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Language Show Scotland – Free event + 20% discount on language classes!

24 January 2017 (Language Show Live)

Scotland’s biggest and most prestigious event dedicated to all things language is back at the SECC in Glasgow on the 10th – 11th of March 2017. Officially sponsored by Education Scotland and the Scottish Government this free to attend event is a must for anyone interested in learning or advancing their languages, exploring job opportunities in the language industry, considering teaching or working abroad, enjoying a fantastic range of international cultural performances and much, much more!

10TH MARCH – 9:00AM – 6:00PM GLASGOW SECC
11TH MARCH – 9:00AM – 5:30PM GLASGOW SECC

Sample our extensive free seminar programme, meet over 100 top exhibitors like the European Commission, the Chartered Institute of Linguists and the British Council, meet language professional recruiters, enjoy our fantastic array of cultural performances, free language classes and more.

Find out more and register for free today.

Our trademark intensive 2 hour Language Plus classes are also now available online at a heavily discounted early bird rate (over 20% off the standard price!) of just £18. These optional add-ons can be purchased at the end of the free registration process and are certain to add a productive language experience to your day!

Language Show Live Scotland 2017 logo

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Business brunches: Inspiring Scotland’s future global workforce in Dundee

24 January 2017 (SCILT)

Young people from eight schools across Tayside and Fife had the opportunity to engage with local businesses at the University of Dundee on 18 January 2017. 70 learners from S3-S6 heard from a range of business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company. The Business Brunch demonstrated the relevance of language skills in a work context and aimed to encourage pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education, and beyond school.

A teacher attending the event said: “Today’s event has given my pupils real food for thought. Before, I think most of them would have said that you would only really use languages in teaching or translating. However, having heard from the different speakers, they have realised very quickly that languages are used for much more than that.”

One of the young people added to this, and commented: “The event today showed me that, even if you haven’t specialised in language study, for example getting a degree in a modern language, there is still a high chance you will end up using language skills in a small or large part of your job and that knowing a language can open up many more opportunities.”

Dawn Hartley from Scottish Dance Theatre, one of the workshop leaders, stated: “Our dancers come from all over the world, and our choreographers too. We travel to many different countries so we’re constantly grateful for all the various language skills our staff have – we always need them!”

The event was organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages as part of a series of cross-sector partnership activities with the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland. Companies attending included Michelin, Valentine International Business Connections LLP, Scottish Dance Theatre, Tokheim Ltd, Outplay Entertainment Ltd and University of Dundee. Schools represented were Brechin High School, Bell Baxter High School, Harris Academy, Montrose Academy, Morrison’s Academy, Webster's High School, Craigie High School and Braeview Academy.

Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT said: “Events such as these are a really important way of providing young people with high quality careers advice delivered by the business people themselves and of demonstrating to them the value of language skills in our increasingly globalised world”.

Marion Spöring, Chair of UCML Scotland added: “The learning of languages is not only fun, but also essential for future employment opportunities of our young people in Scotland. Languages set the foundation for varied careers, for future engineers as well as artists and in tourism, to name but a few.”

Meaningful employer engagement and providing relevant careers advice are both key recommendations of Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy, “Developing the young workforce”. This Business Brunch supported these aims by giving young people the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the role of languages in the business world. The targets laid out in the Scottish Attainment Challenge are about achieving equity in educational outcomes, with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. Through hearing from a range of business leaders and interacting with employees, the aspirations of the young people who attended were raised.

This collaboration between schools and businesses supported Scotland’s International Policy to equip young people with international communication and employability skills that they will need in our increasingly globalised society and economy. The event is one of a series of Business Brunches being held across Scotland in January and February 2017.

More information on SCILT’s 2017 Business Brunches.

Principal Assessor and Deputy Principal Assessor - Higher Chinese languages

23 January 2017 (SQA)

SQA is inviting applications for a Principal Assessor in Higher Chinese Languages to lead the team as well as a Deputy Principal Assessor (DPA) in Higher Chinese Languages. The DPA is a new role in a slightly altered structure which will become operational for Diet 2017. The primary role of the Deputy Principal Assessor is to support the Principal Assessor.

Details of both roles can be found by following the relevant link below to the SQA website:

Training and support will be provided for both roles.

Inspiring Scotland’s future global workforce - Business Brunch launch

23 January 2017 (SCILT)

Young people from thirteen schools across the west of Scotland had the opportunity to engage with local businesses in the first of a series of Business Brunch events, held at University of Strathclyde on 13 January 2017. 130 learners from S3-S6 heard from a range of business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company. The event demonstrated the relevance of language skills in a work context and aimed to encourage pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education, and beyond school.

A teacher attending the event said: “Today’s event was a fantastic opportunity. It has given my pupils a deeper appreciation that language learning is not just about the words but that being able to speak a language can break down so many barriers in so many different ways, including our own perceptions of people and countries.”

