Latest News

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

Cultural Diversity

UK-German connections

29 April 2022 (UK-German Connection)

UK-German Connection offers a range of initiatives and support to help UK-German school partnerships thrive. Follow the appropriate link below to learn more about the opportunities available to schools and young people:

  • Host a teacher from Germany - UK schools interested in hosting a teacher from Germany in 2022-23 can register now. Q&A webinars are also being offered during May and June for all UK schools interested in finding out more.
  • Funding programmes - A range of grants are available for joint activities between schools and youth groups. Primary, secondary, FE colleges and youth groups can apply now.
  • Still & Sparkling: UK-German Youth Newsletter - Written by young people, for young people, the newsletter is aimed at ages 14-25, and includes content in both English and German. The latest edition is now available online.
  • Café Connect - Sessions are a great opportunity for 14-18 year-olds to practise their German and explore cultural topics with peers in the UK and Germany. Meetings are free to attend and give young people an informal and comfortable environment to make friends and develop linguistic and intercultural skills. 

The organisation is keen to hear from young people about their views on the future of UK-German youth relations and invites young people aged 12-25 to complete a 'Have your say' survey. The survey closes on 24 June 2022.

‘They can really fly’: how to teach a refugee child

27 April 2022 (The Guardian)

Children arriving from war-torn countries such as Ukraine often thrive in their new school and go on to be successful. How do teachers do it?

"Children pick up whether someone cares about them even if they don’t speak the language,” says Kulvarn Atwal, a headteacher in east London. Atwal, who has plenty of experience of welcoming children who are refugees from conflict, is preparing for the arrival of new pupils from Ukraine.

Children connect with each other much faster than adults do, he says. “Sometimes we look at children through the eyes of adults, but they don’t see what adults see. They haven’t developed discriminatory biases so they just dive straight in.”

As the summer term begins, many schools are preparing to welcome children who have fled Ukraine after the Russian invasion. For some schools, particularly in rural areas, it could be their first experience of teaching refugees.

Atwal has told his local council he will take “as many Ukrainian children as possible”, to Uphall primary, his school in Ilford, where 60 languages are spoken, to make use of the school’s experience. He says he also wanted “to send an important message to our children that we are doing something”.

For children who arrive speaking no English, often after traumatic experiences, starting a new school in a new country is daunting. But they typically go on to thrive. The education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, himself arrived aged nine from Iraq speaking no English. How do teachers manage to help such children to adapt and make progress?


French language learning with Alliance Française

29 March 2022 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française in Glasgow offers a range of opportunities to learn about French culture and the French language. Follow the relevant link below for more information on the latest offerings:

Information about the organisation's other activities can be found on their website.


Virtual Summer Courses: ‘Deutschland online erleben’

4 February 2022 (UK-German Connection)

Although our face-to-face summer programmes (German Pupil Courses and German Scholarships Programme) won't be taking place again this year, these free week-long virtual courses during the summer give pupils aged 15-17 an opportunity to practise and improve their German skills and immerse themselves in the language with like-minded peers from many different European countries. It’s a unique opportunity to exchange on topics relevant to their lives, gain new perspectives and make friends, all under the guidance of specialist German teachers.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information and apply by 1 March 2022.


Scotland's Year of Stories 2022

25 January 2022 (Education Scotland)

This year has been designated Scotland's Year of Stories and with National Storytelling Week taking place from 30 January to 6 February 2022 it's an ideal time to promote and encourage storytelling in the classroom. But how can we ensure that the stories we share reflect the diversity of our learners? Explore practitioner considerations and resources on Education Scotland's Race Equality and Anti-racist education website.


British Council Year of the Tiger education pack

18 January 2022 (British Council)

According to the Chinese Lunar Calendar, we enter the Year of the Tiger on 1 February 2022.

Our Year of the Tiger education pack celebrates Chinese New Year. Featuring activities to help teachers and pupils learn more about this important spring festival and explore Chinese culture, you can learn about the South China tiger, make a kite, and take part in a Chinese language lesson. 

Visit the British Council website to download the education pack.


Teach abroad as an English Language Assistant

9 December 2021 (British Council)

Apply to be an English Language Assistant in 2022-23! Placements are open to candidates with language skills in French, German, Italian and Spanish – as well as selected destinations open to those from other disciplines.

Visit the British Council website to find out more and check eligibility. Apply by 1 February 2022.


Across the globe, the diversity of language overlaps with that of the natural world

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.


School competition: How to talk about migrations

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.


DiscoverEU travel pass

19 October 2021 (DiscoverEU)

DiscoverEU offers young people the opportunity to participate in a travel experience enabling them to take advantage of the freedom of movement throughout the European Union, explore the diversity of Europe, learn about European cultural heritage and history, and connect with people from all over the continent. Furthermore, DiscoverEU enables young people to develop valuable life skills such as independence, confidence, and openness to other cultures.  

If you're 18 years old and a citizen of the European Union, apply now for your DiscoverEU travel pass. Please note UK nationals are still eligible for this round of DiscoverEU.

Visit the DiscoverEU website for full details and apply by 26 October 2021.


New UK-German activities for Autumn 2021

30 September 2021 (UK-German Connection)

Young people, schools and youth groups can get involved in UK-German Connection's programmes. There are several new activities for autumn so let your pupils and colleagues know what's on offer!

Follow the relevant links below to find out more:

For young people

  • Virtual Conference on climate change (COP26) Taking place against the backdrop of the COP26 Climate Conference and Youth Summit, this two-part virtual youth conference will explore the outcomes of the climate conferences, and give young people the chance to exchange on the role of local communities, cities, and regions in the fight against the climate crisis. Age group: 15-18. Deadline: 4 October 2021.
  • Youth Webinar Series ‘Together: Reflecting on Life After Conflict’ Run together with Never Such Innocence, this three-part webinar series gives young people the chance to get creative with poetry, photography and song to reflect on what conflict means to them. Includes creative workshops with experts, the chance to exchange with other young people and a final presentation event with special guests from the UK & Germany. Age group: 12-14. Deadline: 14 October 2021.
  • Youth Webinar ‘Green Cities’ To mark 75 years of friendship between the United Kingdom and North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), this two-part webinar will bring together young people from the UK and NRW to discuss how to make cities more environmentally friendly. Participants will learn from city experts and exchange with young people in the UK & Germany about green & sustainable cities. Age group: 16-18. Deadline: 19 October 2021.

For schools & youth groups

  • UK-NRW School Partnerships Seminar This partner-finding event will bring teachers from the UK and North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) together to set up new school partnerships and discuss future partnership projects with a focus on ‘Skills for the Global Workplace’. Teachers will have the chance to take part in partnership development workshops, group discussions and excursions, including a visit to the Christmas markets. Deadline: 1 November 2021.
  • Café Connect for school & youth partnerships Do you have a partner school or youth group in Germany? Would you like to connect with them in a safe and informal virtual space? We now offer facilitated 'Café Connect' meet-ups to enhance your partnership!

For schools & youth groups with a partner institution in North Rhine-Westphalia

  • UK-German Exchange Fellowships This pilot programme provides pupils aged 15-18 in the UK and North Rhine-Westphalia with the opportunity to spend one, two or three weeks at an existing partner school in Germany and carry out a project on a theme of their choice. Deadline: 15 November 2021.
  • UK-NRW Capture Your Connection Do you have a connection with North Rhine-Westphalia? To mark 75 years of UK-NRW friendship we've launched our ‘Capture Your Connection’ challenge. Simply share a creative representation of your partnership to help us showcase and give recognition to the fantastic connections that you have established over the years. There will be small goodies for all submissions and the most creative entries will receive special prizes! Deadline: 31 December 2021.

Flexible Funding Scheme

23 September 2021 (UK-German Connection)

UK-German Connection's Flexible Funding Scheme supports joint activities and projects between UK and German partner schools and youth groups, including visits or virtual activities.

The grant is open to primary, secondary and SEN schools, FE colleges and youth groups in the UK and Germany. Grants of up to £10,000 are available.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information and apply by 1 October 2021.


Turkish and Turkish culture courses starting soon

16 September 2021 (Turkish Consulate General Edinburgh)

The Office of the Education Attaché of the Turkish Consulate General in Edinburgh is now launching a programme aiming to teach children and adults some basic language skills such as reading, writing, speaking and listening in Turkish, and the Turkish culture.

The language programme is going to be conducted by expert teachers and offered for free. The courses will be held alongside the school terms in Scotland and will be supplemented by social, cultural and other educational activities whenever possible.

The courses will be offered to the children of Turkish families living in Scotland, the Northern Ireland and the North of England (including York). Our classes will be held face-to-face in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and start online in other cities.

If there are any other locations that has not been mentioned and if you are interested attending please do fill in the application form with your requirements and we will try and accommodate the request via online courses.

If you are Interested please fill in the attached form and send it to

After receiving applications, the Education Attaché’s Office will announce the timetable and the venues for the courses.

Students between the ages of 6 and 16 will be able to attend our courses however should there be a demand for different age groups this will also be considered.

Should you have any enquires please contact us at

Related Files

Opportunities from UK-German Connection

10 September 2021 (UK-German Connection)

UK-German Connection is dedicated to increasing contacts and understanding between young people in the UK and Germany. The organisation offers a number of initiatives, funding, materials and courses enabling joint activities between young people, schools and youth groups in both regions.

Find out about hosting a teacher from Germany, the Café Connect online meet-ups for young people, funding for partnership activities and more on the UK-German Connection website.


Opportunities from UK-German Connection

12 August 2021 (UK-German Connection)

Despite the UK no longer being part of the EU, UK-German Connection remains dedicated to supporting partnerships, offering intercultural opportunities, and facilitating connections between schools, youth groups and young people themselves in both countries. 

