Legislate for legibility (22 July)
Handwriting is a secretarial and not a higher order skill; for some children, especially those with dysgraphia, handwriting can be a complete nightmare in which the physical process involved in controlling the pen takes over to the point where it frustrates and stifles creativity in the pupils. With statistics suggesting that one in five people suffers from a form of dysgraphia, surely it is a major improvement for these pupils to be able to type their work rather than handwrite it.
I agree with John Greenlees. Learning to write legibly and confidently requires perseverance and practice, which develops many more skills than motor alone. It does concern me greatly that in the CfE shiny green folder there is barely a mention of handwriting.
Young Scots must rise to languages challenge (17 June)
At the small Highland secondary where I teach, we have persisted with teaching French and German to all S1 and S2 pupils - despite HMIE advice that only one language is advisable in the first instance. Their argument is that the pupils can "pick up" other languages later. Yes, theoretically, but not when their timetables are being filled with other subjects more commonly required in the job market or for entry to college courses. And where is the teaching time for language crash courses for older pupils? If the Government minister means to do something about it, he could start by talking to HMIE about making the teaching of foreign languages a high priority for all trainee primary teachers.
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