Latest News

A selection of language-related news. Does not claim to be comprehensive or represent the views of SCILT.

Latest News

22 August 2019 (SCILT)

SCILT requires a Professional Development Officer to advise and support primary schools across Scotland with language learning and teaching. This is an exciting opportunity to work at national level and drive forward Scotland’s agenda for languages at a strategic level.

The Professional Development Officer will be responsible for developing and delivering a broad range of support measures for teachers of languages. This would include, for example, leading professional learning, managing projects, assuming responsibility for national awards/competitions and other language related events.

It is expected that the postholder will support practitioners in turning policy into practice to create a positive impact on learners. This will be based on identification of practitioners’ needs, with particular reference to the aims of the National Improvement Framework, the 1+2 languages policy and Developing the Young Workforce. The postholder would need extensive experience of leading recent modern language initiatives in a primary school context. Established expertise in creative approaches to learning, teaching and assessment is essential.

Ideally, the post holder will have experience of external partnership working with the aim of developing interesting contexts for learning and intercultural awareness. The successful candidate will be competent in the use of digital technologies and will have the ability to work not only on her/his own initiative but also as part of a team. Excellent organisational, ICT and communication skills are essential, as is an ability to be flexible and responsive to our stakeholders’ needs.

Visit the University of Strathclyde's vacancy portal for further information and to apply. Closing date: 3 September 2019.


21 August 2019 (British Academy)

As nationwide GCSE results are published, the British Academy today responds to the modest rise in students choosing to study a language in England.

A rise of 4% in entries for language GCSEs has been driven by growth in French and Spanish, although in entries in German continue to decline.

The British Academy highlights these positive signs in language take-up, but cautions that there is still a long way to go to turn around the long-term decline in language-learning in the UK, noting that 10% fewer pupils took a language GCSE in England this year than in 2014.

The fall in language GCSEs has knock-on effects for take-up at A level, which declined 5% in 2019 compared to last year, and subsequently affects the provision of modern languages in higher education, where at least 10 language departments have closed in the last decade.

While French and Spanish GCSE saw increases in entry numbers, rates of entry for other language GCSEs continued to show a small decline, suggesting that more pupils could be encouraged to take exams in languages that are a vital part of the vibrant multilingual heritage of Britain such as Polish, Arabic and Urdu.


Related Articles

Education Secretary says post-16 options better than ever, as GCSE results released (Department for Education, 22 August 2019)

GCSE results 2019: Languages enjoy surprise revival (TES, 22 August 2019)

GCSE language entries 2019 (Alcantara Communications, 22 August 2019)

ALL comments on GCSE results (ALL, 22 August 2019)

21 August 2019 (UK-German Connection)

Are your pupils interested in sustainability and in discussing the wider impact of our daily choices? UK-German Connection, in collaboration with the British Embassy in Berlin, is hosting a seminar for young people from the UK and Germany, taking place in Berlin from 1-4 November 2019.
The seminar will bring young people from the UK and Germany together to compare everyday consumer habits, explore the wider theme of sustainability and consider the challenges of living sustainably.

Key highlights include:

  • Expert-led workshops on sustainability and consumer choices
  • Excursions in Berlin on the seminar theme
  • Presenting collective ideas about sustainable consumption during an event at the British Embassy in Berlin

German language skills are not required, so the opportunity is open to pupils across the curriculum. Participants are required to pay £25 to confirm their place. Travel and accommodation costs will be met by UK-German Connection.

The deadline for applications is 16 September 2019.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information and to apply.


20 August 2019 (Lingo Flamingo)

As the Volunteer Coordinator at Lingo Flamingo, I am lucky enough to witness first hand the joys of language learning. A social enterprise with the primary mission of delivering accessible and multi-sensory language lessons to older adults, Lingo Flamingo teaches Spanish, French, Italian and German in care homes and day centres across Scotland, and believes, contrary to popular wisdom, that it’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks.