Current opportunities include the following. Click on the relevant link for more information:

  • Funding for UK-German exchange activities - Schools and youth groups with a partner in Germany can apply for grants for planning visits, taster trips and joint activities, including virtual projects. A series of Q&A webinars will take place throughout September for anyone interested in finding out more about this funding offer.
  • Host a Teacher from Germany - Whether travel is going to be possible or not, you can still bring authentic German language and culture to your classroom in 2021/22. Through the Host a Teacher from Germany programme, your school can host a German teacher (virtually or face-to-face) for one, two or three weeks during the academic year, at no cost. Register by 28 September 2021 (to host in spring and/or summer 2022).
  • UK-German Youth Council - Do you know any top-notch communicators with an interest in UK-German youth relations? There's still time for young people between the ages of 14 and 25 to apply for our UK-German youth council. This network will develop ideas and help co-design programmes and activities for young people in both countries. Applicants from all backgrounds are welcome and German language skills are not a requirement. Deadline: 24 August 2021.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for a full overview of their opportunities and initiatives for young people. Or register to receive their newsletters.


UK-German Youth Council 2021-22

17 June 2021 (UK-German Connection)

Do you want to join a lively network of young people and support UK-German Connection in the development of new opportunities for young people? Applications are now open for our UK-German Youth Council!

Young people from both countries aged 14-25 can join this consultation forum to develop new ideas and help co-design UK-German programmes and activities. We welcome applications from young people from all backgrounds and with a range of experiences and interests. German language skills are not a requirement. 

Deadline: 24 August 2021.

For more information about other current opportunities for schools, such as funding for UK-German partnership activities and the Host a Teacher from Germany programme, follow the relevant links below.


Host a Teacher from Germany - virtually or face-to-face!

4 June 2021 (UK-German Connection)

Whether travel is going to be possible or not, you can still bring authentic German language and culture to your classroom next academic year.

Registration is now open to ‘Host a teacher from Germany’ - virtually or face-to-face - in 2021-22.

We’ll put you in touch with a teacher from Germany and help you to plan your hosting experience, with ideas for presentations, interactive lessons, group language practice sessions and other bilateral activities between your classes.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information and to register. You can also sign up there to one of the Q&A webinars to find out more about the scheme. 

To find out about other opportunities offered by UK-German Connection, including the next Café Connect meet ups for young people, see their Summer Newsletter.


School trips to UK from EU could halve as Brexit hits cultural exchanges

4 June 2021 (The Guardian)

French and German educational trip organisers bringing as many as 750,000 school pupils to the UK every year have warned that tougher post-Brexit entry requirements are likely to cut the number of young Europeans visiting Britain by half.

“We’ve already seen a big fall-off in interest,” said Edward Hisbergues, the sales manager of a leading French operator, PG Trips. “My business was 90% UK, 10% Ireland; now it’s all about Ireland. Schools are inquiring about visits to the Netherlands or Malta.”

The British government has rejected requests from organisers to exempt children taking part in short organised educational trips from new passport and visa measures due to come into effect on 1 October, saying they are needed to strengthen Britain’s borders.

The organisers said many thousands of UK host families, language schools, hotels and other businesses around the country, and especially in cities such as Canterbury that specialise in the educational market, risked suffering a significant economic impact.

They also said the new border restrictions could inflict broader and longer-term damage to Britain’s relations with Europe.

School trips “foster intercultural understanding and reduce prejudice”, wrote the German federation of leading school trip organisers, whose members run 7,000 trips a year to the UK representing more than 1.5m overnight stays.

“They forge lifelong connections with the UK, increase tolerance for people, cultures and different ways of living and thinking, and help the acquisition of language skills in the internationally most important language.”

Hisbergues said school trips abroad “really open eyes. They can inspire kids and change the course of young lives.”


5 ways to teach global citizenship and collaboration

24 May 2021 (TES)

With global citizenship more important than ever, here are some ideas for international collaboration between schools.

Whether students were locked down in London or Lagos, millions of young people around the world experienced what it was like to have their learning disrupted and now understand, to some degree, what it means not to have free movement or access.

“The pandemic has created a unique window of insight into the global challenges that we all face,” says Carl McCarthy, executive headteacher at GLF Schools multi-academy trust.

And this is something he’s tried to delve into with his students, noticing the disparity in provision that some young people face nationally, as well as globally. But he has also been celebrating the staggering kindness, innovation and teamwork we’ve witnessed, and he has been harnessing the technology that brings together citizens in opposite corners of the world.

“In this new, post-Brexit, global-facing context, we have the opportunity for our students to build knowledge and understanding together with fellow students from around the world – all who have been facing similar challenges at the same time and all who have seen similar strengths in human spirit and the triumph of science and technology to offer solutions to some of the greatest problems that we have collectively faced,” says McCarthy.


From London to Beijing on the old Silk Road – a photo essay

13 May 2021 (The Guardian)

Taken on a 25,000-mile trip across 16 countries, these images capture cities, landscapes and people along the trading route – and the pre-Covid freedom of cross-border travel.

The article includes links to The Silk Road: A Living History, an open-air photography exhibition by Christopher Wilton-Steer and presented by the Aga Khan Foundation, which is open at Granary Square, King’s Cross, London, until 16 June 2021, with talks and online exhibits for those unable to attend.


Beyond the Panda CLPL

5 May 2021 (RZSS)

Beyond the Panda is the RZSS giant panda and Mandarin education programme. RZSS is a science specialist Confucius Classroom and offers a unique programme covering science while learning some of the Mandarin language and Chinese characters. It is designed for cross curricular learning where students investigate and discover more about China, its culture, language, geography, giant pandas and other Chinese wildlife. 

This virtual CLPL course will hope to engage and inspire teaching staff to use the Beyond the Panda online resources with their students in order to develop a love of nature, animals and conservation and in particular to realise the biodiversity of China and the relevance of the Chinese language and culture. Delivered through Microsoft Teams within Glow. 

In partnership with DYWLive and eSgoil, there are three opportunities to book, starting at 4pm on either Tuesday 25th May, Thursday 10th or Thursday 17th June. Booking is through DYWLive, under Professional Learning - Beyond the Panda CLPL 


In Short, Europe: Happy Together review – a union uplifted by humour

4 May 2021 (The Guardian)

In the wake of Brexit, there’s a defiant note in the overarching theme – Happy Together – of this year’s survey of European shorts, brought to us by EUNIC London, an umbrella organisation for EU cultural institutions, and pulled together by London-based curator Shira MacLeod.

The In Short, Europe short film festival, takes place online from 7-16 May. 


Café Connect

27 April 2021 (UK-German Connection)

Our meet-up group, Café Connect gives you the chance to get to know other young people aged 14-19 through fun, interactive activities, and group discussions on current topics. Take part and make new friends, learn about the other culture, and practise (or even pick up) some German!

Taking place twice a month, these online meet-ups are a unique opportunity to exchange with other young people from the UK and Germany in a friendly atmosphere – on topics that interest you! You can join as many sessions as you like and you can get involved even if you don’t speak any German.

Visit the UK-German Connection website to find out more and to register to take part.


Presentations now available! Scotland’s Languages Landscape: Equity in Diversity Event, 26 February 2021

20 April 2021 (SCILT)

If you missed any part of this event, then we have good news for you! Materials are now available on our website to view at your own leisure, including video presentations from Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, Keynote speaker, Dr Stacey Margarita Johnson, Assistant Director of the Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee and Plenary speaker, Louise Glen, Senior Education Officer at Education Scotland, highlighting the importance of providing all learners with access to a wide range of language and intercultural experiences.

PowerPoint presentations used from facilitated discussions, including testimonials and speaker biographies are also available to view and will be of interest to the language teaching community and community-based organisations.


Virtual Summer Courses: 'Deutschland online erleben'

25 March 2021 (UK-German Connection)

Although our face-to-face summer programmes (German Pupil Courses and German Scholarships Programme) won't be taking place this year, these virtual courses give pupils aged 15-17 an opportunity to practise and improve their German skills and immerse themselves in the language with like-minded peers from many different European countries. It’s a unique opportunity to exchange on topics relevant to their lives, gain new perspectives and make friends, all under the guidance of specialist German teachers. 

The programme consists of a week-long practical language course, run by the Pädagogischer Austauschdienst (PAD), which will be embedded in a wider programme delivered by UK-German Connection. This will include a network of UK participants, complementary language support from a UK teacher, and an opportunity to engage with German peers. The programme is completely free.

Find out more on our website and apply by 15 April 2021. 

If you have any questions, you can contact us at


French Film Festival UK 2021

25 March 2021 (French Film Festival)

The French Film Festival UK’s Learning Programme is delighted to bring French-speaking cinema to Scotland’s schools between April and June 2021.

A selection of films on DVD are available on request and will be sent directly to schools. To accompany the selection of films for different age groups, school screenings are enhanced by online learning resources prepared by Lise Morel. Participating teachers will be able to download these Learning Packs as PDFs to use in the classroom. These resources have been designed in accordance with the Modern Languages Experience and Outcomes for Curriculum for Excellence.

Please note that for schools within attainment challenge authorities, this resource is available free of charge. For further information, email


25 March 2021 (IberoDocs)

IberoDocs, Scotland's Ibero-American Documentary Film Festival, will be running for the first time online in the entire UK and Ireland from the 19 April to 2 May. The 2 week-long event boasts a programme of 20 films: all are Scottish premieres, 13 are UK premieres, three international premieres and one world premiere.

The Festival, which has consistently celebrated equality, diversity and accessibility as its core values, will apply them even further when bringing this years’ festival to life since all the feature-length films in the main programme will include subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing and the opening film will also have audio description available.

