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Received and understood

IT IS not often schools get the chance to celebrate success. Or, to be more accurate, it is not often the successes are identified and then proclaimed loudly enough. So is it coincidence that, over two successive weeks, we report what may be a breakthrough in children's writing? On this page, Anne Fine of Madam Doubtfire fame uses the not entirely unscientific evidence of her postbag to assert that pupils are now showing both rigour and creativity in their writing. And, in last week's issue, we reported that East Dunbartonshire's pioneering approach to writing in primary schools seems to be going from strength to strength.

Clerly there is now evidence that, far from "back to basics" confining pupils to arid drilling techniques, "getting the basics right" appears to be acting as a launch pad for a flowering of creativity and confidence. Whatever the gloomy prognostications of international studies, national assessments of achievement and HMI reports, some schools are showing that it is possible to turn the corner in imaginative ways.

The message that reading and writing skills are the gateway to a rounded not a narrow education - reinforced by the renewed concern about adult illiteracy - is, perhaps slowly, being received and understood.

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