Durham Research
Using Fatty Acids for Learning Conditions


Sure Start Peterlee
Preschool Results
Primary Results
Secondary Results

Durham Pre-School Research


With increasing numbers of children showing problems with behaviour even before entering primary school, we started looking at how at how fatty acids may assist pre-schoolers. We wanted to see how youngsters would tolerate oils, and see if there could be benefits at a crucial time of brain development. Our interest in this area was triggered by the strong results we saw broadcast on BBC1's Child of Our Time.

Timothy Hackworth Primary School

Our first work in this area was based in the Nursery of Timothy Hackworth Primary School. Following the evidenced success of the pupils in school who took part in the first trial staff and parents were anxious to determine whether children entering nursery who had problems with attention could have their concentration improved through taking the supplement.

Mr Andrew Westerman, former Head Teacher, who was involved in the original trial spoke with parents, children and staff and it was agreed that a small-scale study would take place.

Parents were very keen for their children to be involved and a supplement is being given at home and in the nursery. The supplement is being administered in liquid form because of the age of the children.

Comments from the Head

There has been much excitement in the school as there is such a positive ethos following the success story of Elliott Best whose progress was followed in the first of 'The Human Mind' series presented by Sir Robert Winston.

A range of indicators have been selected to measure children's progress. There are the usual assessments which take place for children on entry to nursery school and in addition time on task and general levels of behaviour are being observed. Evidence of change is being sought from parents and staff members and the children themselves will be asked whether they have noticed any difference.

The children's social skills and language development will be observed to determine whether their ability to interact with one another has improved.

The change that was evident in James shown in the first of the 'Child of Our Time' programmes has also been observed in other young children. Mr Andrew Westerman, says, €œIf we can identify and address problems in concentration at such an early stage this will have a very positive effect on the learning outcomes of children in our school€�.