This sentiment epitomises Lingo Flamingo’s forward thinking ethos. It understands that older adults living in care homes are individuals who are able to learn new skills, and it views language learning as a powerful tool for education and enjoyment.

These ideas are genuinely radical, and are especially important in light of the abundance of myths which surround language learning, and which act as barriers to language learning for so many people.


20 August 2019 (BBC)

Google says it has made it possible for a smartphone to interpret and "read aloud" sign language.

The tech firm has not made an app of its own but has published algorithms which it hopes developers will use to make their own apps.

Until now, this type of software has only worked on PCs.

Campaigners from the hearing-impaired community have welcomed the move, but say the tech might struggle to fully grasp some conversations.


20 August 2019 (University of Edinburgh)

The Centre for Open Learning at the University of Edinburgh offers short courses in Arabic, BSL, French, Gaelic, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Russian, Spanish and 13 other languages.

Courses are two hours a week over ten weeks. Enrolment for Autumn courses (30 September – 6 December) is now open online.


19 August 2019 (TES)

Entering a classroom packed with students who have little knowledge of English is every teacher's nightmare. We know how challenging it can be to create an inclusive environment and aid those struggling with English, so we've gathered some useful resources to help you support your EAL/ESL students.


19 August 2019 (SQA)

SQA has updated Listening and Discursive Writing and Reading and Translation specimen question papers for Advanced Higher Modern Languages.

The specimen question paper updates can be accessed on the SQA Advanced Higher Modern Languages page.


19 August 2019 (RZSS)

The China Mobile Library panda packs are now available online and free! Although the expert visits and outreach have been free of charge since November 2018, the resources in the panda packs used to be either on loan or available to purchase. They are now available online to all - under the China Mobile Library section. 

Associated expert visits and outreach sessions are still free and include different materials and resources which are only available on booking. These enhance the learning from the panda packs. Free teaching training sessions can also be booked. See the attached document for more information and visit the website.


Related Files

16 August 2019 (The Pie News)

More than half of Britons are missing out on finding love abroad after a British Council poll revealed that 54% would avoid striking up a holiday romance due to language barriers.

A mere one in five of Britons would consider finding a partner who did not speak English as their first language while holidaying abroad, it also showed.

Just 17% of UK adults have found love overseas with someone who did not speak English as their first language.

A total of 41% of men said they would consider or had had a holiday romance with someone whose first language was not English, while 29% of women said the same.

Men were also less likely to be put off by potential obstacles to starting or continuing such a relationship, such as distance, travel costs, time zones and cultural differences.

“The results show that speaking another language shifts from being seen as a barrier to romance to something interesting that people want to explore in a partner,” British Council spokesperson Vicky Gough said.

“Language differences might put off half of Brits from starting a holiday romance, but if you break that barrier, nearly two-thirds (63%) would want to learn their partner’s language.”

Romantics can find hope in this year’s UK A level results – after mathematics, languages were the three best performing subjects, with 40.4% of German candidates, 36.4% French and 34.9% Spanish achieving A or A*.

“For those of us heading off on holiday abroad, learning just a few phrases of the local language could see the beginning of a whole new relationship with a person and their culture,” Gough added.


15 August 2019 (Discovery Film Festival)

Discovery is Scotland's International Film Festival for children and young people. Taking place from 19 October to 3 November 2019, the Festival is in its sixteenth year and brings another selection of the best films for young audiences from around the world. With several native language films on offer, language learners have a great opportunity to test their listening and comprehension skills.

Teachers visit the Festival website to take a look at the programme for schools. The programme contains information about associated CPD sessions taking place during August and September which you can attend prior to your school visit.


15 August 2019 (RCS Haven)

The Russian Centre in Scotland (RCS) latest news bulletin is now available to view online. It contains information on classes for adults and children who are interested in studying Russian language, literature and culture as well as news about upcoming events. 


15 August 2019 (TES)

Spanish has overtaken French as the most popular modern foreign language at A level for the first time, figures show.

A total of 8,625 candidates were entered for Spanish A level this year, compared with 8,355 entries in French. In Spanish, the number of entries increased by 4.5 per cent compared with last year, while in French, the number of entries fell by 4.1 per cent.

