Category Archives: Literacy

Reading for pleasure – What difference does it make?

literacy logoThis is one of a series of thought pieces from the Literacy and English team at Education Scotland.  In this one, Helen Fairlie discusses some well-known research about reading for pleasure from the National Literacy Trust.

The lead up to Book Week Scotland seems like a good time to consider how we motivate learners to read independently for their own enjoyment.  An equally important question for me, though, is why does the amount that we read for enjoyment make such a big difference to our learning?literacy trust reading for pleasure 2006

This paper was published by the National Literacy Trust in 2006, however the research that it refers to still tells us a lot about the difference that reading for pleasure makes to our progress in literacy, as well as revealing a lot about how motivation to read works.

Get involved and join the conversation!

Please read the research, consider your own practice and what happens in your establishment.

Some questions to consider…

We will be hosting the conversation on our Literacy community 23rd Nov – 3rd Dec.  Join us here .

Find out how to get or update your Glow membership – How do I get a Glow login?


To find out more about Book Week Scotland (23rd to 29th November, 2015) go to the Scottish Book Trust website.


Book Week Scotland


Bookbug – it’s time for you to have your say!

Scottish Book Trust would like to know what professionals think about the Bookbug programme. To do this, our friends at Scottish Book Trust have designed an online survey for you to complete.


The Bookbug programme is currently being evaluated by researchers from the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, based at the University of Edinburgh. The evaluation is investigating what difference Bookbug makes to parents, children and early years professionals. As part of this evaluation Scottish Boko Trust has developed an online survey for professionals whose work supports the delivery of Bookbug bags or Bookbug sessions.

Bookbug Session

The survey will provide for Scottish Book Trust an overview of professionals’ views and experiences of the Bookbug Programme. In addition, findings from the survey will be used to help identify areas for further exploration in four case study areas for evaluation in 2016.

The survey will take between 20-25 minutes to complete, depending on the level of detail that you provide. Scottish Book Trust is really keen to hear your views, so just give as much detail and information as you can in the time you have available.

To thank you for your participation, Scottish Book Trust is giving one lucky participant chosen at random a bundle of books worth £100 .

Bookbug professionals 2

It is really important that we all do our bit to ensure that programmes such as Bookbug are developed to meet the needs of the children, families and staff across Scotland. Please take some time to complete the survey and make sure you send the this link on to colleagues in your organisation and/or locality who have contact with Bookbug.

The closing date for the survey is Friday 27th November 2015.

Don’t miss out!

Regional Events to discuss the draft National Improvement Framework

NIFThe First Minister on 1 September 2015 launched a draft National Improvement Framework for Scottish Education. The Framework will bring together, in a more consistent way, the key information that is needed to support improvement for children. It builds on the strong foundations of Curriculum for Excellence and aims to ensure that parents, teachers, schools, and local authorities, as well as nationally, we have the access to the right type of information that tells them about the progress of children.

The Framework sets out 6 areas where activity and support is planned:

• School improvement
• School leadership
• Teacher professionalism
• Assessment of children’s progress
• Parental involvement
• Performance information.

Join us at one of our regional events for teachers, parents and local authorities to hear more about the six areas that will be included in the Framework. You will have the opportunity to discuss and exchange views on what this means for you and for children. This is an opportunity to share your thoughts on the draft Framework as we work together to develop it further.

The eight regional events will take place at locations across Scotland with the first event taking place on 29 September 2015 at the University of Edinbugh. The other events are planned for Glasgow, Inverness and Aberdeen.

Please click here to register your place at one of the events.


P1011795Staff at Pirie Park Primary School, Glasgow are being praised for their sector leading approach to supporting children with additional needs and their approach to responsive learning and teaching.

Practitioners at Pirie Park have developed a broad range of skills and capabilities similar to those of learning support specialists. This development of staff has been recognised as innovative practice by Education Scotland in supporting learners within the school.

Staff use their knowledge of the children and additional support needs (ASN) profiles to help identify learning issues and provide tailored support to children with ASN. This combined with responsive planning and active learning, where tasks, activities and resources interest and motivate children, has led to an exemplary, high quality learning and support environment for learners.

To celebrate their achievements, Pirie Park received a visit from Alan Armstrong, Strategic Director for School Years at Education Scotland. He said:

“It’s fundamental that children and young people have the right support in place to be able to reach their full potential. I am delighted to have met such dedicated and hardworking staff, who are able to provide such tailored and responsive teaching to support children with additional support needs.

