A 1+2 Approach

By 2021, every school in Scotland will offer children the opportunity to learn a first additional language from primary one, and a second additional language by primary five.

What are the benefits?

The claims in these statements are backed by recent research. The documents below provide further reading on the relevance of language learning for your child.

More than 75% of the world’s population does not speak any English at all. Having a grasp of other languages will enable your child to explore different cultures in more depth in order to become a true global citizen.

English is a global language, but in fact only about 6% of the world’s population are native English speakers and an estimated three quarters do not speak English at all.
Talk the talk: a guide to maximising your prospects using languages (British Academy, 2013)

Learning another language is an essential part of international education. In doing so, children […] enhance their understanding and enjoyment of other cultures and of their own and gain insights into other ways of thinking and other views of the world. Through learning other languages, children and young people may become active global citizens.
Learning together: International education, responsible global citizens (HIMe, 2010)

Recent research also proves that an ability to speak more than one language actually boosts your brainpower.

The Association for Language Learning have compiled a list of press and research-related articles on some of the ways language learning can boost brain power - Speaking your mind: links between languages and other skills.

Very importantly, the Scottish economy needs a workforce with relevant language skills. We must, therefore, ensure that young people leave school equipped with the skills for learning, life and work they will need for a successful future in a global society.

11% of employers in Scotland say they have a foreign language skills gap amongst staff; 13% of employers in Scotland say they have a foreign language skills gap amongst applicants.
UK Commission’s Employer Skills Survey 2013 (UK Commission for Employment and Skills, 2013)

There is strong evidence that the UK is suffering from a growing deficit in foreign language skills at a time when globally, the demand for language skills is expanding. Language skills are needed at all levels of the workforce, but the range and nature of languages being taught in UK schools is insufficient to meet current and future demand.
Languages: The State of the Nation (British Academy, 2013)

More information on the business case for languages can be found through the Business pages of our website.

With the appropriate teaching methods, learning languages can be a fun and motivating experience. It gives learners a deeper understanding of how their own language works and develops their confidence and literacy skills.

Through their planning of a wide and rich range of learning activities in modern languages to develop literacy and language skills teachers will support children and young people to become:

  • successful learners, who can reflect on how they have acquired and learned their first language and how this can assist them in further language learning
  • confident individuals, who, through experiencing success and support, can interact with others in real-life situations, talk about topics of personal interest and deliver presentations in their new language

Modern Languages: Principles and Practice (Education Scotland, 2010)

Language learning has many social benefits; it helps children and young people understand and communicate with others. In this way, the skills learners acquire through learning additional languages will be immediately relevant to their lives in the communities where they live.

Within the framework of CfE there is a recognition of the importance of language learning as a communicative skill […]
The languages spoken increasingly in communities throughout Scotland offer schools and learners the chance to learn more about their own and other cultures.
Language Learning in Scotland : A 1+2 Approach (Scottish Government, 2012)


University of Strathclyde Education Scotland British Council Scotland The Scottish Government
SCILT - Scotlands National centre for Languages