The change could partly be due to higher numbers of specialist Spanish teachers. Data from the Teaching Regulation Agency’s annual report and accounts published in August showed that 1,365 Spanish-born teachers received QTS in 2018-19 compared with 46 French teachers.

The news backs up provisional A-level entry data from Ofqual released in May, which showed that while Spanish rose from 7,705 to 7,995, French fell slightly, from 7,945 to 7,680. 

It also echoes predictions in a report by the British Council in December 2018 that Spanish would overtake French as the UK’s most popular language at A level.

(Note - subscription required to access the full article).


Related Articles

ALL comments on A-level results 2019 (ALL, 15 August 2019)

A-level results 2019 (Alcantra, 15 August 2019)

14 August 2019 (European Schoolnet Academy)

Are you keen on bringing innovation to your classroom but don't know where to start? Why not get involved with Code Week this October? Teachers from all subject areas with no prior experience of coding are invited to join the EU Code Week - Deep Dive MOOC run by the European Schoolnet Academy. The five-week course begins on 16 September 2019. Enrol and discover how you can incorporate coding into your subject lessons.

Visit the website for more information.


14 August 2019 (British Council)

Language barriers would stop 54 per cent of British people from having a holiday romance, according to a new poll. One British Council colleague tells us about her bilingual relationship. 

Was there a language barrier when you met your husband?

We were talking in English in the queue for a London nightclub and I realised he was probably Italian. I practised my opening line, and when he said he was Italian I said 'Oh, I knew it', in Italian.

We live together in London now. He had been in the UK for less than a year when we met, and so his English wasn't as good as it is now. My written Italian was good at the time, but I wasn't as good conversationally.


14 August 2019 (Daily Record)

Two Galloway writers are among nine scrievers nationwide to be awarded funding to support their work in Scots.

Stuart A Paterson from Kirkbean and Susi Briggs from Gatehouse have both received Scots Language Publication grants.

The scheme, funded by the Scottish Government and administered by Scottish Book Trust, was created by the Scots Language Resource Network to support Scots publishers and to encourage Scots writers.


13 August 2019 (Into Film)

The Into Film Awards is the best place to showcase young filmmaking talent, with categories designed to highlight the large pool of young creatives in the UK. Setting out to discover and honour the most talented filmmakers, reviewers, Into Film Clubs and educators, we encourage children and young people aged 5-19 from all backgrounds and with all abilities to get involved.

The 6th annual Into Film Awards will take place in March 2020, and this year sees some exciting new changes. Entering the Awards now not only gives you the chance to be nominated and join us at our star-studded ceremony in London, but this year, every single verified submission will also be entered into a prize draw to win £1,000 worth of filmmaking equipment for the filmmakers, film clubs or schools!

Visit the Into Film website for more information about the award categories and submit your entry by 6 December 2019.

The site also contains a wide range of films and teaching materials, including a selection for the languages classroom.


13 August 2019 (Education Scotland)

Inclusion in Practice is a badged professional learning module which has been designed to support equitable professional learning on inclusive practice for education practitioners in secondary schools and local authorities in Scotland.​

It is based on The CIRCLE Framework, a collaboration between practitioners in Edinburgh City, Queen Margaret University and NHS Lothian, that has been adapted for modular learning by Education Scotland.​​

Visit the Education Scotland website for more information about the resource and how to use it to improve practice.


13 August 2019 (Scottish Gaelic Awards)

The Scottish Gaelic Awards reward all aspects of the Gaelic language and culture across the length and breadth of the country.

The Daily Record, alongside headline sponsor Bòrd na Gàidhlig are proud to host the most prestigious night of the year within the Gaelic community calendar. Celebrating Gaelic culture, education and language highlighting the excellent work undertaken to maintain growth and heritage.

The awards are now in their seventh year and attended by over 200 guests including finalists, event sponsors and members of the Gaelic community. The event itself will be a celebration embracing traditional and modern entertainment.

