School Management and local authority perspectives
"What you need to make this work are good, professional, dedicated teachers whose first interest is not in getting kids ready to sit level A, but in their welfare and progress. It's back to children coming first.
"Now we need to start thinking about next year's intake and how to make this project sustainable. I believe we can do it if we are creative. I know it is worth doing."Elizabeth Waugh depute headteacher Loanhead Primary "Our focus is very much on an informal approach, on getting to know each other.
"Play-based activities build a culture of success and self-esteem. As children seem ready for learning, based on the teachers'
judgment, more formal work is introduced.
"We are deferring formal learning for some kids, but at this point they are not in any way behind."Marion McLean headteacher Patna Primary "Kids are coming to P1 with different nursery experiences and at different stages of development and we were having to identify them as more or less able far too early. This project started off with us talking about closing the gap but, in a way, that push we were giving the kids early on was causing the gap."Hilary MacGillivray early intervention co-ordinator in East Ayrshire "Peer and self-assessment, with children supporting each other, is a key part of what we have been doing. Mixed ability groups have been a huge benefit.
"Next year the nursery nurses from the early intervention team will move on to other schools, but because we've been working with whole classes and teachers, rather than small groups of kids who need most help, I believe we have achieved something that is both valuable and sustainable."