The pandemic has brought on several challenges for the festival, but this year IberoDocs is reaching a wider geographical area by hosting the festival online, and some of the films will be available to watch in 22 Ibero-American countries including Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba, Peru and Brazil.

In addition to the film programme, the festival will offer a series of complementary activities such as a virtual exhibition, Q&As with filmmakers and artists - BSL interpreted - and a masterclass in collaboration with Scottish Documentary by Lupe Perez Diaz, winner of new waves best director at the Seville Film Festival 2020 with her film Never Look Back.

Visit the website for more information.


UK-German Connection initiatives

17 March 2021 (UK-German Connection)

UK-German Connection offers a range of initiatives to help connect young people in the UK and Germany. To find out more about their latest opportunities, follow the relevant link below:

  • 'Welcome to my World 2': UK-German Video Competition - Travel may still be off limits right now, but the exploration of another country and culture doesn’t have to be! We’re calling on all young people aged 12-19 from across the UK and Germany to take us on a virtual tour of your country. So get creative, start filming and share a glimpse of your world! Submit your 20 second clip by 30 March 2021.
  • Café Connect - Our new, UK-German cultural exchange 'café' gives young people the chance to connect with peers through fun, interactive activities, group discussions on current topics and informal chat. It's a great opportunity to make new friends, learn about the other culture, and practise (or even pick up) some German! Starts 30 March 2021.
  • 'Still & Sparkling' UK-German youth newsletter - Featuring UK-German perspectives on music, sustainability, remote learning in lockdown, our youth newsletter brings young people from both countries closer together and helps them discover both cultures through the eyes of other young people.
  • German Pupil Courses 2021 and German Scholarship Courses 2021 - These courses will not take place as face-to-face courses in Germany in 2021. They will instead be week-long virtual courses with a focus on the practical use of German language skills in a cultural context. Courses will be in mixed-nationality groups and will take place in July and August. Register interest now.


David Leask: Not being from Glasgow or Edinburgh gives me broader perspective

27 February 2021 (The Herald)

For a man whose career has been spent working with words – in Russian, Spanish and Italian as well as in English – it’s no surprise that terms such as ‘deracinated’ flow freely from David Leask’s lips. A university-trained linguist who worked initially as a news translator before moving into a career at the sharp end of Scottish journalism, the 52-year-old is using the word (it means to be uprooted) to describe a childhood which saw him “brought up all over the place,” as he puts it. “I’ve moved around in my life endlessly,” he says, “to such an extent that I don’t really feel at home anywhere”.


Glasgow Film Festival 2021

23 February 2021 (Glasgow Film Festival)

Glasgow is one of the friendliest film festivals on the planet with a wide-ranging programme that celebrates every corner of world cinema and provides a fantastic showcase for the best of Scottish film. The 2021 edition will take place from Wednesday 24 February to Sunday 7 March.

There are several foreign language screenings available for learners to practise listening skills.

If you haven't already secured your tickets, visit the website for full programme details and buy now.


Arabic, Roma and Spanish on offer as Bhasha Glasgow Language Festival events revealed

18 February 2021 (Glasgow Evening Times)

From learning a few words to communicate with Roma neighbours to finding out more about British Sign Language - the Bhasha Glasgow language festival has lots to offer lockdown learners.

Now in its third year, the event takes place online from February 21 to 27.

A celebration of the city’s many languages and the people who speak them, this year’s festival is being hosted by the Thriving Places Govanhill initiative.

The week is jam packed with free daily activities that will explore Glasgow’s linguistic heritage and the vital role of its multilingual citizens, including quizzes, interactive language sessions, talks, and a radio show.


Chinese New Year 2021: when is the celebration, what is this year’s Zodiac animal - and traditions explained

15 January 2021 (The Scotsman)

While Christmas and New Year may seem like a distant memory, the Chinese New Year is still to come.

The biggest event on the calendar in China, Chinese New Year celebrates the beginning of the new Lunar calendar.

Learn about the event in the explainer video.


Year of the Ox Education Pack

11 January 2021 (British Council)

According to the Chinese Lunar Calendar, we enter the Year of the Ox on 12 February 2021.

These education resources contain information and activities to help teachers and pupils learn more about this important spring festival and explore Chinese culture. Your pupils can read a version of the traditional story of the New Year Race, create shadow puppets of the main characters and make a traditional Chinese lantern.

These resources are suitable for primary years and adaptable for early secondary years and older.


Connecting Classrooms partnership funding

24 November 2020 (British Council)

There’s no more authentic way for pupils to learn about global issues than by working with their peers in another country.

Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning can help UK-based schools find partner schools in more than 30 countries across Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

Once you’ve made a connection we have a range of support to help you get started and build a strong and sustainable school partnership, including the best online platforms to use for your international school collaboration. One to one partnerships or cluster groups can also apply for funding to cover a range of activities to share learning. The next funding deadline is 2 December 2020.

Visit the website for more information.


New drive to bring Arabic into Scottish schools

27 October 2020 (TES)

A new initiative aims to bring the teaching of Arabic into both primary and secondary schools in Scotland.

This week the Scottish primaries involved in a new programme offering an insight into Arabic language and culture will receive boxes of Arabic artefacts, such as books, scarves, musical instruments and tea sets.

Scottish schools are open but movement in and out of buildings remains restricted as a result of Covid-19. Scilt, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, has, however, found a way to bring the wider world to pupils at a time when their ability to travel is also much reduced.

The centre, based at the University of Strathclyde, is offering an insight into Arabic language and culture in 15 primary and secondary schools around Scotland. The courses include online lessons from native-speaking teachers of Arabic in the UK and link-ups with native Arabic speakers overseas.

The centre was keen to make the experience tangible, hence the delivery of the boxes.

Scilt director Fhiona Mackay says: “It’s really important that we encourage diversity in language learning. That’s what the 1+2 approach to language learning [in Scotland] should be all about – particularly language three should be an opportunity to explore languages that otherwise children would not be exposed to. It is absolutely right that they should have the chance to experience a language that does not have the same script or alphabet as Latin or Germanic-based languages.

“We also wanted to make sure that children were getting a view of the Arabic world that was not about war, terrorism or refugees. We wanted them to see there is something quite wonderful about this ancient civilisation and help them relate that back to their own experience in Scotland.”

The courses offer learners the chance to explore the secular culture of Arabic nations and to receive a grounding in the Arabic language, which is a first language in more than 20 countries and the fifth most widely spoken in the world.


Action on climate change

26 October 2020 (British Council)

British Council eTwinning is offering free live CPD and resources on climate change throughout November. Help your class to tackle #ClimateChange together with pupils from across the world.

Visit the British Council eTwinning website for more information. As well as the Climate Change November programme, you can also find other ready made step-by-step guides to help you start an international project. 


French Film Festival 2020

23 October 2020 (French Film Festival)

Running from 4 November to 17 December online and in cinemas up and down the UK, the 2020 Fête du cinéma offers a range of films, documentaries and shorts along with a selection specifically aimed at French language learners in schools.

Visit the French Film Festival website for full programme details.


Scottish pupils among top performers in new Pisa test

22 October 2020 (TES)

Recent Pisa results have brought bad news for Scotland but a new test suggests students are being well equipped to deal with globalisation.

Scottish pupils are among the most likely in the developed world to understand and appreciate the perspective of others, demonstrate some of the most positive attitudes towards immigrants, and score highly on a test that assesses the ability to evaluate information and analyse multiple perspectives.

Students from 27 countries and economies, including Scotland, took part in Pisa’s 2018 assessment of global competence, which included a test focusing on three areas: the ability to evaluate information, formulate arguments and explain issues and situations; to identify and analyse multiple perspectives; and to evaluate actions and consequences.

[..] Dr Tarek Mostafa, the policy analyst in the OECD Directorate for Education and Skills who was in charge of the global competence report, told Tes Scotland: “The main takeaway messages from the report are: students in Scotland have very positive attitudes towards immigrants and when it comes to respect for people from other cultures. In addition to this, they perform well on the global competence cognitive test and Scotland is among the three top-ranking countries on the test.”

[..] “For the other indices, students report values close to the OECD average,” he added.

Scottish pupils were also among the least likely to speak several languages: 64.5 per cent of Scottish pupils said they did not learn foreign languages at school, which was around five times the OECD average of 11.7 per cent.  

(Note - subscription required to access full article).


International Education Week is back from 16-20 November 2020!

22 October 2020 (British Council)

Every November we come together to recognise the value of bringing the world into the classroom and celebrate international work in schools. This year we are excited to be going online. For the first time ever, we are offering a week of fantastic events that you can access wherever you are in the world.

The line-up is packed with online webinars, ideas and activities to keep us connected by learning and enable young people to take action on the global issues that matter to them today. 

So whether it's a session on increasing language uptake in schools that interests you, or learning about other cultures throughout the world, visit the website for more information about the range of free webinars and activities on offer. 


Apply for the new Erasmus+ Key Action 2 deadline

1 October 2020 (Erasmus+)

In response to COVID-19, the European Commission announced a new decentralised call with the deadline of 29 October 2020, 11am (UK time). Schools are invited to apply for Partnerships for Digital Education Readiness (KA226) and Partnerships for Creativity (KA227).

As virtual cooperation opportunities are key to successful partnerships in the Covid-19 context, schools are strongly encouraged to use the eTwinning and the School Education Gateway to find partners and work together before, during and after the project activities. 

Visit the Erasmus+ website to access application forms and guidance documents.