The Scottish Gaelic Awards will take place on Tuesday 19 November at the Glasgow Marriott Hotel and returning to host the event will be Scottish Broadcaster and Producer, Cathy MacDonald.

Visit the website for more information and to view the award categories. Submit your nominations by 25 September 2019.


Related Articles

Gaelic Awards: hail the Gaels (Daily Record, 13 August 2019)

13 August 2019 (BBC)

The Scottish and Welsh governments have expressed fears over the future of the Erasmus student exchange programme in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Both administrations have jointly written to the UK education secretary to express their concerns.

The EU programme helps students study in other countries.

The UK government has guaranteed payments for successful applicants and said it is "exploring participation" in a successor scheme.

Erasmus is an EU-funded programme which enables students to either study part of their degree or undertake a work placement abroad.

About 53% of UK university students who learn abroad do so through the initiative.

Some countries which are not in the EU - including Iceland, Norway and Serbia - also take part.

The letter is signed by the Scottish higher education minister, Richard Lochhead, and the Welsh education minister, Kirsty Williams.

Both devolved administrations are opposed to a hard Brexit but if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, they would like participation in Erasmus to continue.

The letter argues that leaving the EU without a deal or an arrangement covering the scheme will result in universities, colleges, and schools being ineligible to submit applications to participate in the final year of the current Erasmus+ programme in 2020.

It says: "This will be a significant loss to both our education sectors.

"Between 2014 and 2018, Erasmus+ has enabled an estimate of over 10,000 students and staff in Wales to undertake mobility visits to benefit their learning and career development.

"In Scotland, proportionally more students take part in Erasmus+ than from any other country in the UK."

It calls for an urgent meeting of education ministers to discuss the steps being taken towards ensuring that a hard Brexit does not lead to a loss of provision and opportunities for universities, colleges and schools.


Related Articles

Concerns raised over Erasmus student scheme as no-deal Brexit looms (The Guardian, 13 August 2019)

Doubts over Erasmus+ after EU exit (Scottish Government, 13 August 2019)

13 August 2019 (The Conversation)

Rude, crude and extremely funny, “Scottish Twitter” has garnered much attention in recent years for its uniquely Celtic wit – and for the specific ways it uses language.

Journalist Eve Livingston’s recent article for The Face examines the many social and cultural features of Scottish Twitter. But the fact it has provided a medium for written Scots language to evolve in a way that wasn’t possible before the advent of social media is equally fascinating.

Scots is officially recognised as one of the minority languages of Scotland. It has existed and thrived for centuries in writing as well as speech. From poets Robert Burns, Hugh MacDiarmid and Sheena Blackhall to novelist Irvine Welsh, the language has a rich literary tradition, and even has its own dictionary. More recently, it has moved into the digital world, finding itself unexpectedly and enthusiastically embraced on social media.


11 August 2019 (The Guardian)

There’s nothing quite so guffaw-making to an Anglo-Saxon sensibility in need of its funny bone being tickled than a French worthy having a fit of the vapours.

Last week didn’t disappoint. And all over the delightful word “love”. Apparently, French online advertisers prefer it to “l’amour”, which has got the culture minister, Franck Riester, in a right royal Gallic tizzy. “In this linguistic globalisation, our duty is to refuse any tendency to move towards a single [world] language [and] any weakening of the diversity, as of cultures, in France and elsewhere.”


9 August 2019 (TES)

One head explains how a partnership with a school in Palestine has helped pupils to gain a new perspective on the world.

In the 21 years that I have worked at Lockerbie Primary School, we have developed our international curriculum to help change the perception of what most people think of when they hear Lockerbie – the air tragedy in 1988 – and instead showcase our town to the world in a more positive light and help broaden pupils’ horizons, too.

We’ve done this in numerous ways, from the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme, which provides funding to schools for international activities, to working on a number of British Council eTwinning projects, most notably Hands of the World, which brings children of the world together through music and Makaton.

But the international connection that has sparked the most joy over the years has been our link with the Al Shurooq School for Blind Children in Palestine.

