as possible to work in the world that will be coming forward.”(more)

Can you answer the tricky crocodile maths question, that left students ‘in tears’?

The Telegraph – Josie Gurney-Read

” A report on a Scottish Higher Maths exam that had its pass mark lowered to 34 per cent following concerns that questions were “harder than expected”, has highlighted key questions that contributed to the decision. Jim Reid, who previously set the exam, told BBC Scotland that the paper – sat by 17- and 18-year-olds – was “unfit for purpose” and that the problems had been caused by several very “experienced” members of the team leaving in 2012. He said “alarm bells” should have been ringing that the paper was “far, far in advance” of what was required. One question in particular was highlighted as being challenging, reportedly reducing some pupils to tears. The question required students to calculate the amount of time it would take the crocodile to reach its prey.”(more)