One of the young people added to this and commented: “I learned that cultural awareness and language skills are an important aspect of day-to-day business and also important to bigger companies. Language and cultural awareness is important in helping understand foreign business partners and in earning their trust.”

Eric Balish, Director of Trade Finance Scotland and Ireland at Bank ABC and one of the workshop leaders told the learners: “Life is a competition. Most of your competitors speak at least two and perhaps multiple languages. Speaking English is simply not enough to thrive and prosper now, far less in the future. Our business is anchored in financing international trade. We have a particular focus on trade into the Middle East and North Africa and also Brazil. However, we operate throughout Europe. As a consequence it is vital that we can communicate in a broad range of languages.”

The event was organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland. Companies attending included Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP, Radio Lingua, Keppie Design, Bank ABC and Russian Centre ‘Haven’. Schools represented were St Luke's High School, Caldervale High School, Marr College, Duncanrig Secondary School, Shawlands Academy, Holyrood RC Secondary School, Hyndland Secondary School, Largs Academy, Kirkintilloch High School, Trinity High School, St Margaret Mary’s Secondary, Williamwood High School and Clydebank High School.

Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT said: “Events such as these are a really important way of providing young people with high quality careers advice delivered by the business people themselves and of demonstrating to them the value of language skills in our increasingly globalised world”.

Meaningful employer engagement and providing relevant careers advice are both key recommendations of Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy, “Developing the young workforce”. This Business Brunch supported these aims by giving young people the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the role of languages in the business world. The targets laid out in the Scottish Attainment Challenge are about achieving equity in educational outcomes, with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. Through hearing from a range of business leaders and interacting with employees, the aspirations of the young people who attended were raised.

This collaboration between schools and businesses supported Scotland’s International Policy to equip young people with international communication and employability skills that they will need in our increasingly globalised society and economy. The event is the first of a series of Business Brunches being held across Scotland in January and February 2017.

Read more...

New STEM job profile on SCILT's website

20 January 2017 (SCILT)

If you're looking for relevant career advice on languages direct from the workplace, read the Job Profiles on our website. These resources are designed for teachers to use in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.

Our latest addition comes from John Barry, a former petroleum engineer and manager with Shell, who explains how his language skills helped him to develop his career with the company.

Read more...

Scottish Education Awards 2017

19 January 2017 (Scottish Education Awards)

The Scottish Education Awards celebrate the hard work and success which takes place in Scottish education. They recognise the achievements of people who dedicate their lives to children and young people and showcase the valuable work and innovation in Scottish classrooms.

There's still time to submit nominations for the Awards, so get your entries in for the Making Languages Come Alive (Primary) and Gaelic Education/Duais Foghlam Gàidhlig.awards before the closing date of 15 February 2017.

Visit the Scottish Education Award website to make your nomination.

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Language learning aids attention, study says

19 January 2017 (Knowridge Science Report)

Mental agility can be boosted by even a short period of learning a language, a study suggests.

Tests carried out on students of all ages suggest that acquiring a new language improves a person’s attention, after only a week of study.

Researchers also found that these benefits could be maintained with regular practice.

A team from the University assessed different aspects of mental alertness in a group of 33 students aged 18 to 78 who had taken part in a one-week Scottish Gaelic course.

Researchers tracked people’s attention levels with a series of listening tests including the ability to concentrate on certain sounds and switch the attention to filter relevant information.

They compared the results with those of people who had completed a one week course – but not involving learning a new language – and with a group who had not completed any course.

After one week, improvements in attention were found in both groups participating in intensive courses, but only those learning a second language were significantly better than those not involved in any courses.

This improvement was found for all ages, from 18 to 78 years, which researchers say demonstrates the benefits of language learning also in later life.

Read more...

Cuts forcing schools to axe language and science exams

19 January 2017 (The Herald)

Schools are having to cut the number of subjects they offer to pupils as a direct result of cuts, teachers’ leaders have warned.

An education union said current budgetary pressures meant courses such as extra languages and sciences could not run unless at least ten pupils were interested.

The concerns were raised at a meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s education committee which is examining the roll-out of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) reforms.

Read more...

Skye shinty player raps way to Gaelic film shortlist

19 January 2017 (BBC News)

A Skye shinty player's comedy rap has helped to get a video on the shortlist of Gaelic short film competition FilmG.

Ally MacLeod performs in Girls, Strì and Macaroni, a short film made by Iain Wilson from Staffin on Skye.

The video is among entries in the running for best mobile short and best comedy. Mr MacLeod has also been shortlisted for the best performance award.

The full list of shortlisted films can be found on the FilmG website.

Read more...

Pass the Panda across Scotland

19 January 2017 (RZSS)

Conservation charity the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) is excited to announce the official launch of its brand new ‘Panda Pass It On’ game for schools. The game, which is part of the conservation organisation’s Beyond the Panda education programme, launched at four schools in all four corners of Scotland on Tuesday 17 January: St. Patrick’s, South Ayrshire; Lasswade High, Midlothian, Portree Primary, Isle of Skye and Forehill Primary, Aberdeen.

