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Schools should keep one ear on what children want

Schools and adults must listen to children if barriers to learning are to be overcome.

Margaret Doran, head of schools in Stirling, instanced one secondary which gave pupils information on the performance of departments in exams, to help them choose subjects and teachers. "That's genuinely involving kids in decision-making," Ms Doran said.

Listening to children was particularly important in probing beneath the surface of bad behaviour, she said. Two primary boys in her area were bullying pupils until the learning support teacher talked to them at length and discovered that they were dyslexic.

Frustrated in class, they took it out on others in the playground to boost their self-esteem.

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