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Reading and maths go better with a pal

Pupils in 120 primaries and secondaries in Fife are poised to become principal partners in lifting standards of literacy and numeracy.

Teachers, for limited spells, will pass over their role as prime educators to peer tutors in the first authority-wide project to research a strategy shown to be highly effective in raising attainment.

Researchers from Durham and Dundee universities are joining Fife in the project, which aims to prove that pupils learn more and retain knowledge and skills when they teach others.

"Peer learning has been shown to raise attainment and achievement, and deliver accompanying social, communication and motivational gains," Fife officials say. "However, despite a well-established evidence base, peer learning has rarely, if ever, been developed in a systematic way as a policy across a local authority."

The authority will trial various combinations and intensities of peer learning, comparing the impact on pupils, classes and schools. Programmes will focus on reading and maths. Sometimes older pupils will tutor younger children and, at other times, pupils will tutor those of the same age.

Government research funding is underwriting the project, and Fife will have to find around pound;75,000 a year as its contribution.

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