Scotland’s education secretary Angela Constance and health secretary Shona Robison are writing to every primary school in Scotland to encourage them to implement the “Daily Mile” or other forms of daily physical exercise. The Daily Mile, introduced by St Ninian’s Primary School in Stirling, sets aside 15 minutes each day to ensure that children get daily exercise by running or walking one mile (see pages 6-7).
In other health matters, a free event for nursery and primary teachers on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) will be held in Edinburgh on Tuesday 17 November (bit.ly/FASDteachers). FASD is the leading known preventable cause of permanent learning disability worldwide and is caused by mothers’ consumption of alcohol during pregnancy. Affected children can have a wide range of physical, growth and neurobehavioural problems that hold them back in their daily lives, and teachers are often the first professionals to notice them. The event’s keynote speaker, Dr Ana Hanlon-Dearman, is a developmental paediatrician from Canada.
On a lighter note, a new competition, Dare to Dream, aims to unearth talented songwriters and performers from schools across Scotland (bit.ly/SongsComp). Winners will produce and perform their own song in aid of Children in Need next year. The Education Scotland competition asks musical secondary pupils to write an original song, while primary pupils will be judged on performance. Participating schools will receive free specialist songwriting and performance tutorials, as well as career advice from music industry professionals.
English teachers given to tales of pirates and psychological horror might notice that Robert Louis Stevenson Day is taking place today in Scottish schools. The event celebrates the work of the author behind Treasure Island, Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. More details can be found at www.cityofliterature.com.