With only four copies of the game available, the intention is for schools to keep the fun, learning resource for a week before passing it on to other schools. The panda games will hopefully make their way across Scotland, with each school logging their location through a QR code on the back of the game, which will allow RZSS to follow the games as they travel.

Sandie Robb, Senior Education Officer at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: “I’m incredibly excited about the launch of the Panda Pass It On game. It is the first of its kind and is a fun way for children to learn more about China, its history, culture and language as well as their famous animals, the giant pandas. It will be really interesting to track the games as they travel to different schools.”

The game forms an introduction to the Beyond the Panda education programme, which is designed to promote cross-curricular learning, with pupils investigating and discovering more about China. The materials cover Curriculum for Excellence experiences and outcomes in science, topical science, social studies, language and literacy. This is delivered through an outreach programme with fun, interactive games led by an education officer from RZSS, or in the case of the Panda Pass It On game, by itself.

The programme is sponsored by the Confucius Institute for Scotland at the University of Edinburgh with support from the Scotland China Education Network and the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools at the University of Strathclyde.

For more information, please visit the RZSS Beyond the Panda website.

picture of children playing gamepicture of children playing

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Glasgow Film Festival 2017

18 January 2017 (Glasgow Film)

The programme for Glasgow Film Festival 2017 has just been announced!

More than 310 separate events and screenings of films from 38 countries will show across the city from 15 – 26 February in one of the UK’s biggest film festivals. The event offers several special screenings for schools, which this year includes the following foreign language options:

  • Asterix: The Mansions of the Gods (PG) - 6-8 February (French, English subtitles)
  • Ma Revolution (N/C 15+) - 3-8 February (French, English subtitles)
  • The Olive Tree (N/C 15+) - 7 February (Spanish/German with English subtitles)
  • Shorts for Wee Ones (N/C 3+) - 9 February (English, French or dialogue free)
  • The Golden Dream (N/C 12+) - 9 February (Spanish & Tzotzil with English subtitles)
  • Zip Zap & The Captain's Island (N/C 8+) - 9 February (Spanish)

There are also CPD opportunities for teachers and workshops for pupils. Visit the 'What's on for Schools' page of the GFT website for full details and to book.

Tickets go on sale to Glasgow Film Festival Members at noon on Thursday 19 January and on general sale at 10am on Monday 23 January.

Visit the GFT website for more information.

Read more...

Brexit prompts academics to consider future for modern languages

18 January 2017 (THE)

How can linguists make the case for their subject in a new and seemingly hostile climate of political populism?

That was the theme of a workshop organised by the University Council for Modern Languages and held in London on 6 January.

Since the Brexit vote, said Silke Mentchen, senior language teaching officer at the University of Cambridge, she had felt like “a bargaining chip”, waiting for details of the status of the many European Union nationals working in British universities.

Partly in order to “combat [her] own feelings of powerlessness”, she had carried out a survey with Andrea Klaus of the University of Warwick “documenting the benefits to students of a year abroad”, which are often supported by EU funding under the Erasmus+ programme. Respondents described such years as “the highlight of my time at university” and even “one of the most defining features of my life to date”.

Read more...

Britons 'should learn Polish, Punjabi and Urdu to boost social cohesion'

18 January 2017 (The Guardian)

The government is being urged to create more opportunities for British people to learn languages such as Polish, Urdu and Punjabi as a means of improving social cohesion in local communities.

Recent inquiries looking into obstacles to social integration in the UK have highlighted the importance of immigrants learning English to enable them to integrate and engage fully in society.

Now Cambridge professor Wendy Ayres-Bennett is calling for British people to be encouraged to learn community languages, particularly in areas where there are high numbers of residents who speak these languages, to build on social cohesion.

Ayres-Bennett, who is a professor of French philology and linguistics and is a lead investigator in a major project looking at multilingualism, said rather than putting the onus solely on newcomers, social integration should be seen as a two-way street.

“Considering the issue from the point of view of language learning, we rightly expect immigrants to learn English but, as a nation, we often don’t see the need ourselves to learn another language, and consider it to be something difficult and only for the intellectual elite.

“I would like to see more opportunities for British people to learn some of the community languages of the UK, such as Polish, Punjabi and Urdu, particularly in areas where there are high numbers of those speakers, so that there is some mutual effort in understanding the others’ language and culture.”

Read more...

Babies remember their birth language - scientists

18 January 2017 (BBC News)

Babies build knowledge about the language they hear even in the first few months of life, research shows.

If you move countries and forget your birth language, you retain this hidden ability, according to a study.

Dutch-speaking adults adopted from South Korea exceeded expectations at Korean pronunciation when retrained after losing their birth language.

Scientists say parents should talk to babies as much as possible in early life.

Dr Jiyoun Choi of Hanyang University in Seoul led the research.

