Looks at how teachers across sectors have worked creatively and collaboratively to ensure that their learners are afforded their full entitlement to learning two languages.
View this Case Study through the tabs below or download as a PDF:
CaseStudy focus: Diversity of languages within 1+2
Establishments: Keith Grammar School and associated primaries
Learners’ stage/s: P1-S6
Keith Grammar School is a small, rural, non-denominational secondary school with a roll of approximately 420. The young people who attend the school typically live in SIMD 4-7. There are six associated primaries, two in Keith and four in the surrounding area. The school promotes an inclusive policy where the school and local community are encouraged to work together to provide young people with academic and vocational opportunities. Strong links with local businesses and employers contribute to high numbers of young people moving into positive destinations after leaving school.
As the secondary school is small, there are currently only two languages teachers in post. While this does have implications for how the school is building their 1+2 curriculum, the teachers have worked creatively and collaboratively to ensure that their learners are afforded their full entitlement to learning two languages.
Children in Keith Primary School study German from P1 as L2, while the L2 in the other five associated primaries is French. This approach maximises the capacity of existing staff who also benefit from the support of a German Educational Trainee (GET) and some input from a French Modern Language Assistant. There is a strong culture of language learning in the Associated Schools Group (ASG) which is supported by the secondary department.
The school has made good progress in planning how to introduce additional languages in the BGE. Staff believe there is effective transition between P7 and S1 and all learners have their full entitlement to L2 until the end of S3.
Learners also have the opportunity to achieve the ‘Building your own employability skills’ unit from the Modern Languages for Life and Work Award (MLLWA) in S3 through the school’s Universal Pupil Support programme.
There are many opportunities for learners to study French or German in the senior phase, and beyond through the school’s Wider Aspects option. Learners also have the opportunity to study both French and German as each language is timetabled in different columns.
Both languages can be studied as part of MLLWA or as an SQA national qualification up to Advanced Higher.
In addition, some learners have enrolled for the Open University’s Young Applicants in School Scheme (YASS).
The department also offers extra-curricular support in German as part of the skills section of the Duke of Edinburgh Award. This gives learners a foundation on which to build, should they wish to study German at National 5 or Higher level later in the senior phase.
Pupils appreciate this flexibility and the variety of progression pathways for languages ensures a high uptake in the senior phase.
The Modern Languages Department has the full support of senior management and the local authority in planning provision for language learning. Young people in Keith Grammar learn in an environment where language learning is widely regarded as a valuable skill for life and work.
All learners continue with the language they have studied at primary school until the end of S3. However, as the secondary department has limited teaching capacity, and there is little flexibility within the timetable structure at the moment to offer an additional language in the BGE, the department explored ways of introducing L3 in the BGE in consultation with the ASG.
The decision was taken that L3 in P5-P7 would be Scots. The staff in the English department have specialist knowledge of Scots language and agreed to work collaboratively to share their expertise with primary colleagues. There are strong progression pathways for Scots into the senior phase, where learners have the opportunity to achieve the Scots Language Award at National 4 and 5. Scots language is also an inherent part of the area’s culture and Keith was in fact named Scotland’s first Scots Toun in 2014. Therefore, the decision to opt for Scots as L3 made perfect sense in this context.
Staff in the department are hugely committed to the pupils and this is clear in their strategy for upskilling primary colleagues in a sustainable manner.
Secondary colleagues ran a series of French and German language sessions in 2016-17 for all primary staff, to support the teaching of L2. This gave colleagues the opportunity to build meaningful relationships across the ASG and be supported throughout the process. 1+2 funding was used to pay secondary teachers supported study rates for preparation and delivery of these sessions.
Primary colleagues have access on Glow to all the resources used for the language sessions, as well as resources developed by the local authority and the GETs. Audio files are available to support teachers, along with resources which include story packs and books. Primary colleagues will also work in session 2017-18 with the English department to implement Scots as L3 in P5-7.
SCILT has helped establish partnerships with local businesses. This helps address Developing the Young Workforce priorities and provides learners with a real-life context for their learning as well as demonstrating the need for language skills in their local community. As a result of these links, learners achieve the ‘Building your own employability skills’ unit, which forms part of MLLWA.
Language sessions form part of the primary schools’ improvement plan and are also part of the schools’ collegiate time. Primary teachers are hugely positive about delivering L2 and the support they have been given to enable them to do so. They are passionate about the positive impact this is having on their pupils and are now taking a detailed look at planning for progression and sustaining the level of language acquired so far.
Learners have a hugely positive approach to their language learning. They appreciate the passion and enthusiasm shown by the department and also the level of support they are offered. Through the range of progression pathways provided, and the community business links, the department at Keith Grammar has successfully instilled in learners an appreciation and enthusiasm towards language learning. Learners understand how learning a new language provides them with key skills for life and work as well as developing their literacy skills.
Keith Grammar in partnership with associated primaries must now identify how language learning links into national improvement priorities to strengthen their whole sector approach to language learning.
The Glow page should continue to be developed to allow colleagues, who are not yet engaging with it, to collaborate and support each other through the question and answer section.
Consultation on the implementation of a 33 period week is on-going. Once approved, this change will allow the department to offer French, German or Spanish as L3 in addition to Scots. This would therefore give learners more personalisation and choice in terms of the range of languages from which they can choose.
The Principal Teacher is seeking involvement in the curricular strategy group to ensure the place of languages as a key part of curricular planning.
In response to feedback from primary colleagues, this year there will be less input from secondary specialists and more time for collaboration with stage partners, with on-going support from secondary specialists.
Secondary colleagues will continue to build on developing strong transition links. This will ensure that they build on the prior learning that has taken place in the primary sector. The ASG working group will look at ways of tracking progress as children and young people continue along their language learning journeys.
The Modern Languages department at Keith Grammar Schools is staffed with two full-time members of staff. One of the teachers has French and German and the other has French and Spanish.
Access Keith Grammar School’s curricular map