Following a manifesto commitment in September 2011, the Government set up a Languages Working Group (LWG) to consider how to deliver a ‘1+2’ languages model, whereby children are able to learn two additional languages in addition to their mother tongue by 2020. The LWG recommended that a Strategic Implementation Group (SIG) be established to develop an engagement strategy and oversee delivery of the 1+2 policy commitment.
In January 2016 the members of this SIG (Education) agreed that a successful language policy in schools is necessary but is not sufficient to ensure sustained implementation of languages. As a result, a second group called the SIG Wider Engagement Network was created to take forward some of the actions concerning direct engagement with employers and industry, further and higher education, and community partners.
Attitudes to and perceptions about learning a language need to change in society as a whole. All stakeholders need to be convinced of the necessity and benefits of language learning for the individual and for Scotland’s economy and standing in the world. The SIG Wider Engagement Network aims to change attitudes towards languages in wider society.
This includes key issues such as, but not limited to:
- Promoting life-long language learning in all educational establishments (from early years to degree level) and within the workplace
- Endorsing language and culture as key skills to grow the Scottish economy, increase trade and exporting, and enhance the future prosperity of Scotland and our influence in the world
- Raising awareness of opportunities for and value of international mobility and experiences
- Promoting the significance of intercultural competences
- Developing a shared commitment to supporting employers and industry to engage with languages
- Recognising the important role that charities and community groups play in supporting language learning, including maintenance of mother tongue, heritage and minority languages