The study is the first to show that the early experience of adopted children in their birth language gives them an advantage decades later even if they think it is forgotten, she said.

''This finding indicates that useful language knowledge is laid down in [the] very early months of life, which can be retained without further input of the language and revealed via re-learning,'' she told BBC News.

Read more...

Related Links

Adoptees advantaged by birth language memory (Science Daily, 18 January 2017)

Why making languages non-compulsory at GCSE is a step backwards

17 January 2017 (The Telegraph)

I am nervous as I take my seat in front of the Head of Languages; it is GCSE choices evening and the school gym has been transformed, criss-crossed by rows of tables and chairs with eager parents and their offspring gathered around harried-looking teachers.

“I'd like to do Triple Language,” I say, “French, Spanish and Italian.”

She regards me over the top of her sheet full of names, in front of her.

“Oh no, I don't think so. You could do Spanish, maybe, but you'll find three too difficult.”

Seven years later and I am on the brink of successfully completing my undergraduate degree in, you guessed it, languages. And whilst I look back on that exchange now with a certain degree of victorious pride, I still can't help but wonder what prompted her to turn a perfectly capable student away from her course.

In this performance-obsessed climate where a pupil's grades are often put before their education, it is unsurprising that even some of the best teachers find themselves advising students against courses which are deemed too challenging. But we must do away with the notion that languages are an elite subject if we are to improve the dire situation in which we now find ourselves.

Read more...

Italian is under assault from rising number of Anglicisms, sloppy use of verbs and shrinking vocabulary, guardians of the language warn

17 January 2017 (The Telegraph)

The Italian language is under assault from a growing tide of English words, the abandoning of verb tenses and a shrinking vocabulary, and could be driven to extinction altogether, the head of the country’s most illustrious language institute has warned.

The language of Dante and Petrarch is becoming vulgarised and made more simplistic as young people dispense with the subjunctive and future tenses and sprinkle their day-to-day language with Anglicisms, even where there are perfectly adequate Italian alternatives, according to the Accademia della Crusca, an academy that guards the purity of Italian, said.

“There’s been a big increase in the number of foreign words and expressions and the trend will continue, above all with English words,” said Prof Claudio Marazzini, the president of the academy, which was founded in Florence in 1582. “We are heading towards a more meagre Italian.”

Thousands of words are at risk of extinction through not being used anymore in daily discourse, he said. They include “accolito” (acolyte, henchman), “maliardo” (bewitching), “tremebondo” (tremulous, trembling), “zufolare” (to whistle), and “abbindolare” (to be taken for a ride, to be led by the nose).

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United Kingdom Linguistics Olympiad 2017

17 January 2017 (UKLO)

UKLO is a competition for students who are still at school (or equivalent college) – any age, any ability level – in which they have to solve linguistic data problems. Thanks to our generous academic supporters, it’s completely free to both competitors and schools.

The UK Olympiad also enters at least one team in the International Linguistics Olympiad.

The United Kingdom Linguistics Olympiad (UKLO) for 2017 will soon get underway with round 1 taking place from 6-10 February.

If you are interested in finding out more about the competition and registering your school to take part, visit the UKLO website.

Read more...

Language exchange trips ‘killed’ off by safeguarding worries and costs

16 January 2017 (Schools Week)

Schools trying to organise language exchange trips face increasing hurdles including costs, visas and “unclear” government guidance on safeguarding, according to speakers at a Westminster education forum held today in London.

The “dull” content of modern foreign languages lessons, which one delegate said was “intellectually insulting” to pupils, was being made worse by a decline in exchange trips that would otherwise bring vocabulary to life.

Mike Buchanan, chair of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference for independent schools (HMC), told teachers and policy makers that “the bureaucracy and hurdles in the way of exchange visits is killing them”.

Buchanan, who is also headteacher of Ashford school in Kent, said the desire among teachers to organise trips “had not diminished” but guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) – Keeping Children Safe in Education – updated in September last year was “less clear” on the issue of foreign exchange trips than previously and placed an onus on schools to carry out vetting and barring checks on host families in England.

“The impact is that schools are less inclined to engage in exchanges and trips.”

Read more...

CISS professional learning menu update

16 January 2017 (CISS)

The CISS CLPL menu for 2016-17 'Making Chinese work for you!' has been updated.

Visit the CISS website to view the brochure and for information on booking a professional learning session.

Read more...

SQA update to AH Modern Languages guidance on past paper usage

16 January 2017 (SQA)

The SQA has produced updated guidance documents on the use of past paper questions for Advanced Higher Modern Languages (Chinese, Italian, French, Spanish, German and Gaelic learners).

These can be found on the SQA Advanced Higher Modern Languages webpage under the 'Specimen Question Papers and Marking Instructions' section.

Read more...

Japan days for schools

16 January 2017 (RZSS)

Come along to our Japan days at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, held in partnership with the Association of Scottish Philatelic Societies youth StampIT programme.

