Latest News

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

Latest News

3 December 2021 (SCILT)

SCILT launched our latest toolkit at two events this week, one for young people and one for parents/carers/teachers. The toolkit and events are part of our three-year Generation Global project, which seeks to address the gap in intercultural and language skills that we have in this country.

In the preceding two years of the project, we have published toolkits to support business leaders and careers advisers/school managers. This latest toolkit 'Making your future brighter with languages'  is designed to give young people, parents and carers information, ideas and advice about learning languages; why it is important and how to go about it. As well as this, the toolkit includes a series of short video clips of young professionals talking about the relevance and value of languages and intercultural skills in their career areas. All of this aims to support the young people who are our ‘Generation Global’, our dual-competency workforce of the future.

The launch events this week were recorded, and recordings will be available on our website shortly.

Access the toolkit 


3 December 2021 (UWS)

The University of the West of Scotland (UWS) is once again organising the world-wide Mathematics and Language competition “Mathématiques sans Frontières” in Scotland (and also branching out to England and Northern Ireland!).

We are hopeful that, after an interrupted competition in 2021, we continue to offer a stimulating and light-hearted competition which combines Mathematics and Modern Languages.

For those of you who have not taken part previously, this competition aims to motivate pupils in these subjects, promote teamwork throughout pupils of all abilities, and bridge borders between countries across the world.

Please find attached a training (“Discovery”) test for “Mathématiques Sans Frontières” and one entry form for the competition proper.

S4 classes should attempt questions 1-10 and S5 classes questions 1-13. A whole class should attempt the test with questions divided up between groups to ensure that the questions can be completed in the allotted time of 90 minutes. Question 1 will require an explanation in a foreign language. We hope that this encourages cross-curricular working and teamwork. Answers are also attached, in French, which provides another opportunity for teamwork in the translation.

The competition proper will be held on Thursday 10 March 2022. Social-distancing restrictions permitting, the prize-giving will be held in June at UWS when the achievements of the top ten schools at each level are recognised. All schools competing will receive a certificate.

Schools who would like to register for the competition are kindly requested to complete the proforma attached and return by 28 January 2021.

We will send out the actual test as a PDF file by e-mail on the Friday prior to the test. This has proved to be very popular and we intend continuing to issue the test in this format. We would therefore kindly ask you to ensure that the e-mail address provided is legible or, preferably, typed. It would also be beneficial to provide an alternative e-mail address, possibly a personal address, which may help prevent firewall issues.

We hope you will give serious consideration to entering the competition and look forward to hearing from you.

Related Files

2 December 2021 (SCILT)

Are you looking for ways to bring the festive season to your languages classroom?

SCILT have compiled a range of online resources for use with your pupils, from interactive advent calendars and games, to lesson plans and festive facts. Find out how Christmas is celebrated in France, Germany, Spain and around the world!


30 November 2021 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française in Glasgow is running online Revision Courses in February for pupils who are due to sit their Higher and Advanced Higher oral examinations in 2022.

Visit their website for more information and to book.


30 November 2021 (Twinkl/SCILT/Bilingualism Matters)

What does it mean to be bilingual? Bilingualism is knowing more than one language and the way it affects us is far from simple! Find out all about the different ways we can be bilingual, the effects of bilingualism and some of the benefits to us all with our amazing resources developed for use at First Level alongside the experts at Bilingualism Matters, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, and our teacher team here at Twinkl. The resources are available in English and Gaelic for use in GME contexts and are an ideal way to start celebrating the linguistic landscape in your school.


29 November 2021 (Gleans Alba)

Gaelic L2 and L3 schools the latest Gleans Challenge is here. Why not have a go at singing our Winter song or make your own colourful bodach-sneachda! 


29 November 2021 (Stephen Spender Trust)

The Stephen Spender Trust is delighted to be offering a series of webinars for UK teachers for the first time in early 2022, funded by the Foyle Foundation. There are dedicated webinars for Secondary MFL teachers, Secondary English teachers, and Primary teachers.

The 3-webinar course will follow SST's Decode-Translate-Create model, which makes creative translation accessible and easy to adapt to different ages and levels. The first session is scheduled for 12 January 2022.

Visit the website for more information and to register. Sessions are free, but in signing up please note you are committing to attend all three.


27 November 2021 (The National)

A qualification for British Sign Language (BSL) should be introduced into the Scottish curriculum, SNP delegates agreed.

More children should be taught BSL in primary and secondary schools as well as promoting the job as a BSL interpreter as a career pathway could help plug the current gaps.