UK-German Tandem Challenge: Connect, learn, share

19 August 2020 (UK-German Connection)

With the UK-German Tandem Challenge pupils can keep in touch with their German friend, tandem partner or host brother or sister while discovering each other’s cultures, having fun taking photos and educating others, too!

How does it work?

  • Partners discuss topics from our specially designed challenge board, exploring interesting aspects of both cultures together
  • They take photos to display the topics they discussed
  • Pairs write about their intercultural discoveries and submit their findings which will be shared across UK-German Connection channels in the autumn

It’s a great way to get to know someone better or rejuvenate an existing partnership. You could even take part as a class, pairing up with a class at your partner school and allocating a topic per pair.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information and how to take part. You don't have to be learning German to join in.

Available until: 15 September 2020


Be a positive messenger - Homework challenge: Refugees and migrants

17 June 2020 (British Council)

Inspired by Refugee Week’s 20 Simple Acts campaign, we’ve created a homework challenge to help your pupils find out more about the lives of migrants and refugees, show support, and celebrate the contributions they make to societies around the world. The pack offers the chance to explore other cultures and languages.


eTwinning - Online training, workshops and courses

26 May 2020 (British Council)

eTwinning offers various free online professional development at both a UK and a European level. 

Visit the website for a full schedule of online events beginning in June 2020, including a one hour introduction to eTwinning.


Connecting Classrooms - Learning for sustainability

26 May 2020 (Learning for Sustainability Scotland)

Get funding to collaborate locally and internationally on the big issues that shape our world.

Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning is here to help you bring Learning for Sustainability and the Global Goals to life for your learners! There are a host of learning opportunities and support on offer through the Connecting Classrooms programme. Whether you are looking for personal development opportunities, or want to collaborate with other schools.

Visit the website to find out more. Next funding application deadline is 15 June 2020.


British Council Campaign

19 May 2020 (UCML)

The British Council has been a major disseminator of knowledge about the United Kingdom and of the English language since its foundation in 1934, working with over 50 countries. Since the start of the Covid-19 public health crisis, the British Council has had to close most of its schools and test centres across the globe, leading to a substantial budget deficit. Although a public body under the auspices of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the government response to the council’s financial situation has not been positive, and the council’s future is now significantly under threat.

UCML considers the British Council one of its closest allies in its mission to support study, teaching and research in modern languages, and has therefore launched a campaign to raise awareness of the vital role the British Council plays in languages education. To this end we have written a letter to the Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, as well as other key stakeholders, and support the campaign launched by the Public and Commercial Services Union, which includes an Early Day Motion in Parliament.

Visit the website to read the letter and find out how you can participate in the campaign.


Around the World resources

8 April 2020 (British Council)

We all know the importance of keeping connected whilst distancing. That’s why we’ve curated a special collection of our favourite resources about life and culture in different countries around the world. Designed by specialists and tested by teachers, our resources are packed with ideas and projects to help you plan face to face or online classes and support parents with home-learning.

Why not plan a virtual trip around the world for your students and choose which countries you’d like to explore together? We’re always here to help you bring the world into your classroom, wherever your classroom is.


French Institute in Scotland's new cultural blog

26 March 2020 (Institut français)

Created with the hope that it will provide you with content to keep in touch with French culture and activities during the confinement period, this blog will also allow you to know our team better by offering articles written by different members of staff on their favourite topics. Please get in touch with us at and tell us what you’d like to see or hear from us on our blog and social media! Don’t forget to take care of each other, to keep your spirits up and to stay safe and healthy.

Two new posts will be uploaded each day at 10am and 3pm.


Bring the world into your classroom

13 March 2020 (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.


DiscoverEU free travel passes for young people

6 March 2020 (Erasmus+)

Do you know an 18-year-old up for an adventure? DiscoverEU is back – giving them the chance to travel across Europe!

If you’re unfamiliar with this European Union initiative, it offers young people aged 18 the opportunity to discover Europe by providing them with a free travel pass. They can travel by themselves or with a group of up to four friends.

The next round of applications takes place from 12 to 26 March 2020 and 30,000 travel passes are available.

Visit the Erasmus+ website for more information, including a short video about the initiative.


Modern Language Assistants 2020-21 applications open

14 February 2020 (British Council)

The British Council Language Assistants team is now welcoming requests from host schools, colleges, universities and local authorities for the 2020-21 academic year.

Language Assistants are an invaluable resource for the development of language skills and the raising of inter-cultural awareness. Language Assistants can help learners build their confidence while gaining new cultural insights. Assistants are native speakers of French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Mandarin from our 14 partner countries around the globe.

Visit the website to apply or contact the Language Assistants team for more information at

British Council Language Assistants banner


eTwinning 2020 Annual Theme - Climate Change and Environmental Challenges

12 February 2020 (eTwinning)

Supporting the European Green Deal, eTwinning acknowledges that students of today are the adults of tomorrow most likely to experience the effects of climate change. That is why it is imperative to learn to live sustainably in order to counteract climate change and other environmental challenges.

2020 is the year of 'climate change and environmental challenges' for eTwinning. It's free to sign up, meet and partner with teachers from schools in 44 countries and start an international classroom project.

See the website for more information and get involved.


Funded summer courses in Germany - applications now open!

6 February 2020 (UK-German Connection)

We offer three summer course opportunities for pupils and teachers, all combining language-learning with cultural trips and excursions, as well as staying with host families. All are part or fully funded. Follow the appropriate link to find out more about each course.

Application deadline for each programme: 1 March 2020.

If you have any questions about the courses, don't hesitate to get in touch with the UK-German Connection team at

Scotland-China Association primary schools competition 2020

6 February 2020 (Scotland-China Association)

Open to all pupils in P5, P6 and P7 in Scottish schools, this year's competition from the Scotland-China Association asks students to design a kite.

Kites have been made and flown all over the world for thousands of years, and are very popular in China. The aim of the competition is to inspire the creativity of Scottish primary school pupils and to encourage them to learn more about Scotland and China. Entries should explore ideas which demonstrate understanding of links between Scotland and China through the design for a kite. We are working in partnership with RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, where the prize giving will be held.

Individual or group entries are welcomed and should take one of the following forms:

  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Craftwork (for example an actual kite)
  • Writing
  • Photography
  • Video/media/film (no more than 10 minutes long)
  • Embroidery/stitching/textile

See the attached flyer for more information and the entry form, which must accompany all submissions. The deadline for entries is 15 May 2020.


£2.5 million to boost international exchanges for schools

19 January 2020 (Department for Education)

Thousands more young people will have the chance to take part in international exchanges and visits thanks to a new £2.5 million programme, the Education Secretary announced today (19 January).

Schools in England will be able to apply for grants to take pupils aged 11 and above to visit partner schools around the world, giving them the chance to experience different cultures, improve language skills and build independence, character and resilience.

The programme, which will be principally focused on supporting children from disadvantaged backgrounds, will be run in partnership with the British Council – whose own research has found that only 39% of secondary schools run international exchanges. For independent schools, the figure is 77%.

As education ministers from around the world prepare to gather in London for the Education World Forum, Damian Hinds has stressed the importance of ensuring disadvantaged young people don’t miss out on the life-changing experiences and academic opportunities offered by overseas visits.

Evidence shows that businesses are increasingly looking for employees with international experience and language skills – and, according to a British Council survey, almost two-thirds of university language students said that an international exchange helped inspire them to choose their degree course.

The programme will build on the government’s work to encourage more pupils to study a foreign language, including their inclusion in the English Baccalaureate. Since 2010 we have seen 45% more entries in GCSE Chinese and 51% more entries in GCSE Spanish.


Erasmus+ funding for UK schools – apply now!

14 January 2020 (British Council)

Want to inspire your students and teachers – and help them to succeed?

The Erasmus+ 2020 Call is now open for applications. Erasmus+ offers funding to UK schools for life-changing international opportunities. You can apply for one or more of the following funding streams:

  • School Education Staff Mobility (Key Action 101):
    Application deadline - 5 February 2020 at 11am (UK time)
    School staff can teach, train or job shadow abroad - to develop their professional practice, build relationships with international peers and gain fresh ideas.
  • School Exchange Partnerships (Key Action 229):
    Application deadline - 24 March 2020 at 11am (UK time)
    Pupils and students can take part in international exchanges and study experiences, and staff can do training and teaching assignments overseas - to develop new skills, get inspired and gain vital international experience.
  • Strategic Partnerships for School Education (Key Action 201):
    Application deadline - 24 March 2020 at 11am (UK time)
    Schools can collaborate with international partners - to drive innovation, share best practice, and offer new opportunities to young people.

The funding is open to UK schools and colleges providing general, vocational or technical education to pupils aged 3 – 18 years. Local and regional authorities, school coordination bodies and consortia can also apply.

Please visit the website to find out more and apply for Erasmus+ schools funding now.  Any questions? Please contact the Erasmus+ UK National Agency at:


Government decision to scrap Erasmus scheme will harm UK's bottom line

10 January 2020 (City AM)

The UK has always lagged behind its European neighbours in foreign language learning, and the vote this week to eradicate the Erasmus scheme will only slow that adoption further. 

For many, Erasmus was an opportunity to live and learn a new culture and language, free from class and income boundaries. The programme gave the UK’s youth an international edge. But now that the government has denied university students this exchange scheme, following Wednesday’s Brexit votes, it runs a serious risk of making British students more insular, constricted, and less culturally open.

Concerns about this decision don’t just begin and end with the loss of cultural and social benefits for students — it will inevitably affect the UK’s future workforce and bottom line. 

In the midst of the Brexit process, where we have already seen a reduction in net migration since the referendum, how will British industries fair without this source of diversity in learning and incoming talent?