Experience a day at the park to visit the Japanese macaques along with an educational session using games and activities to learn about Japanese language and culture. Suitable for P6/7 and S1 levels. Entrance to the park is free for these special pilot events but places are limited and booking is essential.

Places available on Wednesday 8 March or Wednesday 15 March 2017. First come, first served. Contact Sandie Robb srobb@rzss.org.uk for further details and booking information.

Meet the world’s first Gaelic rapper

15 January 2017 (The Herald)

You might expect renowned bagpiper, guitarist and traditional Gaelic singer Griogair Labhruidh to be appearing at the upcoming Celtic Connections Festival. Instead, he's at home in Ballachulish working on a very different type of project – the world’s first Gaelic hip hop record.

“Well, first hip hop record in the Gaelic tradition, anyway,” says the highlander, who raps under the pseudonym Eólas – meaning ‘knowledge’.

Read more...

Watch brilliant archive footage as Gary Lineker meets Mark Hughes to talk Stoke

13 January 2017 (The Sentinel)

BBC's new football programme The Premier League Show sent Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker to Stoke to catch up with his old teammate Mark Hughes.

The pair had played together under Terry Venables at Barcelona, with Hughes admitting he wished he had bought into the culture.

Read more...

Education Scotland weblinks

13 January 2017 (SCILT)

Visitors to Education Scotland’s websites will have noticed that significant changes have been made, and here at SCILT we have received a number of enquiries from teachers looking for Education Scotland content. We have pulled together the information below, based on what we know at the moment, and hope it will help practitioners to find what they are looking for.

Previous content has been significantly streamlined onto four sites:

The updated services were launched in December 2016 and Education Scotland Digital Services team is working throughout January to ensure the services are fully functional. If you can’t find the resource you are looking for, please do check back on Education Scotland sites throughout January 2017. In the meantime, please bear with us here at SCILT while we ensure all links from our website to Education Scotland are live.

Some content will not move onto the new websites. Education Scotland has explained that all the content on the old sites was reviewed and updated by education specialists “who have considered the type and quantity of information required to support and challenge practitioners to achieve educational improvement”. Find out more about the changes and some guidance on how to find content from the Education Scotland Corporate website.


SCILT will be hosting Passeport pour la francophonie on our website. Unfortunately, migration has been held up due to some technical issues, and we are working with Education Scotland to resolve these. Once the resource is live, we will promote the new link via our weekly new bulletin.

SCILT will be hosting the former Maximising Potential resource on our website. The resource is currently being reviewed and updated by the ‘Languages for all’ short-life working group. Once the resource has been reviewed (and renamed!), we will promote it via our weekly news bulletin.

Education Scotland has assured us that core resources from A 1+2 approach to modern languages will be uploaded onto the National Improvement Hub. Not all of them are available yet, but it is worth checking the site periodically for updates.

We have learnt that the Giant Pandas site is no longer available. In time, some of the content will appear on the Beyond the Panda website developed by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.

Core content for NQ Modern Languages has been migrated to the National Qualifications site and is live. Visit these pages and select the language you are looking for.

Core Modern Languages content is available through Education Scotland’s Corporate site, including Modern Languages Es&Os and Principles and Practice papers. Visit the site and search for “modern languages”. There has been a significant reduction in content compared with the previous Modern Languages pages on the Education Scotland site, but some content can be found on the National Improvement Hub so it is worth checking there too.

Modern Languages NAR content is still available. In time, this will be superseded by the Languages Benchmarks, which are due for publication soon on the National Improvement Hub.

Education Scotland Case studies around 1+2 implementation will be available in time on the National Improvement Hub. In the meantime, don’t forget SCILT has a range of Case Studies available, by stage, on the 1+2 section of our website.

Education Scotland YouTube channel remains unchanged, and you can access all the videos that have previously been uploaded here. These include 1+2 languages: Progress from first to second level.

UCML January Plenary 2017: Post-Brexit Implications for HE Languages

13 January 2017 (UCML)

Presentations of most of the speakers at the Workshop held on 6 January 2017 are now available to view on the UCML website.

Read more...

School languages fear as teacher numbers plummet

13 January 2017 (The Herald)

The number of language teachers in Scottish secondary schools has fallen by more than two hundred since 2010, according to new figures.

Official statistics from the Scottish Government show there were 1,635 language teachers in 2010 compared to just 1,402 in 2016 - a decline of 15 per cent.

The decline comes at a time when there are significant fears over the future of languages with a long-term fall in the number of pupils sitting exams such as French, German and Italian - although Spanish is still proving popular.

Tavish Scott, education spokesman for the Scottish Liberal Democrats, who asked for the figures, called on ministers to explain the falling number.

He said: “It’s extremely disappointing to see such a dramatic fall in the number of secondary school language teachers since 2010.

“Language teaching in schools have been highlighted as a government priority yet the government’s own figures show there are fewer teachers than before, setting language students up for failure.