Brian Ferguson, South Lanarkshire councillor, was the first deaf BSL user elected to a council in Scotland.

He told delegates, through BSL, that despite there being an estimated 6000 deaf BSL users in Scotland who need interpreting services, there are only around 50 to 60 interpreters.

This means there is one interpreter for every 109 deaf BSL users.


26 November 2021 (Light Bulb Languages)

Write Away! is an exciting project from Light Bulb Languages. It's a magazine celebrating the writing that primary children do in their language lessons.

Submissions for issue 8 are now being accepted. Visit the website for submission guidelines and submit work by Friday 10 December 2021.

Previous issues of Write Away! can also be viewed on the website along with lots of language resources for the primary classroom.


26 November 2021 (SCILT)

Congratulations to everyone who took part in our Words for the World competition.

The standard of entries was incredibly high, with a wide range of formats submitted and an array of languages. We can be proud of the linguistic diversity we have here in Scotland and the creativity and passion our young people demonstrated for protecting our planet, our humanity and creating a brighter future for us all. We were truly humbled and inspired by their work.

Judging proved exceptionally difficult, but we were delighted to announce the winning entries at an online awards event last week. Well done again to the following who were successful in their respective categories and thank you to every pupil who participated in the competition. 


  • Winner - Leena Valluri, Goodlyburn Primary
  • Highly commended - The Glasgow Academy Newlands & Milngavie class entry


  • Winner - Zofia Zajac, St Patrick's Primary
  • Highly commended - Sophie McGrath, St Vincent's Primary
  • Highly commended - Tristan Naylor, Hyndland Primary


  • Winner - Oriana Strahan, Largs Academy 
  • Highly commended - Deepak Krisna Kummar, Craigmount High 


  • Winner - Daniel Smith, Alva Academy
  • Highly commended - Aiman Mohammad, Renfrew High 

26 November 2021 (SCILT)

The latest edition of the SCILT newsletter is here!

Read about SCILT’s work to support the learning and teaching of languages, including our professional learning opportunities, our motivating competitions and our online events. Find out how schools celebrated European Day of Languages 2021, and hear from local authorities about their latest inspiring initiatives including projects involving STEM, virtual live lessons and links with business. There is also the opportunity to read about the work our partners have been doing to support language learning in Scotland, including links to free resources and online learning opportunities.


26 November 2021 (SCILT)

The SCILT Professional Development Team is thrilled to announce that in spring 2022, we will host a series of four free online workshops, each on a different aspect of primary languages pedagogy.

The workshops are open to any primary teacher or student primary teacher in Scotland. You can attend as many of the workshops in the series as you like. You must register for each workshop separately by clicking on the links below. 

  • Workshop 1: Assessing progress in primary languages
    4-5pm, Wednesday 26 January 2022
    We will explore some assessment approaches and tools. We will look at examples of listening, talking, reading and writing in L2 by primary learners. We will refer to Education Scotland’s Modern Languages early – second level benchmarks and first – second level progression framework.
  • Workshop 2: Engaging cultural contexts for primary language learning
    4-5pm, Wednesday 23 February 2022
    We will look at interdisciplinary approaches to support language learning. We will explore a range of activities and resources to develop children’s intercultural understanding, awareness of cultural diversity and multilingualism both globally and locally. We will share examples of current practice in Scottish schools.
  • Workshop 3: Parental engagement for family learning in languages at primary
    4-5pm, Wednesday 27th April 2022
    We will consider the positive impact that parental engagement and family learning with languages can have on pupils and their families. We will consider the importance of parental engagement in relation to other initiatives within Scottish Education, mainly raising attainment and will share examples of current practice on how schools are engaging with parents/families through languages.
  • Workshop 4: Making languages work for your primary pupils: DYW and 1+2
    4-5pm Wednesday 25th May 2022
    We will look at how your school can make meaningful connections between the language learning and the Developing the Young Workforce agenda, and maybe pick up a Scottish Languages Employability Award along the way! Be inspired by examples from primary schools across the country.

All workshops will take place on Microsoft Teams and will not be recorded.

See attached workshop series flyer which can be distributed to colleagues.

Related Files

25 November 2021 (Geographical)

An overlap between populations of grizzly bears and Indigenous groups points to a wider phenomenon known as 'biocultural diversity'.