“By adopting this approach, staff are able  to help all children achieve in many ways. Responsive learning also plays a big part in developing learners’ skills. It enables the children to recognise the relevance and importance of the skills they’re learning now, and how these will help them in their lives beyond school.  I am very pleased to see this in practice.”

Jane Arthur, Pirie Park Primary Headteacher said: “Last year our school community was delighted to receive such an excellent and positive inspection report that endorsed our work on learning and teaching practices.

“We are committed to making sure that every child in Pirie Park is included, feels valued and receives the targeted support for their individual needs. Our aim is for our children to be happy, confident individuals who will be the best they can be.”

A key feature of the schools highly effective learning and teaching is their investment in practitioners as the core resource. Through classroom practice and professional learning, they have developed skills which mean they can meet the needs of a wide range of children in the classroom.

Following their inspection in June last year, Pirie Park achieved an excellent evaluation for meeting learning needs, and very good evaluations for improvements in performance, learner’s experiences, the curriculum and improvement through self-evaluation. A copy of the Pirie Park Primary School inspection report is available here.

Solar Roadways


NLSC logo engage





A crowd funding web site recently raised more than two million US dollars to fund solar roadways. These roads, claim the developers, will remain snow-free, and, at the click of a switch, can be transformed into car parks or even sports pitches. In this activity students consider whether solar roadways are worth funding. They critique claims using reasoning and evidence, and apply what they know about generating electricity in solar cells, to make a decision.

Curriculum links include energy transfers, renewable energy sources, wave motion: waves transferring energy

Young Reporters Scotland

Keep Scotland Beautiful (KSB) have launched a nationalyreCircleImageWeb journalism programme for young people. Young Reporters Scotland (YRS) is a sustainable development initiative which offers young people the opportunity to build their skills and experience in journalism and be part of an international group producing creative solutions to issues within their communities.

Schools and community groups running relevant clubs and activities are invited to enter the 2015 national competition by submitting entries which investigate an environmental problem or sustainability issue. A range of suggested themes are designed to support entrants to identify topics. Creativity is encouraged so entries can be in a range of different media; articles, blogs, videos, animations and photographs are all eligible.

Find out more, register to take part and access support materials at or email enquiries to

Bank of Scotland £5 design challenge



Register today for the Bank of Scotland £5 design challenge, a unique art and design competition for budding designers aged 4-14.

The Bank of Scotland £5 design challenge celebrates Bank of Scotland’s partnership with BBC Children in Need. The challenge asks pupils to design a banknote that depicts “What BBC Children in Need means to you”. 

The first prize winner will see their design produced as a limited edition £5 Bank of Scotland banknote. 

Exclusive access to resources

Schools that register will get exclusive access to downloadable classroom resources including; Teacher Notes, an introductory PowerPoint taking you through how to run the challenge, a classroom poster and competition entry leaflet. The resources have been developed to make the delivery of this competition fun and simple in the lead up to the end of term.

The first 200 schools to register will receive a printed pack including 130 competition leaflets and a poster for your school.

Benefits include

  • Curriculum links to Art and Design, Health and Wellbeing and Literacy
  • Easy to use and adaptable resources that can be used in class for a quick fun activity or set as a homework task.

In addition to seeing their design produced as a limited edition £5 Bank of Scotland banknote the winner will also receive:

  • visit to De La Rue, Basingstoke, for the winning pupil (with a parent or guardian) to meet the banknote designer and learn how banknotes are prepared for production
  • a framed digital print of the banknote for the winning pupil
  • a framed digital print banknote for their school
  • a visit from Pudsey Bear for your school

Two lucky age group category winners will receive great prizes too.

Don’t miss out, register now to give your pupils the chance to win a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a real banknote featuring their very own design


Tel:020 7198 8374


Weather warnings and lesson resources!

Go to for topical, relevant learning! Has anyone seen the weather warnings and flood warnings that have been issued?

Why does it always rain on me (100 x 100)

Education Scotland’s go-to website for lesson ideas on severe weather and flooding.

Go to for ideas on taking climate change issues further with your class.



Informed Scotland – Special Edition – Technologies at work

IS Tech at Work Special cover May 15Every aspect of the curriculum has a part to play in helping children and young people understand the world of work, the parts which they might play, and the contributions they might make to business, employment and the economy in their careers beyond school. Within that overall framework it is possible to see a unique role for the technologies, and the particular logic and clarity of a special relationship which the technologies can share with creative, productive working life in the 21st century.