“If the Scottish Government is serious about getting pupils learning languages then they need to ensure every school has the resources to provide a quality language education.”

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Association of Language Teaching (SALT) blamed changes to the curriculum for the “hugely concerning” fall.

Read more...

New Job Profile on the SCILT website

13 January 2017 (SCILT)

Our Job Profiles provide relevant, labour-market focused career advice on languages, direct from the workplace.

Teachers, use them in your classroom to enhance learning about the world of work.

Read our new Job Profile from Dawn Hartley, Head of Creative Learning at Scottish Dance Theatre.

Read more...

Refreshed and ready for anything in 2017!

13 January 2017 (SCILT)

Here at SCILT, our New Year’s Resolution has been to review and refresh the CLPL menu. With your feedback in mind, we have made a few strategic changes that we hope will make a big difference. New on the SCILT website from today – the new and improved CLPL menu.

Read more...

Regional Cross-Sector Hub Meetings, Round 2

13 January 2017 (SCILT / UCMLS)

UCMLS (University Council for Modern Languages Scotland) is again holding a second round of regional cross-sector hub meetings during January and February.

Participants will have the opportunity to meet with university colleagues to discuss current and future collaborative events in support of the Scottish Government's 1+2 language policy. Comments will feed into the UCMLS cross -sector action plan in support of 1+2, due to be launched on Friday 10 March 2017 at Glasgow City Chambers.

  • Central Hub: Saturday 14 January 2017, 10-11.30, University of Dundee, Dalhousie Building, Room 2G13 (Registrations for the Central Hub meeting have now closed but if you wish to attend please send an email to m.m.g.sporing@dundee.ac.uk)
  • North Hub: Wednesday 1 February 2017, 4-5.30 pm, University of Aberdeen, Sir Duncan Rice Library, Top Floor, Room 1. Please register by 25 January
  • West Hub: Thursday, 2 February 2017, 5-6.30 pm, City of Glasgow College, Cathedral Street, Glasgow. Meet in Cafe Zero. Please register by 27 January
  • East Hub: Friday, 24 February 2017, 2-4 pm, Open University, 10 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh. Room tbc. Registration will open once room details have been confirmed so please look out for the update!

SQA Marker Opportunities

12 January 2017 (SQA)

SQA currently has Marker vacancies in the following areas:

  • AH French Paper 1 and Paper 2 (Reading and Translation and Listening and Discursive Writing) - this is a MFI Central Marking event which takes place from Thursday 1 June - Sunday 4 June 2017 inclusive
  • AH French Portfolio - this is traditionally marked and the Marker meeting take place on Wednesday 10 May 2017.

If you would like to be considered for AH French marking please complete the online application form stating which components you would like to mark confirming your availability to attend either the marking meeting and or the central marking event.

Details can be found in the marker advert on the SQA website.

Current markers who wish to be considered for a change of level should also complete an application form confirming current delivery of AH French for at least 2 years.

Read more...

Scotland-Russia Forum news bulletin

11 January 2017 (SRF)

The latest news and events from the SRF can be found in their January news bulletin. You can practise your Russian language at the next Чай н Чат (Chai n Chat) in Edinburgh on 2 February.

Read more...

New term German classes in Glasgow

11 January 2017 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut in Glasgow offers a range of courses for beginners through to advanced learners and is now enrolling for the new term classes, running from 13 February to 26 June 2017.

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information and to enrol by 3 February.

Read more...

How Mandarin can unlock our children's potential in an increasingly connected world

10 January 2017 (The Telegraph)

With over one billion speakers worldwide, the global significance of Mandarin Chinese cannot be denied. But with the continued growth of English as a lingua franca of business, travel and international relations, do we really need more young people in the UK to learn it?

The reality is that, at a time when the UK is repositioning itself on the world stage, young people across the UK need to have the knowledge and skills to unlock their potential in an increasingly connected world - and to my mind at least, there are few abilities more valuable than speaking Mandarin Chinese.

The good news is that parents across the UK seem to think so too. Research released last week as part of the Mandarin Excellence Programme highlighted that those with children aged under 18 see Mandarin Chinese as the ‘most beneficial’ non-European language for their children's future – followed by Arabic and Japanese. As well as 51 per cent of those surveyed believing that speaking Mandarin would boost their children's career prospects, 56 per cent saw it as a skill that would open their children's minds to an ‘exciting and dynamic culture’.

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People can protect themselves against dementia if they can speak another language

10 January 2017 (The Mirror)

Being able to speak another language protects against dementia and other age-related decline in brain power, a new study found.

People who are bilingual are better at saving brain power and less prone to be distracted as their brains get wired.

So they use less of the brain than those who speak just one language.

And they rely less on the frontal areas of the brain which are vulnerable to ageing explaining why the brains of bilinguals are better equipped at staving off the signs of cognitive ageing or dementia.

Professor Ana In s Ansaldo at the University of Montreal compared the functional brain connections in monolingual and bilingual elderly people.

