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Boost for Dundee readers

Dundee has become the latest authority to tackle low standards of reading by putting Pounds 75,000 into an early intervention strategy. The city's Labour-run education committee on Tuesday approved a pilot project in six primaries in disadvantaged communities. Schools have yet to be named.

The initiative will emulate the Pilton project in Edinburgh where nursery nurses worked with class teachers in primary 1 to primary 3 and the majority of seven and eight-year-olds made the transition from non-readers to readers.

The Dundee scheme will employ six nursery nurses to support class teachers in primary 1 and develop home-school links. Teachers will be invited to join staff development programmes on reading developments, creating a positive ethos and increasing pupil self-esteem.

John Kemp, Dundee's education convener, said: "We have made it clear that the reason we are taking hard decisions like closing schools is to protect the standard of education and to invest in education. We think this project is so valuable that we are prepared to take hard decisions in order to fund it. "

Mr Kemp added: "There has been no research but we know from speaking to schools that there are areas of Dundee that have exactly the same problems as Edinburgh. If it works in Edinburgh, we are confident it will work in Dundee. "

Secondary schools had reported that 13-year-olds and 14-year-olds who left primary with reading levels well below those expected could not cope with the secondary curriculum.

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