When scientists started to work in the dense pine forests of British Columbia to analyse the DNA of grizzly bears, they discovered three distinct, genetically different groups. The bears were spread across an area of 23,500 square kilometres – land that falls within the territories of the Nuxalk, Haílzaqv, Kitasoo/Xai’xais, Gitga’at, and Wuikinuxv Indigenous nations, groups associated with three Indigenous language families. This latter fact proved to be hugely significant.

According to Lauren Henson, a researcher at the Rainforest Conservation Foundation, who co-led the study, none of the geographical divides that you might think would explain the formation of three different bear groups – water barriers, terrain ruggedness, ice or snow – turned out to have any real relevance. Instead, ‘the genetic groups of grizzly bears actually corresponded to the spatial locations of Indigenous language families.’ She believes that this is the first time that a species’ genetic co-occurrence with human language has been documented. The research indicates that both bears and people maintain familial links to territories that have been passed down through generations. It suggests a parallel in the resources used by both bears and people, but also a cultural equivalency between the two.


25 November 2021 (TES)

A group of nine influential education organisations, including headteachers' unions and three exam boards, have united to call on the government to rethink its reforms of GCSE modern foreign languages.

The group - which has issued a joint statement calling on the government to rethink the "risky" plans today - includes the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) as well as three exam boards (AQA, Pearson Edexcel and WJEC Eduqas).

Language associations such as the Association for Language Learning, the Independent Schools Modern Languages Association and the National Association of Language Advisers) have also called for revisions to the proposals.

In March, the government launched new draft subject content to make French, German and Spanish GCSEs “more accessible and motivating for students”.

Proposals included “streamlining” course content so that students would only be tested on what they have been taught, with pupils “expected to know” up to 1,700 different words in the language.

In April, during an online panel discussion of the changes hosted by AQA, experts warned that the changes could leave pupils being able to "talk about almost nothing".


25 November 2021 (Institut français)

The Institut français du Royaume-Uni invites primary and secondary schools in the UK to reflect on the topics of the Night of Ideas 2022 and submit short audio clips (1 min 30 max) based on a set of questions and answers around one of the four sub-themes.

Selected clips will feature during the Little Night of Ideas event to be staged simultaneously in Paris, London, Edinburgh and multiple cities across the world, taking place on Thursday 27 January 2022.

Visit the website for more information and to register participation by 29 November 2021.


23 November 2021 (France 24)

60% of the world's population is considered bilingual. According to scientists, these are people who use two or more languages regularly in their daily lives, even if the level is not perfect. FRANCE 24's Health Editor Julia Sieger explains the benefits of a bilingual brain.


23 November 2021 (Scottish Book Trust)

We’re on the lookout for talented young folk aged 11–18 writing and creating in Scots.

Are you a Scots writer with stories to share? Or a teacher working with young writers we should know about? Enter the Young Scots Writer o the Year Award.

We’re looking for stories, poems, spoken word pieces, comics, videos or other pieces of writing – we want to see it all, as long as it’s in Scots and under 1000 words or five minutes.

Visit the Scottish Book Trust website for more information. Submissions accepted until 24 June 2022.


23 November 2021 (University of Dundee)

At the University of Dundee, we have a long-established tradition of language teaching, both with students at the University and via distance learning. We offer the opportunity of learning languages at various levels via Distance learning. We use a combination of online tools to give students a range of experiences in the language. Experienced staff are responsible for the course design, delivery and student support.

Short Courses:

  • If you are interested in starting to learn a new language, you could enrol in our 25-Week Intensive distance learning courses (Languages modules offered in Chinese, French, Gaelic, German and Spanish). These courses start in the week commencing 10 January 2022. Registration is now open.
  • If you already have some knowledge of Chinese, French, Gaelic, German or Spanish, such as a rusty Higher, GCSE, or O-level, then you may consider enrolling in the 10-week revision languages courses. These courses start in the week commencing 25 April 2022.  10-Week Revision Courses. Registration is now open.

2-Year online French, German and Spanish Graduate Diplomas

These 2-Year Graduate Diplomas by Distance Learning for part-time study are accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland. They are ideally suited for Secondary MFL teachers seeking an additional qualification in French, German or Spanish, and also attract a wide range of professionals from across Britain, Europe and beyond.

The Graduate Diplomas aim to provide the challenges of an undergraduate curriculum in the relevant language. At the end of their studies, students achieve an advanced understanding and knowledge of the language being studied.

 Through an interdisciplinary process (Teaching Spanish in addition to French for example) and by interacting and exchanging ideas with other students from other parts of the UK, Europe and Overseas, students will be able to develop a critical understanding of their practice and education as a whole.

The Graduate Diplomas carry a rating of 120 SCOTCAT points (SCQF Levels 9-10).  The qualification outcome is bench-marked at C1 in the Council of Europe Reference Framework for Languages. Applicants will normally have a pass at Higher level (or equivalent) in the language. This level can be achieved through completion of one of the University of Dundee‘s Distance Learning Intensive or Revision courses Languages | University of Dundee.

The diplomas place emphasis on reflection, inquiry, critical analysis, personal consideration of research findings and actively promotes the values, principles and practices of equality, social justice, integrity, trust and respect, and professional commitment in all areas of work.

Registration of the 2022-2024 Graduate Diplomas (2-Year part-time French , German and Spanish graduate-level diploma courses) is now open. The diplomas start in the week commencing 26 September 2022.

For more information visit the University of Dundee website, or to discuss any aspects of the courses or your application , please contact


20 November 2021 (The Herald)

The teachers who first taught me about Orkney language literature were themselves taught not to use it in school, sometimes through physical punishment. That was the case across Scotland for many folk who spoke dialects of Scots, from Buchan to Bathgate, and it's a familiar story of language suppression. Children who speak in ways not thought proper by power are made to feel uncertain of their own tongues.

As well as disconnecting us from our own history and literature, suppressing language can push many people out of education altogether. That Orcadian poems, stories and possibilities were still passed on to me as a child at school in the 90s was something language activists fought for, and I'll never stop being grateful for their work. Writers and community organisers kept the language alive, through work by authors like CM Costie and Robert Rendall, often forgotten in favour of their more famous Anglophone peers, and through dozens of other local publications.


18 November 2021 (The Courier)

It has been described as essential reading for generations of Scots and Ulster Scots concerned with their identity.

A book that celebrates the Scots contribution to world literature through figures like Burns and RL Stevenson.

Now, 22 years after Scots: The Mither Tongue, was described as one of the best 100 Scottish books ever written, Newport-based author and Scots language expert Billy Kay has produced an audio version of his classic book.

Billy reveals that over many years people have have asked him why he had not recorded an audio version of this classic book.

Knowing what a huge undertaking it would be, he always cited time and other commitments as the main reasons.

The Covid-19 lockdown changed everything, however, so he finally decided to commit himself to making the historic recording.

“It’s historic, yes, because it will be the first time that iconic passages from the great Scots literary tradition have been recorded and made available in the one place,“ says Billy.


18 November 2021 (Birds Eye View/GFT)

Supported by Birds’ Eye View’s Reclaim The Frame programme, Glasgow Film Theatre will be screening Petite Maman from 19 November to 2 December.

The much-anticipated latest treasure from Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Girlhood), Petite Maman is a sublime modern fairytale about the quiet wonder of mother-daughter relationships. After the death of her beloved grandmother, eight-year-old Nelly meets a mysterious friend in the woods. Together they embark on a fantastical journey of discovery which helps Nelly come to terms with this newfound loss. A favourite of the 2021 Berlin Film Festival, Sciamma’s new masterwork examines childhood, memory and loss with a typically delicate touch, elegantly weaved together into an enchanting and moving depiction of love and acceptance.

The film is in French with English subtitles and is suitable for all.

Visit the GFT website for more information and to book.


17 November 2021 (The Guardian)

A French reference dictionary has defended its official recognition of a gender-inclusive pronoun, after traditionalists pounced on what they called the latest incursion of US-inspired “wokeism”.

While the everyday use of “iel” – a neologism combining the French words for he and she (“il” and “elle”) – remains largely anecdotal for now, critics deem it a linguistic affront that needs to be banned.

The education minister denounced the move by the Petit Robert dictionary, supporting a lawmaker’s demand that French-language guardians at the Académie Française weigh in.

“Inclusive writing is not the future of the French language,” Jean-Michel Blanquer tweeted. “Our students, who are consolidating their basic knowledge, cannot have that as a reference,” he added.


16 November 2021 (Migration in Education)

We invite pupils and teachers in primary and secondary schools in Scotland to participate in this exciting competition that explores how we teach and learn about migration — creatively and with empathy. We live in a world that sees many people on the move, and our pupils may have been part of these experiences themselves. In schools, migration may make the topic of creative projects and classroom activities, as a unique opportunity for pupils to learn from each other and about each other.

The competition aims to acknowledge and make visible the cultural and linguistic diversity of Scottish primary and secondary schools. On that basis, submissions could be in English or in other languages to reflect the spirit of the school and of the competition. Teachers or teams of teachers and pupils are invited to submit their best materials that showcase how migration is taught in their respective schools. 

Visit the website for more information and submit entries by Friday 17 December 2021.


15 November 2021 (UK-German Connection)

As travel plans and exchange activity begin to pick up once more, UK-German Connection are again offering partnership bursaries of £1,000 to help schools to keep their UK-German partnerships alive.

The bursaries can support pupil visits and joint activities taking place in 2022 and are open to both UK and German partner schools. Application is via a short online form. Deadline: 31 January 2022.

Find out more and apply on the UK-German Connection website.

If you have any questions, please contact


14 November 2021 (The Guardian)

Amid soaring appetite for non-English-language shows and a growing global streaming market, it ought to be a golden time for subtitle translators.

The popularity of shows such as the Korean megahit Squid Game, which attracted 111 million viewers in its first 28 days to become Netflix’s most watched series ever, the Spanish series Money Heist (La Casa de Papel) and the French drama Lupin have proved that subtitles are no block to pulling in huge global audiences. Last year Netflix reported that foreign language titles were up by more than 50% on 2019.

But despite their crucial and highly skilled role, acting as conduits between the action on screen and millions of viewers around the world, the translators who painstakingly write the streamers’ subtitles – some of whom may be paid as little as $1 (75p) per minute of programme time – do not appear to have seen the rewards filtering down to them.

So bad is the status quo that after two years in the industry, freelance translator and copywriter Anne Wanders would discourage others from going into it at all.

“It’s so sad that if anyone would ask me: ‘Oh, I saw this job listing, should I try to become a subtitle translator?’ I would have to tell them: ‘No you shouldn’t. It’s not worth your time,’” said the 40-year-old from Dortmund, Germany.

Wanders, who translates English into German for streaming vendors, including one of the world’s largest subtitling companies, enjoys the job, which she finds both creative and challenging. But the pay, which she says can work out at below minimum wage, makes it unsustainable as a single source of income.


13 November 2021 (The Irish News)

From four-year-old to 90, age is no barrier to learning a second language.

That's according to South Eastern Regional College (SERC), which says it is never too late, or early, to pick up a new language.

The college's language students' range in age from Alec Thompson (4), a pupil at Bangor Central Integrated Primary School, to David McShane (90) from Helen's Bay - both of whom are enjoying learning French.

Mr McShane has progressed from basic French to an advanced level speaker (level 4) after attending the college for several years.

"A second language is a social skill and I have found it does help when you get older," he said.

"If you don't use it, you can quickly lose the vocabulary and the feel for the language.

"I think it is so important for children to learn a second language from a young age and the younger they start, the better."


11 November 2021 (The Conversation)

Language has traditionally been considered a complex skill which mobilises brain networks specifically dedicated to linguistic processing. But in recent years, neuroscience research has returned to this idea and offered new insights.

Notably, studies have suggested that areas of the brain which control certain language functions, such as processing the meaning of words, are also involved in the control of fine motor skills.

Syntax, the ability to correctly structure words into a sentence, is one of the most important features of language. While evidence had yet to link syntax skills specifically with motor control in the brain, research published in 2019 revealed a correlation between having good syntactic ability and being skilled at using tools.

With this in mind, our international research team was interested to know whether the use of tools engages parts of the brain similar to those mobilised when we’re thinking about the construction of sentences.


11 November 2021 (University of Strathclyde/SCILT)

The Language Ambassadors are back……and they have gone VIRTUAL!

Get your learners involved to discover the joys of learning and being able to use another language by organising a Virtual Language Ambassadors visit to your school!

Our Language Ambassadors are students of French, Italian or Spanish, on various degrees, including BA Honours in French and Spanish, International Business and a Modern Language, Law and a Language but also Engineering and Science degrees.

This programme is free of charge and provides student role models to promote languages to young people and encourage your learners to choose languages as part of their high school curriculum.

We can deliver a range of activities online, such as:

  • A virtual presentation about their experiences as university language learners and their experiences abroad;
  • Q&A sessions about the benefits of studying a language;
  • A small group discussion for Senior phase students who have already selected a language;
  • Micro-presentations as part of a school-wide event

Visit our website to find out more, and how to book a virtual visit for your school!

If you have any questions about The Language Ambassadors programme, please contact Cédric Moreau.


The latest languages news direct to your inbox - sign up to our weekly bulletin

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