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Being bilingual makes people's brains more efficient and could combat cognitive ageing, study finds

10 January 2017 (The Independent)

Scientists have found that the benefits of being bilingual stretch much further than those commonly associated with being fluent in two languages - it could also help a person’s brain in later life.

New research from the Université de Montréal shows that people who are bilingual are able to save brain power, which in turn could help with the effects of cognitive ageing.

The study, led by Dr Ana Inés Ansaldo at the university’s geriatric research centre, found that bilingualism can make the brain more efficient and economical in the way that it carries out certain tasks.

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Gaelic writing competition

9 January 2017 (Acair Books)

Acair Books, an Lanntair and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have created a new award to encourage original writing in Gaelic for children.

The aim of the award is to:

  • Actively support original writing in Gaelic for children
  • Encourage and nurture new writers in Gaelic

In 2017, the award is for a book for 5 to 8 year-olds and must be between 1000 and 2000 words.

The work must be written in Gaelic by a writer aged 16-years or over, and who has never had a Gaelic book published for children before.

Visit the website for further information and submit your entry by 31 January 2017.

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SQA updates January 2017

9 January 2017 (SQA)

The SQA has updated the Course Assessment Specification document and several Specimen Question Papers on the Advanced Higher Modern Languages page of their website.

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New term French classes in Glasgow

9 January 2017 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française in Glasgow has a number of upcoming courses for the new term. Follow the appropriate link below for more information:

For more information about the Alliance Française visit their website.

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Erasmus+ application support

9 January 2017 (Erasmus+)

The next Erasmus+ funding deadline for Key Action 1 School Staff Mobility is 2 February. For UK schools and colleges, the UK National Agency has guidance documentation, and videos on an introduction to Schools Key Action 1 and completing the eForm.

There is also a Q&A webinar at 4-5pm on 19 January.

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Nihongo Cup - Japanese speech contest for UK secondary schools

6 January 2017 (Japan Foundation)

The Nihongo Cup Japanese Speech Contest for Secondary School Students in the UK is open for applications!

This contest is open to students in the UK studying Japanese language.

Visit the Japan Foundation website for more information and to download the application pack.

Closing date for entries: 24 March 2017.

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Oxford German Olympiad 2017

6 January 2017 (Oxford University)

The Oxford German Olympiad 2017 is open to UK pupils aged from 9 to 18 with a range of different tasks to suit different age groups. There is also an open competition for groups or classes of 4+ participants.

This year's theme is Deutsch(e) jenseits von Deutschland - German(s) beyond Germany.

Visit the Oxford German Olympiad website for more information and to enter by 17 March 2017.

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Oxford University Spanish Flash Fiction Competition

6 January 2017 (ALL)

A new competition from the Modern Languages Department at Oxford University invites secondary students to write a story in Spanish of not more than 100 words, and send it to schools.liaison@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk by noon on Friday 31 March 2017 with your name, age and year group, and the name and address of your school.

The judges will be looking for creativity and imagination as well as good Spanish!

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European Language Gazette issue 35 (December 2016)

6 January 2017 (ECML)

The latest edition of the European Language Gazette has just been published. This provides up-to-date news about the ECML (events, projects, resources), its partners and other relevant sectors of the Council of Europe. It focuses on language education and national developments in the member states and beyond.

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The Languages Challenge

6 January 2017 (ALL / SOAS)

Run by SOAS, University of London, the Languages Challenge is now in its third year.

The Languages Challenge is a collaborative project aimed at students in year 8, 9 & 10 (S2-S4). Students have a choice of task and a choice of which languages they use in each of them. The aim of the challenge is to:

  • provide students with opportunities to actively engage with languages
  • encourage independent study and a range of soft skills like team-work, planning, leadership and negotiation skills
  • raise awareness of the cross-curricular opportunities in language studies

Students are encouraged to use oral as well as written skills, to plan each task, conduct research and produce multiple drafts. They must take different roles and complete a short reflective report for each task.

Attached is a Teacher Information Pack, which is also available to download on the ALL website along with further information about how to take part.

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Give your curriculum an international edge

6 January 2017 (British Council)

Spark enthusiasm for international learning by getting your school community on board with the International School Award.

Managed by the British Council, the International School Award is a supportive and motivational framework that guides schools through their international work. With three certified levels, and free in the UK, the award will take you from introducing international work to the curriculum, to embedding it within your school’s culture.

Following an accessible methodology you will forge links with partner schools around the world, enhance your curriculum and prepare your students for life as global citizens.

Visit the British Council Schools Online website to find out more about how your school can grow and develop with the International School Award and read the article below from the British Council Voices blog which offers advice on 'Six ways to make your school more international.'

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Related Links

Six ways to make your school more international (British Council Voices blog, 14 November 2016)

Mathématiques sans frontières

6 January 2017 (North Lanarkshire Council)

North Lanarkshire Council and Heriot Watt University are once again jointly organising the world-wide Maths and Language competition “Mathématiques sans Frontières” in Scotland.