This decision is arguably the worst one made for the British education system since 2004, when Tony Blair’s Labour government chose to scrap compulsory foreign language learning at the GCSE level, which led to a severe drop in the number of UK pupils taking subjects such as French and German. In fact, there has been a huge 63 per cent fall in GCSE entries for French and a 67 per cent for German since 2002. 

The government is setting a dangerous precedent. It sends the message to young Brits that foreign language skills aren’t important, and that English is the language of the world. 

It isn’t. In fact, only 20 per cent of the world’s population speaks English — this includes both native and second language speakers. 

In 2013, the now-dissolved Department of Business, Innovation and Skills revealed that the UK’s language skills deficit could be costing the economy up to £48bn each year. So it is concerning that this Brexit-driven decision has gone ahead without a regard for its implications. 


New job profile on the SCILT website

10 January 2020 (SCILT)

We have a range of job profiles on our website showcasing careers where languages are being used. The latest addition to our collection comes from Ruth Sillars-Mathouillot, a Relationship Manager for a bank based in Luxembourg.

Ruth tells us language learning offers an enriching experience, providing the ability to socialise with people of different cultures and backgrounds. 

Teachers use this resource with your pupils to support the Developing the Young Workforce initiative and highlight the benefits of language learning as a life skill.


Chinese New Year

19 December 2019 (British Council)

Get ready to celebrate Chinese New Year on 25 January 2020!

This education resource from the British Council is packed full of exciting ideas and activities from across the curriculum, helping you and your pupils celebrate Chinese New Year 2020 and the Year of the Rat.

Play the sound files and practice saying the names of different Chinese festivals and greetings in Mandarin. Read a traditional story about a pair of ambitious rat parents trying to find a husband for their daughter. Get creative making rat finger puppets, Tangram puzzles and steamed rice dumplings. Learn together about Tomb Sweeping Day, the Spring, Moon and Dragon Boat Festivals and read letters from Chinese children about how they celebrate with their friends and families.

This resource is suitable for primary years and adaptable for early secondary years and older.


School partnership bursaries

16 December 2019 (UK-German Connection)

UK-German Connection is again offering bursaries of £1,000 to help keep UK-German school partnerships alive. The bursaries can support pupil visits and joint activities taking place in 2020.

Visit the website to find out more and submit your application by 31 January 2020.


‘How learning a foreign language changed my life‘

26 November 2019 (Stock Daily Dish)

The number of teenagers learning foreign languages in UK secondary schools has dropped by 45% since the turn of the millennium.

The reaction to the research was mixed. Why learn a foreign language when English is spoken by hundreds of millions of people worldwide, some people wondered.

Others questioned the need for a second language when translation technology is advancing so quickly.

But many speakers of foreign languages extolled the benefits. Four native English speakers tell how making the effort to learn a second language is important – and how it changed their life.

When Alex Chaffer moved to Germany four years ago, he could only say “hello” and “thank you” in German.

He had not learnt the language at school, but was starting off a career in sports journalism and had the opportunity to go to Germany.

When he first arrived, he discovered his accommodation had fallen through.

“I had been scammed,” he said. “I couldn‘t speak to anyone because I didn‘t have the language, I was lost.”

“The first year I was here I didn‘t learn a lot. I then had a German girlfriend that helped massively, having someone force me to do it and hearing it around all the time. She would speak in English and I would speak in German.”

The 23-year-old is now fluent and works on the website of Germany‘s top football league, Bundesliga.


Global partnerships, local learning

20 November 2019 (Stride Magazine)

Gemma Burnside from the Scotland Malawi Partnership, explains why all schools should consider the benefits an international school partnership can bring to their learning communities.

With current events threatening to make the UK ever more insular and closed off from the rest of the world, it’s important to consider the vital role international school partnerships play in introducing young people to other cultures and ways of life. By expanding their view of how their peers around the world experience life and education, these kinds of partnerships are creating the global citizens and activists of the future.

Working with around 250 schools across Scotland as members of the Scotland Malawi Partnership, I have the chance to see the incredible variety of school partnerships between Scotland and Malawi. No two are the same in what they want to achieve or the experiences they share. What they do have in common is the friendships that are created between teachers, pupils and communities in these two countries.


New job profile on SCILT's website

8 November 2019 (SCILT)

We have job profiles on our website covering a wide range of careers where languages are in use. Our latest addition comes from Mark McLaughlin, a Researcher in International Law, whose language skills have enabled him to live and work in China. Mark tells us learning the language of the place you're living really helps you get an understanding of the country's culture. 

Teachers use this resource with your pupils to support the Developing the Young Workforce initiative and highlight the benefits of language learning as a life skill.


RZSS Science Specialist Confucius Classroom - What's on offer?

7 November 2019 (RZSS)

RZSS Specialist Confucius Classroom has limited free places for two sessions at Edinburgh Zoo.

  • Our P3-P4 'It makes Panda Sense' session is available to book from October through to December.
  • Our P5-P7 'China's animals and habitats will be available from January to April but bookings are being taken now. The P5-P7 session is in our new amazing immersive space!

Please read the attached pdf flyer for more information and please include all the details requested in your email if you wish to book. 

International Education Week 2019

5 November 2019 (British Council)

International Education Week takes place 18-22 November 2019, and British Council has a range of ways to help your school #BeInternational.

International partnerships have changed the lives of pupils in thousands of schools. Pupils who have learnt new languages, developed their understanding of different cultures, and discovered more about the global issues that affect us all. Here are some of the ways you can participate in International Education Week 2019:

  • Take the #BeInternational languages quiz 
  • Enter our Unexpected Voices speechwriting competition
  • Partner with a school in Europe through eTwinning 
  • Partner with a school outside Europe with Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning 
  • Download The Great Languages Challenge and get your students to design their own challenges for their classmates or peers in their partner school overseas.
  • Apply for funding to take your students on an international exchange
  • Get recognised for your international work through the International School Award . 
  • Share your international activity with us using the hashtag #BeInternational 

Visit the British Council website to find out more.


What my students gain from international experiences

28 October 2019 (British Council Voices)

Head teacher Ian Kell tells us why he connects pupils in the north east of England with international opportunities.

Why do you look for international opportunities for your pupils?

International experience shouldn't just be an optional extra in education. It should be mandatory. 

For many of the students at the school in Durham where I teach, opportunities to travel, beyond package holidays, are limited.

I want to encourage my students to gain experiences of new and different cultures and ways of living. While most of the children want to travel, there are opportunities available for kids who don't want to, like programmes that connect children across the world virtually. 


Africa in Motion Film Festival 2019

25 October 2019 (African in Motion Film Festival)

The Africa in Motion Film Festival takes place from 25 October to 3 November. Screenings in Glasgow and Edinburgh include several foreign language films.

Visit the website for full details of this year's programme.


Do we think differently in different languages?

24 October 2019 (BBC)

This short video explores how much of an impact the language you speak has on how you actually think. 


Everyone should learn a second language

18 October 2019 (Varsity)

Olivia Halsall gives an account of her experiences learning Chinese Mandarin and French, whilst encouraging students to take the plunge into foreign language learning.

"But you’re British.” In a quaint hostel in Xiamen, a coastal city dubbed the “Mansion Gate” of China, I’ve been helping two new French arrivals translate their needs into Chinese Mandarin. The lack of English language between both parties has been making the process difficult, and it would be cruel not to step in and help. Caught in the act, a passing German soon discovers I’m British only to astutely declare that he’s never met a multilingual Brit.

Wanting to refute his seemingly absurd claim, instead I find myself reddening in shame. My parents and most of my British friends are monolingual. Their abridged reason is that where English is the world’s lingua franca, on the outset there seems no urgent need to learn an additional language. The age-old maxim confessed when a Brit is expressing remorse at their poor language skills is conventionally, “but I’m so bad at languages!” As a nation, we do not have the plethora of multilingual exposure and resources that many others take for granted. In 2019, this should no longer be an excuse.

Had I been brought up in Switzerland, I would have grown up surrounded by German, French, Italian, Romansh (and English). Had I been born Chinese, I would have spoken a provincial dialect at home and Chinese Mandarin at school. Like many countries around the world, had I not been born British, I’d have been pushed to learn English fluently before completing my secondary education. Brits shouldn’t look to these nations in awe; the linguistic vibrancy in other countries is simply a way of life, and multilingualism the norm.

The latest data from the European Commission (2016) shows the percentage of the population aged 25–64 reporting to know one or more foreign languages in the UK is 34.6%. This rises to 60.1% in France, 78.7% in Germany, and a staggering 96.6% in Sweden. The average across the European Union is 64.6%, which sets us apart not only linguistically, but culturally.

To make matters worse, a 2018 survey report by the British Council on language trends found that “just over a third (34%) of state secondary schools report that leaving the European Union is having a negative impact on language learning, either through student motivation and/or parental attitudes towards the subject”. In the aftermath of Brexit, there has never been a better time for the UK to plunge itself into foreign language learning.


Erasmus+ newsletter - October 2019

17 October 2019 (Erasmus+)

The latest news from the Erasmus+ UK National Agency is now available to view online. Included in this issue is a statistical animation showcasing funding results broken down across each country in the UK from 2014-2018. Whilst Erasmus+ stories have taken on a Scottish flavour this month, with new additions from Pollokshields Primary School, Glasgow Caledonian University and LEAP Sports Scotland.


eTwinning – what it is and why UK educators should get in quick

4 October 2019 (London Connected Learning Centre)

London Connected Learning Centre’s Peter Lillington reports back from last week’s UK eTwinning Conference.

If you’re a UK educator of 3-19 year olds and you haven’t yet heard of eTwinning – get up to speed and get in quick (and certainly before 31 October). eTwinning is a free online community for schools in Europe and some neighbouring countries, which allows you to find partners and collaborate on projects within a secure network and potentially access Erasmus+ funding.

