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How primary colours can brighten secondary learning

When pupils entering secondary education are unable to read, how can you expect them to study Shakespeare? One school grappling with this problem is trying out an innovative solution: hiring a primary teacher to give young people a grounding in the basics of literacy and numeracy. Emma Seith investigates how the approach is working in practice, and how it could help to close Scotland’s stubborn attainment gap

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Teacher Nicky Murphy and her pupils are delving into the Black Death – the children like the “gore”. Such vivid takes on eclectic topics are nothing new for Murphy. As a primary teacher for more than 20 years, covering subjects from RE to maths and everything in between, her job required her to be a master of all trades.

The big difference now is that this primary teacher is out of her usual habitat: Murphy works full-time in a secondary school.

It was Shelley McLaren – at the time, Craigroyston Community High’s curriculum leader for English and now acting head – who “begged” for a primary ...

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