The partnership began in 2005 after a series of emails between me and Al Shurooq’s founder, Helen Shehadeh. Our local minister, who met her on a visit to Bethlehem, introduced me to her.

By the end of the year, as pupils, parents and members of the wider school community looked on, I was using my mobile phone and a microphone to talk to Helen during our Christmas assembly. Two of our P7 pupils, aged 11, then spoke with two pupils from Al Shurooq about their respective schools and how they celebrate the festive season, before wishing each other a “happy and peaceful Christmas”. It was one of the most moving moments in my whole career.

Around five years ago we moved on to focused, whole-school joint curricular projects after Ruba Aburdeinah was appointed as the new director at Al Shurooq.

These mini-projects have primarily centred on the United Nations’ International Day of Peace in September. Every year each of my 12 primary classes, plus our nursery classes and Learning Centre for children aged 2-18 with complex and continuing needs, exchanges work on the theme of peace with a different partner school from around the world. Last year, we exchanged items with schools in 15 different countries, with our Learning Centre pupils making “peace postcards” to send to Al Shurooq.

Music has proved to be a unifying force, too, with students using the World Voice Songbook to learn about each other’s cultures through traditional songs in each other’s language.

We have also enhanced pupils’ understanding of life in Palestine through the Culture in a Box project. This eTwinning initiative asks pupils to choose 10 items they think best represent their culture and explain why. These items then go into a shoebox, which is exchanged with boxes from schools in other countries.

Refugee Week is also an important focus for us, once again prompted by our connection with Al Shurooq. This year we took part in Refugee Week’s Ration Challenge, which asked people to eat and drink the same as a Syrian refugee living in a camp in Jordan for a week. Our class teachers also led themed activities throughout the week and we invited parents and the wider community to attend a Time for Reflection assembly.

(Note - subscription required to access full article).


9 August 2019 (The Guardian)

They were there for him. Jürgen Klopp, the manager of Liverpool, has credited Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, Monica, Joey and Chandler with teaching him English. Watching the long-running sitcom Friends helped him bridge the gaps in his language comprehension, he told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Football Daily podcast on Wednesday. “The easiest to follow for Germans in English is Friends. It’s easy conversation. You can understand pretty much each word, pretty early,” he said.

Friends is, in fact, a time-honoured English teacher. Both Luis Severino of the New York Yankees baseball team, who is from the Dominican Republic, and the Venezuelan Wilmer Flores, formerly of the rival Mets, have spoken about learning colloquial language from the show. (Flores, who has said he watches Friends almost daily, even changed his walk-up music to the theme tune by the Rembrandts.)


8 August 2019 (TES/British Council)

We believe every young person should have intercultural and international experience. As the UK’s cultural relations organisation, the British Council creates opportunities for schools and teachers in the UK and worldwide to connect and work together to share ideas and practices.

Our range of international education programmes can help develop teaching skills with funded professional development, connect schools across the globe and bring language learning to life.

TES and the British Council have joined forces to explore different ways to bring the world into the classroom and open the door to a host of international learning opportunities.

Visit the TES and British Council websites to access a wide range of resources and information.


8 August 2019 (eTwinning)

British Council is giving away free classroom resources to UK teachers to help kick start an international project. Culture in a Box is a ready-made, easy-to-run project, making it easy for your class to exchange aspects of UK culture with that of another school in one (or more) eTwinning countries. The resource is designed to help you to kick start an international project with pre-prepared, cross-curricular activities spanning key stages one to five.

Register on the eTwinning platform before 15 September 2019. The 'Culture in a Box' ready-made resource will then be posted to your school in September.

Visit the website for more information.


8 August 2019 (The Pie News)

Despite headlines reporting drops in language studies in schools across the UK, youngsters from secondary schools around the UK are continuing to travel overseas in busloads, educational tour operators have said. And Spain – and its language – is becoming increasingly popular.

However, concerns surrounding Brexit and safety have caused issues of their own, and the lower uptake of languages at GCSE level is reflected in language travel industry trends.