This fantastic initiative is supported in the UK by the British Council and of the 670,000 registrations on the platform, more than 27,000 are teachers from the UK. Take a look to get a flavour of some of the projects that show the power of online international collaboration between schools: from coding, robotics, Lego and laughter to challenging perceptions on migration, language learning, history and inclusion.


Into Film Festival 2019

3 October 2019 (Into Film)

The Into Film Festival is a free, annual, nationwide celebration of film and education for 5-19 year olds.

Taking place from 6-22 November 2019 in various locations across the country, film titles will include premieres and the latest blockbusters alongside old favourites, documentaries, animations, short films, modern foreign language titles and much more, all mapped against curricula from across the four UK nations, and supported by the Festival's various educational resources.

Visit the website to discover screenings near you.


EDL blog 2019

19 September 2019 (SCILT)

How are you planning to celebrate European Day of Languages 2019? 

Email us a short description and some photos after your event, and we will feature you in our EDL blog for 2019. We may even include your story in our next SCILT newsletter. 

If you are still looking for ideas on how to celebrate you can visit our EDL webpage which has lots of suggestions for activities, downloadable resources and links to useful websites. 


Reigniting the love of languages

17 September 2019 (Erasmus+)

With multilingualism being a key ingredient in making your CV stand out from the crowd, language skills are in high demand.

As well as boosting employability, learning a language also helps people to become more culturally aware, and can even improve cognitive skills in observation, memory and creativity.

In the UK less than half of the working age population can speak a foreign language. The BBC reported earlier this year that foreign language learning was at its lowest level in UK secondary schools since the turn of the millennium.

However, the Erasmus+ programme, which supports language learning in schools, is making a difference by providing funding to UK schools to run vital international activities. 

Ahead of the European Day of Languages on 26 September, let’s take a look at the UK language landscape and how Erasmus+ is helping school staff and pupils to reignite their love of languages.


UK-German Connection - Back to School Newsletter 2019

9 September 2019 (UK-German Connection)

As the new school year gets underway, find out about the latest selection of initiatives from UK-German Connection in their autumn newsletter.

This edition includes information about the following opportunities:

  • Host a Teacher from Germany in 2020
  • Youth Seminars in Germany
  • Magical Christmas trips
  • UK-German bears - Alex and Ben


Host a teacher from Germany

5 September 2019 (UK-German Connection)

There are just over two weeks left to register for this free CPD opportunity to host a teacher from Germany for 1, 2 or 3 weeks in spring/summer 2020.

What are the benefits?

  1. Choose your own timings - it's flexible and fully funded!
  2. Enhance the intercultural dimension in your school community
  3. Share best practice on an international level
  4. Boost speaking confidence in your classrooms
  5. Create a connection with a German school

Deadline: 20 September 2019 to host in spring/summer 2020.

Visit the UK-German Connection website to find out more and to apply.


International school exchange facilitated seminar

27 August 2019 (British Council)

Would you like to set up a student exchange visit but don't yet have a partner school?

For schools looking for a partner school, we still have a few spaces available on our seminar in Germany in the Autumn term 2019, designed to allow schools to set up a partnership and plan your exchange.

All arrangements will be made by the British Council and travel, accommodation and meal costs will be covered.

Visit the British Council website for more information and to apply by 13 September 2019. Be quick, spaces are extremely limited!


Paul McNamee: Languages can cut through the class gap

26 August 2019 (The Big Issue)

I am hugely impressed by people who can speak more than one language. If you’re up at three or more, I’m at your feet. I would have kept Roy Hodgson as England’s football manager for as long as he wanted purely because he once gave a post-match press conference moving easily from English to Italian to Swedish. He also has some Norwegian and Finnish.

There was a strange mixture of support and sniffiness when Boris Johnson spoke French last week during his meeting with Emmanuel Macron. On the one side, his supporters said, well he can’t be a non-European bigot because he speaks French. On the other, the argument was, well he still is. Neither stack up. And both miss the point.


Our World film making project 2019-20

23 August 2019 (SEET)

Our World is a languages and citizenship based film making project for S3 - S6 pupils run by the Scottish European Educational Trust (SEET). It's designed to complement the curriculum for excellence and attainment challenge by providing a free project, which uses an interdisciplinary approach to encourage pupils to become more engaged in their language learning.

Participants submit a storyboard outlining the film they propose to make. This year's films should explore the idea of global citizenship and touch on one or more of the following themes:

  • Migration and welcome
  • Sustainable Tourism
  • Trade

The film must also include the use of a language other than English. Entry deadline is 3 December 2019.

Schools wishing to take part should visit the SEET website for more information and to register.


Monolingual island and the “B word”

22 August 2019 (The Notification)

Everyone speaks English, don’t they? Isn’t it the third most common mother tongue and most frequently-learnt second language in the world, and anyway isn’t it the de facto international language of business, tourism, music and academia? And how are a Swede and Slovak meant to communicate otherwise, without resorting to mime or the questionable suggestions of Google Translate?

Comparing broad Glaswegian, Aussie drawl and Canadian lilt shows us the incredible diversity and geographical spread of our language, arguably the most useful mother tongue on the planet. However, the Anglophone phenomenon comes with its own bear traps. 61% of British people can’t speak a single other language. We thus receive the dubious award for the most monolingual country in Europe.

There’s something very British about the way we consistently overestimate the importance of our own language (only 38% of EU citizens outside the UK and Ireland know enough English to have a conversation, and 6 of the world’s 7.5 billion people speak no English at all) and find excuses not to learn anyone else’s.

We have an unfortunate tendency to reduce language to its functional value of bare bones communication: if person A from country B learns our word for C, we’re good. We persistently neglect that language is also intrinsically tied up with culture, identity and personality.

“A different language is a different vision of life”, quipped the Italian film director Federico Fellini. Speaking only the language handed down to us by our parents means we miss a whole dimension of the human experience, and the pleasure of authentically discovering another layer of the cultural richness of our world.


Youth seminar 'Sustainable Consumption: Why our everyday choices matter'

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.


Discovery Film Festival 2019

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.


Into Film Awards 2020

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.


How to make children citizens of the world

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.

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Bring the world into your classroom

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.


Young culinary and linguistic talents celebrated

21 June 2019 (SCILT)

Thirty-one young learners from across Scotland cooked up a storm on Friday 14 June 2019 at the City of Glasgow College, testing their culinary and language skills in the LinguaChef 2019 competition final. Dunblane High School were crowned as winners in the Secondary category. Glasgow Academy Milngavie were winners in the P1-P4 category, whilst Doune Primary took the honours in the P5-P7 age group.

The competition is a partnership project from Scotland’s National Centre for Languages (SCILT) and City of Glasgow College. It brings together languages and food, challenging primary and secondary school pupils to create an international dish from a country whose language they are learning in school, or which is spoken at home.

Participating schools entered the recipe for the dish, including ingredients and instructions, in both the language of the chosen country and in English. Finalists from each of the age categories (P1-P4, P5-P7 and Secondary) were selected to attend the Grand Final where they prepared, cooked and presented their dish to professional chefs and judges.

One teacher said of the competition: “It was an excellent experience for pupils to see the college facilities and to engage with cooking and language skills.”

A participating pupil added: “I liked that it gave us a chance to have a conversation in French and to work in a team.”

Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT, said: “Food is a fundamental part of any culture and is inextricably linked with language. Much of the vocabulary used in English to describe food originates in other parts of the world. Words from other languages, such as chef, cuisine, pizza, tapas, paella and frankfurter are all commonplace and English speakers feel particularly comfortable with them. It is therefore very fitting to see our children and young people exploring culture and deepening their language skills while developing their understanding of food, its origins and preparation. The competition provides another great example of the cross-sector work going on in the languages community in Scottish schools, colleges and universities and we are thrilled to be working with our colleagues from City of Glasgow College in this initiative.”

As activities heated up in the kitchen, dishes from France, Greece, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and South America were produced, celebrating culinary and cultural diversity.

The pupils got the chance to discuss their dish with the judges, both in English and the target language, and decorated their presentation table with artefacts representing the country and culture.

Winners were selected based on the culinary success of their dish, presentation and table display and the ability to discuss their recipe in the target language. The successful teams were awarded a trophy. All participants at the event received a certificate and goody bag.

LinguaChef is an annual competition that provides pupils in primary and secondary schools across Scotland with an opportunity to have fun with food and languages whilst honing other important skills such as team-work, communication and IT.

Entries were submitted from schools in East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Shetland, Stirling and West Lothian.

Find out more about the event and winning recipes on the SCILT website.

Survey: Education & careers abroad with #Globescotters

7 November 2018 (Young Scot)

As part of Scotland’s Year of Young People, Young Scot have partnered with British Council Scotland to encourage you to embrace the international experiences available to you at home and abroad as part of our joint campaign, ‘GlobeScotters’.

In this short survey we want to find out your thoughts on all things international when it comes to education and careers abroad!

Visit the website and complete the survey by 17 December 2018 to earn reward points!


Open eTwinning: Project-Based Learning and the Community for Schools in Europe

28 October 2018 (School Education Gateway)

Join this course to learn about eTwinning and how it can help you design a project-based learning experience for your students in cooperation with colleagues across Europe and beyond. During the course, you will learn about the principles of project-based learning and how to start a project in the eTwinning community.

Throughout the activities, we will look at the entire life cycle of a project, starting with the initial idea, including finding a partner and negotiations to design a common project, and ending with the implementation and evaluation of the project. We will include principles of project work and collaboration, as well as the educational use of various ICT tools that facilitate project work. We will also look at the social aspect of collaborative projects, showing eTwinning not only as a platform in which to implement educational projects, but also as a meeting place between colleagues, an environment where we can share ideas and participate in various professional development activities.

