Durham Research
Using Fatty Acids for Learning Conditions


Secondary School Results

Durham Secondary School Study


This study carried out in the Spring term of 2004 looked specifically at how fatty acids may work in the secondary school environment, as an adjunct to our work in pre-school and primary schools. A group of teenage students at Greenfield School Community and Arts College, at Newton Aycliffe, took an active treatment of fatty acids to see if improvements in concentration, behaviour and performance in the classroom could also be found in an older age-group.

Prior to starting the study Dr Madeleine Portwood, Senior Educational Psychologist, spoke with the pupils who were all very keen to be involved. Many of the pupils tried hard to concentrate during their lessons but found it difficult to remain on task for periods in excess of five minutes. Many had histories of poor school attendance and low attainment which was not indicative of their true working potential.

Dr Madeleine Portwood's comments

Although their cognitive abilities were within the average to above average range, their development of reading and handwriting skills was suffering because of inattention and an inability to stay on task.

There have been increasing concerns amongst educationalists regarding the difficulties that secondary pupils face particularly towards the end of Key Stage 3 entering Key Stage 4. The study at Greenfield Community College was as a result of Mr John Clare's (Deputy Head Teacher) efforts to raise achievement and improve the outcomes for many of his pupils.

An increasing problem...

Difficulties with attention and subsequent behavioural problems are a major factor affecting learning in most secondary schools. As a result of the improvements evident in the initial Durham Trial, Mr Clare believed that many pupils in Greenfield could be helped through supplementing their diets. The youngsters involved in this study all had symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and took part in standardised assessments to measure change during the course of the study.