The British Council’s Language Trends 2019 report found that entries for GCSE languages had declined by 19% over the past five years. French and German GCSE candidate levels saw reductions of 30%, the report explained.

“Spanish language trips are getting very close to the demand for French language”

At A-level, between 2017 and 2018, German was down by 16%, French by 7%,  and Spanish by 3%. However, provisional entry figures for 2019 show Spanish candidate numbers increasing by 10% and French increasing by 4%.

German instead is set to continue to fall by 2.5%.

Of the 776 primary schools and 845 secondary schools surveyed for this report, 8% said they had offered school trips abroad in the previous year.

In last year’s survey, that number was 12%, but more respondents were included in the 2019 report.

Michelle Evans, head of product & marketing at educational tour operator NST noted that a large proportion of its language trips were for students under GCSE age.

“Teachers are trying to engage the students in lower secondary years in languages, so that they can encourage them to take that subject at GCSE,” she told The PIE News.


8 August 2019 (Institut français)

The Institut français d'Ecosse is now enrolling for their autumn term classes. Unsure of your level? Take the free online placement test. Visit the website for more information.


7 August 2019 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française in Glasgow is now enrolling for autumn term courses. Follow the relevant link below for more information:

6 August 2019 (TESS)

Higher computing entries fall by 21%. Setting aside computing, the sciences fared better in terms of changes in uptake than the social subjects.

French experienced a 10% dip in entries, whilst Spanish saw a 9% increase from last year.


12 August 2019 (SCILT/CISS)

On Monday 8 July 2019, SCILT and CISS opened the doors to our beautiful new location in The Ramshorn, right in the heart of Glasgow’s Merchant City.

Our new location provides us with more space to house our team, with new development officers joining us soon. It will also enable us to host meetings, showcases and events, on-site, with all the latest technology at our fingertips.

This renovated, former church is steeped in history, and funding from Hanban (Confucius Institute Headquarters) and the University of Strathclyde has breathed new life into the 200-year-old building. Within easy walking distance from both Queen Street and Central stations in Glasgow, it will be very easy for our stakeholders and friends to visit. We look forward to welcoming you very soon.

Our new address is: SCILT | The Ramshorn | 98 Ingram Street | University of Strathclyde | Glasgow | G1 1EX. All our telephone numbers remain the same.

We have shared some images below to give you a flavour of our new home in this well-known landmark.


SCILT office

CISS office

Exhibition area

Exhibition area

Meeting room


Meeting room



Stained glass windows

Entrance on Ingram St

12 August 2019 (SCILT)

We have launched our new-look website this week. The stylish new design takes on board feedback from stakeholders, preserves the centre’s colour-scheme and, most importantly, is mobile-friendly. It is the result of a year-long project, and we are excited to share the outcomes with you.

The process was rigorous. We began by consulting the University’s Enhanced Web Development Service, who supported the existing website. This was followed by a year-long consultation with primary and secondary practitioners and other interested parties, through focus groups and online questionnaires. The results were fascinating. We were pleased to receive comments such as, “the site is very user friendly and I use it often to keep up to date”, “[the site] has trustworthy resources on it and lots of important information that is easily accessible”, and “[it is] an excellent resource – the most challenging thing for me is making the time to look at it regularly!

We received much helpful criticism, which we have tried to address. “There’s a lot of text which makes it seem a bit heavy going. A lot of clicks to get through to other info too” and “The website is a little ‘dry’ looking. More pictures and a more aesthetically pleasing font would help this”. Further, feedback on website content included, “Parental engagement is a very current issue and more advice on that would be so useful” as well as “Offering more CPD opportunities for teachers and students to showcase their progress in the teaching and learning of languages through the website would support me in my role”. Thanks to everyone who was involved in this process.

Overall, it was heartening to hear that so many of our target audience visit the website regularly and find it useful and easy to navigate, and we were keen to build on this and ensure that content on the new site should be relevant and accessible. Now, after a year of work led by our information officer, Sarah Macfarlane, we reach an exciting moment, and we are delighted that the website is unveiled now and ready for you to explore.

