Pilots break sector barrier

David Henderson

Professional barriers between primary and secondary sectors are set to tumble through the drive to improve basic skills for low achievers between P6 and S2.

Peter Peacock, Education Minister, on Tuesday gave his formal support to the erosion of strict demarcation lines between primary and secondary teachers when he announced five pilot transition projects during a visit to Eastbank Academy in Glasgow.

The secondary, as The TES Scotland revealed last September, has pioneered intensive work with around 80 pupils in S1 and S2 . Two primary teachers are employed to work with small groups on core activities in reading, writing and numeracy.

Some of the most vulnerable pupils with low self-esteem are said to have made significant progress under the Enable project. Now the school will become one of the five pilots.

Mr Peacock placed the removal of professional barriers between the sectors in the context of the radical modernisation of the secondary school that he and the First Minister trumpeted last week in the Scottish Parliament.

He said this week: "Major reforms are on the way - reforms that will be characterised by greater flexibility and choice and more innovative, creative approaches to learning. The schools involved in these pilot projects are demonstrating exactly that kind of creativity and innovation.

"They are breaking down old and increasingly artificial barriers which existed between primary and secondary teaching for the benefit of their pupils. This is another achievement for devolution in Scotland."

Two pilots will be in North Lanarkshire where up to 20 primary teachers are being offered a new qualification allowing them to work with pupils from S6-S2. Six secondary teachers have been appointed literacy and numeracy coaches to P7 pupils.

Two other schemes are in East Ayrshire. One employs two secondary English teachers and two maths teachers to offer literacy and numeracy lessons to P7 pupils and the other uses a team of primary teachers to cover the basics in S1 and S2 with classes of 20.

Steven Purcell, education convener in Glasgow, described the project at Eastbank as "extremely encouraging" and said that other schools were keen to emulate its success. The city's learning communities initiative encourages close work between primaries and their link secondary.

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David Henderson

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