Over a number of years, and through many different programmes and initiatives, national and local governments have recognised the importance of the technologies in supporting young people’s expanding awareness of careers and working life. For example, the Technical and Vocational Education Initiative (TVEI) invested £1bn in schools across the UK over a span of 10 years or so; and more recently the Scottish Government’s Determined to Succeed programme focused a further £100m on developing young people’s readiness for work, much of it supporting technological skills and knowledge.

Building Society: Young people’s experiences and outcomes in the technologies was launched on 9 March 2015.  It’s vision for leanign in, through and about the technologies, makes clear the improtance of cultivating strong links and associations with the progress being achieved in Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce, in the wake of the Wood Commision report an dthe Scottish Government’s response.

Technologies at Work highlights ideas, issues, projects and resources from across the learning and skills landscape.  It aims to help business and schools identify and make the most of the common objectives and synergies of the technologies and young workforce initiatives.  It makes connections between subject areas, between education and business sectors, and between the economy and learning.

Education Scotland, who commissioned this Informed Scotland Special, encourages partners on business and across education establishments to use the resource, recognising the important bridge th technologies provides between the communities of school and work.

Find the full version here






Bookbug Week’s Bedtime Bonanza Begins!

Bookbug Week: 18 – 24 May 2015


As Bookbug Week 2015 begins, a recent YouGov poll has found that 72% of Scottish parents surveyed had introduced their child to books within the first 12 months of their lives.

The online poll, conducted in April 2015, asked 659 parents from a cross-section of Scotland when they had first introduced books to their child. 29% of parents said they started reading to their children between birth and 3 months old, 23% said they had started reading to their child between 4-6 months, 11% said 7-9 months and 9% said 10-12 months.

Marc Lambert, Director of Scottish Book Trust, said:
“Sharing a book with your child on a regular basis, from as early an age as possible, is one of the simplest and most effective things you can do to make a real difference to their future. You might feel silly reading to a tiny newborn, or even to your bump, but your baby will listen closely to the rhythm of your voice and the speech patterns, laying strong foundations for later language development. It’s never too late to get started though – at any age your child will soon realise that books equal cuddles, helping to inspire a love of reading which will last a lifetime.

“Bookbug Week is the perfect time to celebrate the joy that books can bring with your little ones – with hundreds of free events across the country we hope as many parents and children as possible will join us for some songs, rhymes and stories.”

Acting Minister for Children and Young People Fiona McLeod added:

“As a former librarian, I know the importance of introducing children to books at the earliest possible age. It helps develop a love of books and improve their literacy skills. I’m delighted that more than 70 per cent of Scottish parents are already reading to their children in the first year and it would be fantastic to see this increase even further. Bookbug Week and other initiatives like our PlayTalkRead campaign are great opportunities to have fun reading and I’d encourage families to get involved in the activities across the country. I’m excited to be attending a world record attempt in Fife this week where hundreds of parents will read to their children at the same time.”

The theme for this year’s Bookbug Week is Bookbug’s Big Bedtime Story. Thousands of young children will take part in over 400 free, bedtime-themed events across Scotland that will feature appearances from some of the UK’s best loved children’s authors and illustrators. Families can find details of events happening in their area by visiting Bookbug Week or asking for more information at their local library.

This year’s Bookbug Week flagship event will take place at Rozelle House and Maclaurin Art Gallery in South Ayrshire on Tuesday 19 May. Hundreds of families with young children will celebrate the Bookbug programme, getting creative with arts and crafts and bedtime stories. Special activities on the day will include a Magic Garden sensory area, a Book Trail and a Snuggle Village.

Elsewhere, author Chae Strathie will deliver a fun-filled Authors Live event that will be streamed to schools, nurseries and homes across the country on Thursday 21 May and a host of fantastic Bookbug prizes will be up for grabs via Bookbug’s Facebook page throughout the week.

The Bookbug programme provides every child in Scotland with four free bags of books, gifting 720,000 books every year. Over 240,000 children in Scotland benefitted last year, with even more set to receive free books in 2015. Bookbug also runs regular free story, song and rhyme events in libraries, shopping centres and other community venues which attracted audiences of over half a million parents and children last year.

Bookbug Week is the perfect chance to find out more about the Bookbug programme, get involved, meet other families and get ideas on how to make sharing books, songs and rhymes with children a fun part of each day. Introducing children to books at an early age has many wonderful benefits, including building up their confidence and social skills, and giving their speech and language development a real boost.