Our regular visitors should be happy to discover that their favourite sections remain, albeit with a new look. Our news pages continue to be updated on a daily basis with all the latest language-related news, opportunities, events and resources. Our job profiles are now easier to navigate using a drop-down menu. Our regular competitions and awards are presented in a more visually appealing format.

We are pleased to introduce some new features to you. The website now has a tailored search function, meaning you will be able to find exactly what you are looking for, quickly and easily. We have a new section aimed directly at parents, and a separate, additional section to support practitioners in parental engagement. And don’t forget to check out our new professional learning opportunities for session 2019-20

Work is still ongoing. Over the coming months we will update content in the Senior Phase. Look out also for further information on the exciting new Languages Employability Award. Thanks to everyone who has been involved in informing our work. If you would like to add your voice, or provide feedback on the new site, or if you have noticed anything out-of-place, please do get in touch through our feedback form. We would love to hear from you.

5 August 2019 (SCILT)

Thirty-five teachers from 18 local authorities and 2 independent schools across Scotland attended a four-day-long summer school at the University of Strathclyde School of Education at the beginning of July 2019. The summer school takes forward the recommendations from the Scottish Government’s flagship policy, “Language learning in Scotland: A 1+2 approach” by building capacity and leadership within the teaching profession.

The summer school marks the start of a 12-month professional learning programme, “The 1+2 languages leadership programme”, delivered by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, in partnership with Education Scotland. The programme engages lead language educators in designing, promoting and supporting the provision of effective language learning experiences for young people and high quality professional learning for in- and pre-service teachers.

Content is a balance of theory, research, policy and practice relevant to language learning and as such, it carries accreditation from the General Teaching Council Scotland. Key themes at the summer school this time were parental engagement, inclusive practice and interdisciplinary contexts for language learning.

Opening the summer school, Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT explained: “Now more than ever it is vital that, as educators, we equip Scotland’s children and young people with the skills they will require to operate globally. The languages leadership programme develops language advocates so they can make a powerful argument for language learning and empowers them to influence their local decision makers. The participants leave the programme informed by the latest thinking on policy, theory and practice and able to network and share ideas with peers from across the country.”

Louise Glen, Senior Education Officer (Literacy and Languages) at Education Scotland said: “The Languages Leadership Programme offers a unique opportunity for those interested in leading on languages at school, cluster or local authority level, to examine 1+2 policy in detail and make informed decisions on how the Scottish Government’s ambitious vision for language learning can be realised in their own setting. In terms of CLPL, participants benefit from gaining an overview of not only how the policy is progressing nationally, but also of how language learning contributes to closing the attainment gap and how to evaluate language provision in their own setting, with an eye to ensuring full implementation by 2021.”

In its seventh run in six years, the summer school offered workshops and presentations delivered by Dundee City Council, Education Scotland, Institut Français d’Ecosse, Liberton High School, North Ayrshire Council, St Ambrose High School, St Winning’s Primary School, University of Edinburgh and University of Glasgow.

Scottish Government's ambition is to expand and improve language learning by 2021, so that young people are equipped with the skills and competencies they need in an increasingly globalised world. From 2021 every child will be entitled to learn a first additional language from P1 and a second by P5. This entitlement continues until the end of S3. This ambition contributes significantly to the Scottish Attainment Challenge agenda.



31 July 2019 (The Guardian)

Just after the first world war, the UK produced its most comprehensive review of languages provision, the Leathes report. In the Brexit era we’re now faced yet again with different ideological, cultural and economic battles that have us examining our languages capacity, and discovering it falls well short of what is required.

After Brexit we will need a strong language base for trade, international relations and soft power. Yet instead of a growth in languages, we’re experiencing steep decline: the number of modern languages undergraduates fell by 54% between 2008–9 and 2017–18. With fewer students applying, at least 10 modern languages departments have closed in the last decade (the University of Hull is the most recent casualty), and many others have shrunk in size or reduced their range of languages. By one estimate, the number of German units has halved from more than 80 in 2002 to fewer than 40 today.

