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Teachers welcome inclusion in network of excellence

ANN CLARK, who teaches primary 1 at St Vincent's in Dundee, is one of many infant staff who welcomes the sharper attention to the basics and the extent of staff development.

"The project made me question what I am doing and why I am doing it. I am taking on board the best ideas suggested by READ, building on what I did already.

"I emphasise language and maths in as many areas of the classroom as possible."

Mrs Clark, who takes a class of 30 with the help of a nursery nurse, added: "It's not so much changing but adding on, putting more emphasis on number, reading and print at the very early stages of P1 when they come in."

Ann Creegan, the school's headteacher, acknowledges that in the past pupils were given a settling-in time but today there are closer links with the nursery, better assessment and recording, and recognition that pupils come with relevant experiences.

Mrs Clark said: "A big benefit of the READ team coming in is that teachers have maybe been a bit isolated. Now I am able to talk to other teachers in other schools and share problems. We are not on our own."

Mrs Creegan also believes fresh efforts at parental involvement - not always easy - have been important in raising attainment, although the presence of the nursery nurse has been "the most significant factor".

In-service, extra materials and awareness-sharing with other schools have helped make the difference, she concludes.

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