Schools are invited to participate in this stimulating and light-hearted competition for S4 and S5 which combines Maths and Modern Languages and aims to motivate pupils.

The competition itself will be held on Tuesday 7 March 2017 and schools wishing to participate should complete the proforma attached and return by 27 January 2017. There is also a training test available for download.

See the attachments for more information and to register your school.

LFEE Europe immersion courses in France and Spain 2017-18

6 January 2017 (LFEE)

LFEE Europe has been an international course provider since 2002. Our team of experienced and fully qualified native teachers are committed to promoting French and Spanish language and culture throughout Europe. Funding for all our courses is available through the European Union Erasmus+ Programme.

For more information see the attached flyer or visit the LFEE website.

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Parents think Mandarin is most useful language for children, survey says

5 January 2017 (BT)

Mandarin Chinese is the most useful non-European language for children to learn, UK parents believe.

It will boost their child's career prospects, according to 51%of parents, while 56% felt it would open their children's minds to an "exciting and dynamic" culture.

Arabic and Japanese, which both picked by 14% of parents, were the other key non-European languages.

The figures were gained after 1,138 UK adults with children aged under 18 were questioned in a Populus survey commissioned by the Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP).

French, Spanish and German were the top choices overall for young people in the UK to learn after being picked by 57%, 54% and 40% of parents respectively.

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English Language Assistants Programme

4 January 2017 (British Council)

Students and graduates - work across the world as an English Language Assistant. There is no better way to explore and experience life in another country than by living in it.

The English Language Assistants programme provides a unique opportunity for UK students and graduates to experience living abroad and make their CV stand out from the crowd by supporting the teaching of English in an overseas school or university.

Language Assistants can gain a wealth of transferable skills as well as proficiency in a foreign language by becoming immersed in another culture. Placements are paid and teaching time is limited to between 12 and 20 hours a week which puts assistants in a great position to be able to travel, learn and pursue new interests.

Placements are available in fourteen countries worldwide including France, Spain, Germany, Italy, China, Switzerland, Austria, Canada and Latin America.

Visit the British Council website and see where becoming an English Language assistant can take you. Applications for the 2017-18 academic year are now open and will close on 28 February 2017.

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French writing competition launched from space!

2 January 2017 (Culturethèque)

An exciting French writing competition has just been launched by French astronaut, Thomas Pesquet, from the International Space Station.

Young people, up to the age of 25, are invited to write a short piece in French based on le Petit Prince and submit their entries by 28 February 2017.

See Thomas speaking about the competition on the launch video and find out how to enter on the Culturethèque website.

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Meet The Refugees Taking On The UK’s Language Skills Deficit

1 January 2017 (Huffington Post)

What do a dentist, a human rights lawyer and a maths teacher have in common?

Certainly, they’re all qualified professionals. What you might not guess - blog title aside - is that they have all sought, and found, refuge in the UK in the last few years. They fled from Syria, Sudan and North Korea respectively. None of them have (yet) been able to practise their professions here, but that hasn’t stopped them helping the Brits in need of their skills. They all now work for a new tech for good startup, through which they share their native language and culture - online and in person - with people in the UK.

The startup is called Chatterbox. By training and employing refugees ​as language tutors, the venture catalyses refugee integration into the UK labour market whilst tackling the country’s language skills deficit.

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Related Links

Want to learn Arabic, Korean or Swahili? Refugee language tutors can help (Thomson Reuters Foundation, 16 January 2017)

Eilidh’s next year of study is full of Eastern Promise

1 January 2017 (Milngavie Herald)

Eilidh McConnell, a sixth year pupil at Douglas Academy in Milngavie, has won a scholarship to study and work in China next year.

Eilidh, who will defer her University place for a year, competed with other Scottish pupils and was interviewed in Strathclyde University for the place. The opportunity is offered by the Confucious Institute of Scotland which seeks to promote Chinese language and culture in Scotland.

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Chinese Language Pack 2017 - Year of the Rooster

5 December 2016 (British Council)

According to the Chinese Lunar Calendar, we enter the Year of the Rooster on January 28, 2017. This education pack for UK primary schools contains information and activities to help teachers and pupils learn more about this important spring festival and explore Chinese culture and language.

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New job profile on SCILT's website

21 April 2016 (SCILT)

We have a range of job profiles on the SCILT website to let your pupils see that languages are valuable in the world of work. People from a range of sectors - including sport, marketing, technology and many more - explain how language learning has influenced their professional lives. See our latest addition:
  • Ross Noble, Conference Interpreter - his role as conference interpreter at the European Commission gives him the chance to use all of his languages every day and to learn about varied and interesting topics.
See this and other job profiles on our website now.

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Disclaimer: These news stories do not claim to be comprehensive and the views expressed do not necessarily represent the views of SCILT.

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