Second, if Brexit and the debate over the Irish backstop have taught us anything, it is that we need subject specialists with language skills – lawyers, economists, geographers, engineers, and business graduates with the language skills to understand, negotiate, and argue the details.

Third, we urgently need more language graduates with at least two languages to degree level to teach in schools and rebuild and sustain primary and secondary languages. At present we risk most state schools offering pupils only one language to GCSE and many offering none at all to A-level, in a way that would never be tolerated for the sciences.

To win back students, a new approach is needed. 


5 July 2019 (AHRC)

UCMLS, SCILT and AHRC's evaluation of four collaborative language promotional initiatives is now available. The Working Together for Languages report covers the impact of these initiatives on learner attitudes and uptake in secondary school after a three-year collaboration from 2014-15 up to 2016-17. The report can be accessed on the AHRC website.


31 May 2019 (SCILT/OU)

We are happy to announce that registration is now open for the OU/SCILT primary languages course, which will be running again from October 2019. In light of positive feedback and popularity of the first year of the course, we are now also delighted to offer a second year, post-beginners’ course. The latter would be suitable for those who have successfully completed year 1 and wish to continue their studies, or for those who are looking to begin studying at a more advanced level.

  • The courses will run from October 2019 to July 2020, and will develop language and pedagogy skills; language learning is provided by the Open University and pedagogy is provided by SCILT.  The courses are aligned to the Scottish curriculum and support the 1+2 languages approach.
  • Both courses are delivered online with two opportunities to attend face-to-face day schools. 
  • Learning is very flexible and participants can study at a time and place of their choosing.
  • Each course carries a fee of £252, reflecting the input and student support for the language and pedagogy strands from both organisations.

Funding may be sponsored through your school or Local Authority who can register on your behalf.   Initial registration information must be submitted to the OU by Monday 17 June 2019 and LAs should contact  
Students also have the option to fund the fee themselves. In this case, an interested teacher should contact the OU directly at

Here is some further information:

Beginners level

  • will be offered in a choice of four languages - French, German, Spanish and Mandarin plus study of primary pedagogy with direct application in the classroom.
  • takes students to the end of the equivalent to level A1 of the Common European Reference Framework for Languages.
  • allows students to gain 15 university credits for the language study.
  • also gives students the option to gain GTCS recognition for the pedagogy study; all students will receive a certificate on successful completion from SCILT.
  • study hours will be approximately five hours per week, including time spent on the direct application of the new skills in the classroom.

Post-beginners level

  • teachers who have started studying one language in the beginners level of the course would need to continue studying the same language at post-beginners level.
  • teachers who already have some basic knowledge in one of the four languages can directly enrol on the post-beginners level course to further develop their skills in that language and learn about primary languages pedagogy (without having to have studied beginners level).
  • will follow the same format as the beginners level course and will be offered in the same four languages (French, German, Mandarin and Spanish).
  • will teach primary languages pedagogy in more depth and cover:
    • the skills of writing and reading,
    • IDL with a special focus on outdoor learning as well as links with other key subject areas through CLIL,
    • learning and teaching of languages in multilingual contexts/communities.
  • will have the same:
    • number of study hours,
    • assessment structure,
    • accreditation with 15 university credits,
    • optional GTCS recognition for the pedagogy strand, as above ;
  • in their language study, students will reach the equivalent of the end of level A2 of the Common European Reference Framework for Languages (end of post-beginner level).
  • after completing both courses, students would then be in a good position to go on to study one of the standard language courses at the OU should they want to improve their knowledge of the language even further.

Course codes are as follows:

Beginners level

LXT192 French

LXT193 German

LXT197 Mandarin

LXT194 Spanish

Post-beginners level

LXT191 (language choice will come as a second step once students have registered)

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University of Strathclyde Education Scotland British Council Scotland The Scottish Government
SCILT - Scotlands National centre for Languages