Visit the website for more information and to enrol on the free course, commencing 5 November 2018.


Grants for UK-German activities

25 October 2018 (UK-German Connection)

UK-German Connection offers a number of grants for joint activities between schools and youth groups in the UK and Germany.

The next deadline is approaching, so if you have any projects taking place in 2018-19 for which you'd like funding, visit the UK-German Connection website for more information and apply by 31 October 2018.


Schools awarded the European Quality Label 2018

23 October 2018 (eTwinning)

We are pleased to announce the schools awarded the European Quality Label 2018! A total of 1204 projects received the Quality Label for their outstanding work. See the list of the distinguished schools, teachers' name and the project that got them their Quality Label.

Congratulations to all the Scottish schools on the list who have been recognised with an award!

If you'd like to get involved with eTwinning and collaborative projects with schools overseas, visit the website to find out how you can get involved and be rewarded with a Quality Label for your school.


How language assistants can make a difference in your school

17 October 2018 (TES)

At Dane Royd Junior and Infant School, we’ve been employing modern language assistants (MLA) – mainly European and Chinese language assistants for over 15 years. We also lead training and support for schools within the local authority who employ language assistants.

Our MLAs have been key in boosting not only our teaching of modern foreign languages but also the teaching of global citizenship and British Values. We’ve seen our pupils’ understanding of their cultural heritage and place in the world grow by being able to compare and contrast their experiences and beliefs through their frequent interactions with an MLA.

In supporting other schools, I’ve seen the wealth of activities that MLAs can contribute which enable schools to deepen their language teaching, as well as dramatically improve language skills among pupils. Here are a few of the most effective activities to try in your school.


Another record year for Erasmus+ in Scotland

17 October 2018 (British Council)

Scotland's share of Erasmus+ EU funding is up by more than €1m since last year. This means that a record total of €22.3m will be shared by 172 Scottish organisations working across a range of sectors:

€14.1m for universities and higher education institutions
€5.9m for organisations working in vocational education and training
€865k for youth work organisations
€832k for schools
€614k for organisations working in adult education

With further funding results for 2018 yet to be announced, and 2019 calls due to open, the figure will again rise. 

Erasmus+ enables people from the UK to go abroad to study, train, or volunteer and is delivered in the UK by the British Council in partnership with Ecorys UK.

Most of the new funding is for projects between Scotland and European countries. But Erasmus+ also reaches beyond Europe and in turn helps Scotland to do so. 

€3.8m of this year’s figure is shared between ten higher education projects, which will connect Scottish universities and colleges with their counterparts in the USA, South Africa, India, Israel, Palestine, China, Canada, Mexico, amongst many other countries.

If you want to find out more about Erasmus+, information sessions giving an overview of the programme and available funding are being run throughout the UK during autumn. Check the website for more details.


Pupils teach us why it’s important to learn about other countries

16 October 2018 (British Council)

This year, pupils from Kinlochbervie in the Scottish Highlands took part in our Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning programme by partnering with Sachangwan Secondary School and Nguzu River Primary in Kenya. 

The distance between the schools, which we are reliably told by Kinlochbervie students is exactly 4623 miles as the crow flies, didn’t stop students speaking, giving tours of their schools and teaching each other about their culture.

Via letters, and a video directed by S1 pupils, Kinlochbervie students told their Kenyan peers about otters, lochs, shinty, fishing and snow. In a video response, the Sachangwan students showed off their impressive school grounds, sang, and planted trees in honour of the partnership. There were dance performances on both sides and in footage yet unseen by British Council Scotland, the Kenyan students learned to ceilidh dance.

However the partnership didn’t stop at school tours and dancing. The Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning programme , delivered by the British Council in partnership with the Department of International Development, provides teachers with the resources and training to teach internationally. As part of this, partnered schools work together on a project focusing on one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

Kinlochbervie and Sachangwan students chose to focus on gender equality, exploring the issue as part of their Modern Studies (High School) and Citizenship (Primary School) courses. In the summer, P5-S2 pupils hosted an event in Kinlochbervie to celebrate their work on the project. The event featured live performances from the Scottish pupils and video performances by Kenyan pupils around the gender equality theme.


Why you can never truly understand another country without learning its language

11 October 2018 (The Telegraph)

The first thing I asked for on getting ashore in Spain was a glass of red wine. I had never been to the country before and could speak not a sentence of the language, so I pieced together the request from a dictionary.

The woman behind the bar was nonplussed, since each word I’d used and the whole sentence were erroneous. So she served the next customer while I stewed in confusion. Then she explained to me that she’d done this in order to attend to me without hurry. The funny thing was that I didn’t know any of the words she used to me, yet I understood.

(Note, subscription required to read full article).


Inspiring schools: John Paul II Primary, Castlemilk

11 October 2018 (British Council)

Every day at British Council Scotland we hear about how international learning benefits Scottish schools, teachers and pupils. Making this happen is a core part of our work, and we are keen to spread the message far and wide.

Last month, we visited John Paul II Primary School in Castlemilk, where a partnership with a school in Spain has had a powerful effect on pupils. We also heard from our partners at Glasgow City Council, which is a leading example of good practice when it comes to local authorities creating international and intercultural opportunities for their schools.  


Africa in Motion Film Festival 2018

10 October 2018 (Africa in Motion Film Festival)

Africa in Motion is Scotland’s major annual celebration of African cinema, and is delighted to return for the 13th year to bring audiences in Edinburgh and Glasgow a wide variety of creative stories from across the African continent.

Screenings will take place from 26 October to 4 November. Several films in the programme will offer the opportunity to brush up your language skills in French, Arabic, Japanese and Swahili.

Find full programme details on the website.


Gaelic centre plan has backing of Inverness public

4 October 2018 (Inverness Courier)

A survey has shown that there is significant public support for a new Gaelic cultural centre in Inverness.

The research, which was carried out by the Alba Heritage Trust with the aim of establishing the level of interest in a project celebrating Gaelic heritage, was met with “overwhelming” backing from members of the public.

Alba Heritage Trust director Alastair Forbes says the reaction has from businesses and individuals across the board has been significant.

“We are delighted to have had so many responses to the survey,” he said.

“The reaction from the public and private sectors and from members of the community for the establishment of a Gaelic cultural centre has been extremely positive which has given us great confidence in moving forward with the project.”


European Day of Languages – 26 September 2018: Statement from Council of Europe Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland

26 September 2018 (ECML/COE)

“Understanding each other is the key to benefitting from Europe’s rich cultural diversity. Language education helps us to do this and to embrace other cultures and ways of life.

The European Day of Languages, initiated by the Council of Europe, is held each year on 
26 September. It provides an opportunity to celebrate Europe’s unique linguistic context, and serves as an impetus for people of all ages and backgrounds to broaden their horizons and discover the added value of being able to communicate in other languages.

Languages and culture go hand in hand. This year, which is the EU-designated European Year of Cultural Heritage, hundreds of events are being organised around the continent by schools, universities, and cultural institutions and associations to mark the European Day of Languages and send a powerful message of openness to one another. My best wishes go to all of those taking part.”


Background information on the Day

The European Day of Languages (EDL) is an annual celebration day to encourage language learning across Europe. At the initiative of the Council of Europe, EDL has been celebrated every year, on 26 September, since the European Year of Languages in 2001.

The specific aims of the EDL are to:

  • raise awareness of the importance of language learning in order to increase plurilingualism and intercultural understanding;
  • promote the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe;
  • encourage lifelong language learning in and out of school.

The dedicated website for the EDL is available in 37 languages and hundreds of activities are registered in the events’ calendar. The EDL activities which take place in Europe and increasingly on other continents are organised mainly by schools, universities, language and cultural institutes, associations and also by the European Commission’s translation field offices. In 2017 over 1250 events involving tens of thousands of participants were recorded.


‘The best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it’

25 September 2018 (Irish Times)

Learning a new language can seem like a mammoth challenge, but for those who are really intent on developing fluency, nothing beats full immersion by moving to the country where it is spoken day-to-day. Ahead of European Day of Languages on September 26th, readers living around the world share their experiences of the frustration and joy of learning a new tongue.


Inspire your students with new funding for global learning

19 September 2018 (British Council)

Connecting Classrooms is back, and we have some exciting updates for the new school year.

If you are thinking about taking your school on an international journey this year, it’s time to take a look at how you can join the new Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning programme.

You can apply for Connecting Classrooms opportunities either as an individual school, or part of a cluster, which will be overseen by a lead school.

Becoming a lead school provides a host of benefits, including access to grants to develop your cluster, the opportunity to deliver CPD to other schools in your area and cover support for your co-ordinator’s time. 

Visit the website for more information and apply by 28 October to be included in the first round of grant awards.


The Local Storytelling Campaign

13 September 2018 (SISF)

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival (SISF) takes place 19-31 October. Across Scotland, schools and communities are encouraged to take part in an initiative that celebrates the art of storytelling under the theme Growing Stories. The Local Campaign, running from Monday 17 September – Friday 30 November, aims to highlight how stories help communities connect, grow together and play a vital part in preserving heritage and cultures for new generations.

To celebrate, audiences are invited to book a storyteller for a local event, strike-up new community activity and engagement with storytelling. 

Visit the Scottish International Storytelling Festival website for more information and suggested ways to take part.


Time to Move T-shirt contest

13 September 2018 (Eurodesk)

The Time to Move T-shirt contest returns in 2018! 

If you are at least 13 years old and not more than 30, design a Time to Move themed T-shirt that best represents the spirit of the campaign, share it with us and have a chance to travel around Europe by train!

