The Scottish Government's Report 'Language Learning in Scotland: A 1+2 Approach' was published in 2012. Local authorities and schools are now working towards implementation of the report. The aim is to enable children and young people to study two languages in addition to their mother tongue in all Scottish primary and secondary schools.
As parents/carers, you may have questions about the approach which we hope will be addressed below:
- 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.
- Recent research also proves that an ability to speak more than one language actually boosts your brainpower.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Find out more about these claims.
The ambition of the 1 + 2 model is that, by 2020, all children will start learning an additional language in their first year of primary school. Their studies in this language will continue until at least the end of S3 with opportunities to continue into the senior phase of secondary school.
Your child will be given the opportunity to explore another additional language no later than primary 5. This could be done through project work or a block of learning that explores the culture and the language of a country. The language work will be in enough depth to allow learners to go beyond basic words and will encourage them to experiment with the language so they can progress their language skills.
Whatever languages your child’s school decides to offer will be decided by careful planning between both the primary and secondary schools and will consider the needs of learners in both sectors.
The language your child starts in primary one can be any language as long as the school cluster can offer progression into secondary school and to qualifications in the senior phase. This continuity will ensure that learners have the opportunity to develop their skills in enough depth to allow them to go on to gain an SQA qualification.
In order to encourage linguistic diversity, the third language can be an exploration of any language that fits the particular circumstances of your child’s school; this could be Gaelic, Scots, French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Russian, Polish, Urdu, Hindi, British Sign Language… the list goes on!
Ideally, secondary schools may also offer opportunities for learners to explore the same third language they learned in primary and further progress their skills in that language. This could be done through master classes, projects or electives and could be offered as an option leading to an additional qualification in the senior phase. Whatever language is chosen the learning experience should be high quality and should offer progression in all four skills: talking and listening, reading and writing.
Yes! The 1 + 2 approach applies to all young people in Scotland whatever their mother tongue. All language learning should be seen as important and should be recognised as an achievement. In this case, English could be considered the second language and your child would be given the opportunity to study a third language no later than P5.
In Scotland children and young people can be educated in either English or Gaelic. If you have chosen a Gaelic medium school, then your child will most likely be learning Gaelic through an immersion approach. That means that Gaelic will be the normal language of instruction in every classroom, with English introduced later in the upper primary stages. An additional language such as French or Spanish will be introduced no later than primary five in order to give your child the full entitlement to 1+2 languages. Some GME schools may even wish to offer more language learning should they wish to do so.
All children and young people in Scotland, including those with ASN, have an entitlement to learn another language at whatever level is appropriate to their needs. Children with ASN will, of course, be entitled to support and an appropriate curriculum to help them overcome any barriers to their learning. Parents may wish to discuss this with their school as part of the normal review procedures for support planning.
We will soon be publishing a leaflet, Making languages count for my child: A guide for parents on language learning entitlement in Scotland.
Find out more about the research used to produce this leaflet and access further links supporting language learning entitlement for all learners.
Effective language learning and teaching will encourage children and young people to learn to use their literacy and language learning skills more effectively. Languages are interconnected; your child will be encouraged to see the links between languages and to recognise how languages work.
For some young people in Scotland, additional language learning from the early stages of primary school is already a normal part of life.
Languages will be embedded in the work that our children already do every day. They will use their language learning in the daily routine of the classroom as well as in projects with other curricular areas and in whole school celebrations. They will use a range of interesting, culturally relevant materials and technologies. Also, as they progress, they will use their skills to make links with local and international partners.
In primary schools, language learning will normally be provided by the classroom teacher or a teacher with responsibility for teaching a language, or a combination of both, depending on the school. In secondary schools, the teacher will be a modern languages specialist. You may also find that language assistants, people from business, parents and other language speakers from the wider community may work with the teacher to enhance your child’s language learning experience.
A positive attitude to other languages and cultures will go a long way to keeping your child interested in learning languages. In addition, you could:
- discuss the benefits of language learning.
- encourage your child to have fun with languages – label household objects, look at interesting language websites, read cartoons in another language, etc.
- ask your child to teach you what s/he has learned in school.
- challenge each other to find words in their first language that come from other languages.
- look for words that come from other languages used in advertising and packaging or in magazines, films and television programmes.
Visit the Parents section of our website for more ideas and some recommended resources.