Labour looks to Scottish literacy model for inspiration in Ireland

Labour could be set to use a highly successful literacy strategy devised by Chartered Educational and Child Psychologist Professor Tommy MacKay.

Irish paper the Independent reports that Aodhan O'Riordain has looked at the model, which encourages local councils to take a zero-tolerance approach to illiteracy.

The scheme was introduced in West Dunbartonshire in 1997 and advocated the use of synthetic phonics - an approach that sees children learn the sounds of letters before combining them with others.

Central to the initiative is an emphasis on working with parents, as mothers and fathers attend workshops and are encouraged to read to their offspring before they are old enough to attend school.

Following the implementation of the scheme, illiteracy in the West Dunbartonshire area declined from 28 per cent to six per cent within ten years.

Professor Tommy MacKay is the 2011 winner of the British Psychological Society's Annual Prize for Public Engagement and is to give a free public lecture at the Society's annual conference on May 3rd, which is entitled Why Tell the World about Psychology?