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Impartial teaching material produced for schools

IMPARTIAL teaching materials to help raise the profile of the 2014 independence referendum in Scottish schools have been produced by a team of academics.

Experts from the universities of Edinburgh and Strathclyde have joined forces to develop the free pack for teachers, which covers a range of different ages and qualifications.

Backed by the Economic and Social Research Council, the materials invite school staff to analyse with pupils the results of various surveys on attitudes towards the referendum. It also encourages debate on the use of online sources of information relating to the independence poll.

The authors, who include Professor Lindsay Paterson, from Edinburgh University, and Professor John Curtice, from Strathclyde University, have stressed the impartial nature of the materials.

The introduction states: "The authors would like to emphasise that none of the materials suggest or support a particular outcome of the referendum.

"Throughout the research process, the authors have taken a neutral position and these materials are reflective of that."

The materials have been produced at a time when the topic of the referendum in schools has been a controversial one.

Earlier this year, there was an outcry when the Better Together campaign announced its intention to send teacher packs on the independence debate to every Scottish school.

Eileen Prior, executive director of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, welcomed the new materials. "We support anything that will lead to effective classroom practice and the further engagement of young people and parents," she said.

Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland teaching union, added: "It is important that we help our young people to engage in debate ahead of the referendum, and it is helpful that a range of information is being published to support learning and teaching on the relevant issues."

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