The principal teacher was pro-active in seeking out opportunities for engagement with the associated school group in the early stages of the implementation of 1+2. She also attends cluster meetings when the agenda is relevant to the 1+2 policy or language curriculum planning more generally.
At Douglas Academy, French is the main language offered while the second additional language has traditionally been Italian. However, the decision was taken at cluster level to implement Spanish as L3 because everyone in the department is qualified to teach it.
Learner voice has a big influence on improvement planning in the Modern Languages department and there is a departmental pupil council. Therefore, the decision to replace Italian with Spanish was taken after consultation with pupils themselves. This allows for better articulation and progression for both Spanish and French and allows the secondary teachers to build on prior learning.
In order to aspire to the principles of CfE, the secondary curriculum has been designed to offer an interesting range of elective courses. Each course is allocated one period per week for a ten week block during S1 and S2. This provided the languages department with an ideal opportunity to include provision for L3 without impacting negatively on the time allocated to L2.
Listen to staff talking about the planning process:
Pupils choose eight from a range of 11 electives on offer throughout the first two years of the secondary school. There is therefore, an opportunity for everyone to have an experience of L3 in Spanish and Mandarin during the broad general education. Learners can choose to study electives in both languages over the two years.
Each elective class is capped at 20 learners and the work covers all four skill areas with the main focus being on talking and listening. There is also a strong emphasis on culture and festivals. The courses are designed to make the subject appealing to younger pupils so they are encouraged to opt for languages as they progress further up the school.
There are a variety of language options available after S2. There are three periods of language allocated to both French and Spanish in S3 and S4, meaning that dual linguists are allocated 6 periods of language study per week. Additionally, learners have the option of studying Italian, French and Spanish in S5 and S6.
The school has used 1+2 funding to invest in building the capacity of staff. Secondary teachers designed a course to upskill primary colleagues in Spanish using language teaching pedagogy that could be transferred to their primary classes. The course was offered to all teachers in the cluster and ran for one hour a week over ten weeks. Those who took part will take a lead role in driving languages forward in their schools.
A member of the department is assigned 2 periods a week for cluster working. The time is used to spend a 6 week block in each primary. 2 weeks are allocated for planning, 2 for delivery and 2 for evaluation of a language unit. The unit is usually delivered to P7, with primary and secondary staff co-op teaching.
The department has invested in extra online provision with 1+2 funding contributing towards the costs. They have also developed a local authority Glow page to share resources and to support one another.
Hear staff talk about the implementation process::
and the liaison between primary and secondary colleagues:
Meet some of the pupils involved:
and listen to their experience:
along with their thoughts on Language Learning: