Languages Week Scotland

Scottish Education Awards 2020

Celebrating the 2020 Scottish Education Award finalists.

The Scottish Education Awards are held annually by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Daily Record.  The awards celebrate the hard work and success taking place in Scottish education. There is a wide variety of categories that recognise the dedication and commitment of establishments, practitioners and education supporters. Entry to the awards is open to all publicly funded schools, including secondary, primary, Early Learning Centres (ELCs) and special schools.

The ceremony for the 2020 Scottish Education Awards was scheduled for 11th November at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Glasgow. Hosted by comedian and performer Des Clarke, with over 500 people attending the event, made up of finalists, sponsors, VIPs and ministers.

Category finalists were announced, but unfortunately, due to Covid-19 restrictions, the ceremony itself was cancelled.

Languages Week Scotland is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the successes and achievements of the finalists in the two categories that celebrate multilingualism.

The Gaelic Education Award is sponsored by Bòrd na Gàidhlig. Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s vision is for Gaelic to be seen and heard on a daily basis across Scotland, such that it is widely recognised as an integral part of Scottish life and a national cultural and economic asset.

The 2020 Gaelic Education Award finalists are:

Greenfaulds High School, North Lanarkshire
Meadowburn Primary School / Innis an Uillt, East Dunbartonshire
St Clement's School, The Highlands

The Internationalism and Languages Award is sponsored by the British Council Scotland. The British Council believes that bringing an international dimension to a school can be motivational for staff and learners, and has been shown to make a real difference in the priority areas of raising attainment, building literacy and numeracy, and helping bridge the attainment gap.

The 2020 Internationalism and Languages finalists are:

Craigroyston Community High School, Edinburgh
Neilston Primary School , East Renfrewshire
Turnbull High School, East Dunbartonshire

Visit the Scottish Education Award website for more details about previous winners in these and other categories.

Internationalism and languages award

The department at Craigroyston Community High School is passionate about encouraging a love of languages. Lessons use a variety of resources and activities. Pupils are offered regular opportunities to take part in competitions, for example SALT’s poster competition, SCILT’s MTOT, or the French Institute’s national Francophonie competition. This encourages learners to think more widely about languages and encourages a sense of achievement. Emphasis is placed on languages for employability, embedding a careers module into S3 and also working with Edinburgh University on taster courses, faculty tours and students working with us (for example, teaching our S2 about Quebecois and Canadian culture.)

Seventy percent of Craigroyston pupils are from SIMD 1 and 2 and languages are a key part of the curriculum as we strive to close the attainment gap. The school has thoroughly embraced the 1+2 policy, introducing extra time in S1-S3 for Spanish so that it has not had to take away from French. In addition, pupils can now also choose German in S3 and the senior phase – tri-linguists welcome! This places the learners’ futures at the heart of the curriculum. All pupils, even those with significant barriers to learning, are valued.

The department seek creative opportunities to widen pupils’ cultural experiences. It acquires funding that will allow the learners to access international opportunities with little to no cost to their families. These range from gaining free tickets to the annual Spanish film festival, to highly ambitious opportunities; the most recent being a €36,000 grant awarded through Erasmus+ to enable students to visit Madrid. For some of those pupils it was their first time on a plane, or even out of the country. Further afield, the whole school has been involved in fundraising for S6 pupils to spend 10 days in Tanzania building homes with the Vine Trust – unfortunately cancelled due to Covid-19.

Over 25% of Craigroyston learners are EAL students, speaking 24 home languages. This diversity is celebrated through the Equalities Club, where pupils choose cultural and international festivals to promote throughout the year. The school has also implemented the Young Interpreters scheme. To allow EAL students to maximise their potential, SQA ESOL qualifications are taught in-house. In class, students are given the chance to lead learning by teaching their peers about their own languages and cultures.

In summary, all the young people, no matter their background, are encouraged and given the means to view languages and internationalism as a valuable part of life and a viable part of their continued learning pathway. The progress they make, when the barriers are broken down, is unbelievably rewarding for everyone.

At Neilston we continue to explore new ways to strengthen and support our language learning. We are the proud holders of the 2019 Languages and Internationalism Award, and we are delighted to have been shortlisted once again as finalists in the Scottish Education Awards Internationalism and Languages category.

Languages have very much become part of our curriculum. We have developed a strong ethos of Internationalism and Language Learning. Engagement in eTwinning and Erasmus+ projects has created opportunities for learning across cultures, with the focus on adopting a collaborative, interest-based IDL approach to language learning across the partner schools. Across the campus, we plan a rich range of interdisciplinary lessons in order to deliver the highest quality experiences for all learners. We want to enable our pupils to create, manipulate and use language for themselves rather than merely learning by rote.

In the Family Centre, playful pedagogy based activities incorporating rhymes, songs, games, outdoor learning and snack time enable learners to engage with the language in a meaningful way.

We have two live Erasmus+ projects:
KA1 (eight teachers attending immersion courses in France) to increase language skills is in its second year.

KA2 Erasmus+ IDL Projects are underway with partners in France and Italy to further develop linguistic and cultural awareness. This will culminate in exchange visits to participate in a range of IDL projects, which will extend their knowledge and reinforce what they already know in a meaningful, rich and diverse way.

To prepare our pupils, ‘lunchtime linguists' focus is on Italian. Mandarin, Spanish and French are offered in rotation. BSL is one of our Skills Academy pathways. An Internationalism and Languages pathway is planned for next session.

We have links with Glasgow University and Instituto Camoes, and welcome a Portuguese Language Assistant to deliver taster sessions.

Language Ambassadors promote Languages, look after displays, play French games, and read stories with the younger children.

We maintain an ongoing commitment to making Languages an integral part of daily routines. IDL planning allows for a variety of learning styles and differentiation in outcomes, for example, oral, written, and digital technologies are all implicit in success criteria. This approach is accessible to all learners, regardless of gender, background, ethnicity, disabilities or barriers to learning. Disengaged pupils are enthusiastic as the topics are interest-based and relevant, with pupil voice at the planning stage.

We are leading moderation across the cluster. Secondary staff are involved in the process to ensure effective transitions. Secondary colleagues observe teaching so that they have a clear understanding of primary pedagogy.

We have developed a robust tracking and transition record to inform secondary colleagues where our pupils are in their learning.

We attended Parliament to celebrate Languages Week Scotland 2020, performing a role-play in French and singing our 1+2 song.

We presented a 1+2 Languages innovation station at West Partnership’s primary conference where pupils talked confidently to delegates about their language learning.

We presented a workshop on IDL planning at the SALT annual conference in 2019.

Our approach directly incorporates the Scottish Government’s lifelong skills strategies. A variety of assessment approaches demonstrates pupils’ knowledge and understanding, skills, attributes and capabilities in different contexts. Outcomes for pupils are improving by embedding progression in language skills as part of narrative and summative assessment. Benchmarks inform planning and next steps in learning. This approach addresses all priorities across the four contexts for learning, with experiential learning forming a deeper understanding.

Our learners are equipped with valuable life-skills and broadened cultural horizons. We are committed to developing global citizenship and developing the young workforce – positive concepts ensuring excellence and equity in languages and internationalism.

We strive to raise the profile of MFL within our school and wider community with fun, engaging and creative learning experiences, removing the elite stigma often associated with languages. We liaise with other departments to join up learning and encourage whole school participation in European Day of Languages. We also work hard to encourage a love of languages within feeder Primaries and share our learning with schools in our cluster groups and in Council-wide teams.

During Scotland’s Languages Week, we celebrated our diverse culture with bilingual pupils sharing greetings on video and ran events like translation races, scavenger hunts and quizzes.

S1 students made baby books (practising prepositions) and S3 tackled a Spanish blindfolded obstacle course (practising directions). Trips to Paris, Nantes, St Malo, Barcelona and Pistoia helped develop language skills too.

Languages are popular here - around 50% of S4s continued French this year with 25% keeping French and Spanish. Our Language Ambassadors and our Business Brunch - featuring successful linguists in industry - help with promotion.

We have strong International links through our Pistoia exchange and school in France and are developing our Spanish penpal link. We present pupils for the prestigious SCOTBAC award every year, giving them the opportunity to travel abroad where they conduct street interviews and focus groups, undoubtedly honing their speaking skills. It's a great source of pride that some of our young people have achieved distinction in the Scottish Baccalaureate in Languages Award.

Gaelic Education Award

St Clements Special School is a 3-19 school in Dingwall. We have a school role of 55 and our catchment covers a wide geographical area. Our pupils encounter significant challenges and barriers in their learning and everyday life.

The school had not previously offered an SQA languages course. Building on prior learning, pupil interest and the availability of a teacher to teach Gaelic, this course was taught in 2019-2020.

Pupils are encouraged to develop an understanding of Gaelic heritage, language and culture in their local area through whole school inter-disciplinary learning, ie developing knowledge of our local area, looked at local place names in Gaelic and Gaelic names for geographical features.

Pupils benefit from practical learning activities, such as playing charades to teach feelings, actions or role play in a café situation and traditional music sessions from Fèis Rois. Relating Gaelic to pupils’ own experiences enhances their learning and promotes personalised engagement.

The use of technology was very motivational in developing language acquisition and raised pupils’ sense of achievement and enabled peer and self-assessment. During lockdown, Gaelic learning continued with ‘Gaidhlig le Granny’. The class teacher’s mother, a fluent Gaelic speaker, participated with the teacher with successful engagement from pupils and their families.

Pupils in the senior phase participate in transition activities towards post school opportunities. Skills provided by the learning of Gaelic are very beneficial in this. Being able to transfer knowledge of another language builds pupil confidence and self-esteem.

As well as the SQA National Gaelic Award, Gaelic related activities including the Mod, provide opportunities for achievement in Personal Achievement Awards.

Our school motto is ‘Inspiring ambition… nurturing happiness’. Gaelic has enabled our pupils to achieve and excel in their learning.

Greenfaulds High School is a comprehensive secondary school in the district of North Lanarkshire, boasting a Gaelic Department which delivers a vast range of subjects to approximately 90 pupils. As well as Gàidhlig and Gaelic (Learners), much of the BGE is available to GME pupils. Subject taught include Geography, Modern Studies, History, French, Art, Music, Science and Technical Studies. Geography, Modern Studies, History and Art are delivered to National 5 level with a view to adding Music in the near future.

With six Gaelic teachers, delivering this range of subjects, it is a highly dedicated team who deliver the curriculum throughout the school. The team is further strengthened by a Gaelic Activities Leader who develops extra-curricular opportunities. The Department strives to use all skills at their disposal to increase the activities available to pupils.

The Department enjoy positive relationships with partners both within the Local Authority and nationally. These partnerships have allowed us to deliver successful projects including a weekly drama group, music groups, multiple residential trips to name but a few.

The Gaelic Department within Greenfaulds High School provides a unique opportunity for learners in North Lanarkshire. For further information follow @gaelic_gfhs.

Sgoil Araich Innis an Uillt is a well-established and thriving Gaelic Medium Early Years Centre, wholly committed to the nurture of children whilst providing a high quality, immersive Gaelic experience. Sgoil Araich Innis an Uillt opened in 1998 with 3 children and 1 teacher and now, 23 years later, it continues to grow from strength to strength with a staff team of 5 adults and 25 children.

Gaelic heritage, language and culture are at the foundation of all learning and community opportunities and parental links are regularly used to widen exposure to Gaelic Language and culture. Songs and stories are used daily to aid and reinforce Gaelic learning with staff often creating their own Gaelic songs using familiar traditional tunes; children find these engaging and stimulating.

Outdoor learning is central to Sgoil Araich; a purpose built garden provides daily opportunities to access stimulating and purposeful play through access to playground equipment and natural play opportunities; this variety allows children to engage fully in their own creativity and learning.

Testimonies of families past and present hold nothing but praise for the Sgoil Araich team – for their exceptional levels of nurture and commitment to the children, school, community and the Gaelic language.

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