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New literacy tool will help support home learning in Highland schools

By Philip Murray

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A NEW literacy tool which will help support teaching in the classroom and at home has been launched in the Highlands, the council has announced.

The council has teamed up with Text Help to ensure that all pupils and teachers have access to Read&Write software, which aims to support learning both in the classroom and in the home on any device.

Schools in Highland have over 30,000 Chromebooks to support learning and the Connecting Scotland Grant has enabled investment in Read&Write.

Chairman of the council's education committee, Cllr John Finlayson said: “This software package will enable our young people of all ages to access the curriculum.

"It will also complement our existing G-Suite for Education tools and help all of our pupils to understand, learn and express themselves with confidence. I am pleased our staff and pupils will have access to this software and I am sure we will see its benefit in both classroom and online learning.”

The council added that Read&Write is an "award-winning literacy toolbar that helps reach every learner and to realise their full potential".

It added that it worked for all subjects and lessons plans, and offers support with everyday tasks such as reading text out loud, understanding unfamiliar words, researching assignments and proofing written work.

It’s also used as a digital reader for school exams, assisting students who are entitled to extra help in the exam room.

Andrew Campbell, local education authority manager at Text Help, the learning technology company, said: “We’re truly thrilled to have partnered with the Highland Council in bringing Read&Write to students across the Scottish region.

"Having worked with some of the incredible people in the council’s digital team as well as passionate individuals in various schools for a couple of years now, it feels really gratifying to support the attainment of pupils with this widespread service roll-out.

“As a company that believes in the power of digital, we believe the Connecting Scotland programme is an excellent example of how governments can promote digital inclusion, with the funding from the scheme instrumental in supporting the distribution of Read&Write on a large scale.

"Like Connecting Scotland, we also believe being online is essential and we hope to add additional value in the Highlands and support educational outcomes throughout 2021 and beyond.”

The council's executive chief officer for education and learning, Nicky Grant, said: “Our ICT In Learning Team have worked extensively with schools to support digital inclusion and skills during 2020.

"Looking to the future, our central officers will be working in partnership with Text Help to develop further innovative solutions to support all learners. All staff in Highland schools will have access to extensive training and Text Help will be offering a number of online sessions for parents & carers in the New Year.”

For further information, visit the council's Highland Digital Schools Hub and Text Help’s webpage.

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