Author: James Scott
Date of Publication: June 2015
Series Title: Scottish Languages Review
Notes: Issue 29
Drawing upon a substantial evidence base and employing both quantitative and qualitative methods, this paper examines the post-war ‘rise and fall’ cycles of Modern Language (ML) uptake and attainment in Scotland in the context of both political and educational governance of Scottish education at national, local authority and school levels. The paper provides a systematic attempt to gather the available evidence on patterns of ML enrolment and attainment and the causes of these patterns. The findings of the paper suggest a strong link between the fluctuating nature and quality of Scottish politico-educational governance and the periods of growth and decline in Modern Languages. These findings are of particular interest as the current downward trends in ML uptake and attainment are nearing levels only once reached before in the late 1980s. The paper offers some insights into why this may be the case and how these issues might be addressed.