Time to Move is a collection of events for young people organised all over Europe during the month of October. The activities focus on introducing hundreds of possibilities through which you can go abroad and take part in an international project, explore Europe or gain experience you need for your future.

Visit the website for more information and submit entries by 31 October 2018.


'Host a Teacher' Programme: free CPD opportunity

10 September 2018 (UK-German Connection)

Welcome a teacher from Germany to any department in your school for 1, 2 or 3 weeks in 2019 to give your pupils a real-life learning context for German language and culture.

What are the benefits?

  1. Choose your own timings - it's flexible and free!
  2. Enhance the intercultural dimension in your school community
  3. Share best practice on an international level
  4. Boost speaking confidence in your classrooms
  5. Create a connection with a German school

"The guest teacher's input into our curriculum was excellent. She came equipped with resources and lessons, which she delivered to our classes, helping to boost the numbers opting for German."

To find out how you can take part, please visit the UK-German Connection website and apply by 21 September 2018 to host in spring or summer.


Magical Christmas Trip

21 August 2018 (UK-German Connection)

Would you like to take part in a Magical Christmas Trip this year and build on or set up a partnership with a school in Germany?

These visits offer primary pupils the chance to get a taste of Germany at Christmas time, meet their German peers and get involved in some seasonal intercultural activity. Secondary pupils have the opportunity to brush up on their German and practice their skills as young leaders.

There are two options for getting involved:

  • apply to take part in a visit to Berlin run by UK-German Connection to set up a link to a school in Berlin
  • apply for funding and organisational support to run your own Christmas visit to an existing partner school anywhere in Germany.

Application deadline: 18 September 2018.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information.


Scottish youth to explore the way of the dragon...

13 August 2018 (4barsrest)

Carnoustie High School Band will head east this September to become the first youth brass band to tour China.

The remarkable opportunity came following a performance at the Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow in 2016 for the renowned Confucius Institute for Scotland.

Such was the success that it led to the school's head teacher Donald Currie being contacted to set the ball rolling on the ambitious initiative — and now, after almost two years of research and fundraising the band will fly out on 7th September for 15 unforgettable days of music and cultural learning.

Confucius Hubs are based in schools and seek to make links with local communities throughout Scotland — with Carnoustie serving the Angus area. It promotes the joint planning of cultural activities, sharing ideas and resources to stimulate the learning and teaching of Chinese language and culture.

The band will fly out from Glasgow, and after a short stop in Dubai will carry on to China where they will enjoy seven days in Tianjin and seven more in Beijing before their return.

While in Tianjin, the band members will be learning Mandarin, as well as performing three concerts. They will also visit Chinese families and schools, enabling the young musicians to experience Chinese culture first hand with a chance to learn Gongfu (Chinese martial arts), Tai Chi, and the ancient arts of calligraphy and mask painting.


Fantastic opportunity to get involved in international work

9 August 2018 (YouthLink Scotland)

YouthLink Scotland, its members and UK/German Connection have teamed up to offer an opportunity to share experiences and make new links between our two countries.

This is an exciting opportunity for workers and the young people (aged 14-21) they work with to get together with German counterparts here and in Germany.

The commitment is two residential weekends taking place in October and December - one in Scotland and one in Berlin.

Places are limited so get in touch soon. The deadline for expressions of interest is 30 August 2018.


Shanghai teacher immersion course 2018

7 August 2018 (CISS)

A group of teachers from Scotland spent two weeks in July immersing themselves in new cultural experiences in Shanghai, China.

A typical day consisted of an early start, breakfast in the Shitang (canteen) followed by Mandarin classes. Everyone greatly enjoyed the lessons as beginners were well supported whilst the more experienced speakers were sufficiently challenged. 

This was followed by a cultuphoto of Shanghai skyline by nightral excursion or experience. For most this was the highlight of the trip as it allowed everyone to apply their learning and to experience authentic Chinese culture.

Highlights in Shanghai included a riverboat cruise by night, showcasing the breath-taking skyline, relaxing from the hustle and bustle experiencing Tai chi, and producing calligraphy and hearing stories behind the characters.

Americans are losing out because so few speak a second language

6 August 2018 (San Francisco Chronicle)

The United States may be the single most powerful nation in the world militarily, and remains a global economic giant, but we have seen repeatedly that our influence is limited. In part, we are constrained by our inadequate understanding of other nations and peoples, and by our inability to communicate effectively with them.

It is therefore disturbing, and evidence of a dangerous myopia, that we continue to neglect training and education in languages other than English.

In 1979, I was a member of the President’s Commission on Foreign Language and International Studies, which found that “Americans’ incompetence in foreign languages is nothing short of scandalous.” Last year, nearly 40 years later, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences released a similar report, “America’s Languages,” and its findings were eerily similar: “[T]he dominance of English, to the exclusion of other languages, has also had adverse and often unforeseen consequences at home and abroad — in business and diplomacy, in civic life, and in the exchange of ideas.”

Much has changed in the decades between these two reports, including the continuing spread of English globally. Today, English is an official language of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the International Criminal Court, and NATO, as well as the unofficial language of international business.

What has not changed, however, is that English alone — an education in English to the exclusion of other languages — remains insufficient to meeting our needs in a global world.

In times of great national security challenges, such as those we face today, as well as in times of great opportunity, such as the opening of new international markets, we find ourselves scrambling for people who can speak, write, and think in languages other than English. In those moments, we search high and low for people who can communicate in Mandarin, Japanese, Russian, Pashto — and especially for people who understand the idioms and nuances that characterize true communication in any culture.

Because it is difficult to find such people immediately, we are at a disadvantage. Language acquisition is a marathon, not a sprint. By the time we educate and train the experts we need to help us address a particular language gap, we are often too late. The crisis has shifted. Others have captured the new market.

As a matter of public policy, this is a terribly inefficient way to operate.


China to create cultural heritage centres in universities

15 June 2018 (THE)

The Chinese government has announced plans to establish 100 “cultural heritage” centres at universities throughout the country that will run academic programmes and conduct scientific research in a bid to promote traditional Chinese culture.

The ministry of education said that it will “build about 100 excellent Chinese traditional cultural heritage sites” in universities and colleges nationwide by 2020, including 50 this year, and support institutions to “focus on ethnic folk music, ethnic folk arts” and folk dances, dramas and operas.


‘Language Linking, Global Thinking’: The Life-Changing Impacts of Travel

14 June 2018 (University of Stirling)

As you’ll have gathered from this blog, a good number of our students opt to apply for English Language Assistantships every year, whether between their 2nd and 3rd years or as graduates. For the past few years, some of our ELA students have also participated in SCILT’s ‘Language Linking, Global Thinking’ scheme during their year as assistants and we thought it’d be good to get a sense of what this actually involves – from the perspective of the students involved.


International youth event in Berlin: Youth for Peace

7 June 2018 (UK-German Connection)

Are you interested in Europe, history and peace? Do you want to learn more about World War I and its consequences? Do you want to know how other societies experienced the war and how you can personally contribute to a peaceful future in and around Europe?

To commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War, the Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO), along with partners, is organising an International Youth Meeting in Berlin. The event will bring together 500 young people from across Europe and beyond to discuss topics such as war, peace and history in an international setting. It will take place from Wednesday 14 November – Sunday 18 November, 2018.

As a partner organisation, UK-German Connection are recruiting a group of 18-22 year olds from the UK to attend this youth event.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information and apply by 17 June 2018.


Improve literacy in your classroom with the International School Award

5 June 2018 (British Council)

The International School Award (ISA) can help you to develop your pupils' literacy.

Classroom teachers like Natalie Richardson testify to the ISA’s effectiveness as a tool to improve the motivation of students to improve their spelling, grammar and handwriting. That’s because the international work that schools undertake to complete their journey to the ISA gives students an audience for their work. They want to improve their skills because they want to look good in front of an audience of their own peers.

The ISA changes the culture of a school by opening up the classroom to the world and enriching the curriculum with cross-curriculum work.

The International School Award works for all schools, primary and secondary, urban and rural, multicultural and monocultural, everyone has something to gain.

Register your interest and find out more on the British Council Schools Online website.


Related Links

How to make an international outlook one of your core skills (TES, 5 March 2018). After achieving the British Council’s International School Award, one teacher explains how their school has taken international learning to the next level with a "fifth floor" approach to different languages and culture. Take inspiration from their experience.

Foreign postings help us become more self-aware

29 May 2018 (Financial Times)

I have lived in four countries: South Africa, where I grew up, the US, where I was a teenage exchange student, Greece, where I learnt how to be a journalist, and the UK or, more specifically, London, where I have now spent the majority of my life.

Each of those places changed me, but did they make me more self-aware? Did they give me a better understanding of my values and how they interacted with the culture surrounding me? And does that make me a better, more insightful employee than colleagues who stayed in the same place?


Host a teacher from Germany

1 May 2018 (UK-German Connection)

Would you like to have authentic German cultural input in your school? Through the Host a Teacher from Germany programme, your school can host a German teacher for two or three weeks during the academic year, at no cost. Offers from UK schools to host teachers from Germany in 2018-19 are now being accepted.

All schools and FE colleges from the whole of the UK can take part. The UK coordinating teacher does not need to be a teacher of German, and German does not need to be on the school’s curriculum; visiting teachers are either teachers of English or have good knowledge of the English language.

Visit the UK-German Connection website and find out how your school could benefit!

Application deadlines: 26 July 2018 / 21 September 2018.


Would you like to explore Europe this summer?

20 April 2018 (European Commission)

Are you 18 years old? Would you like to explore Europe? Then you are the perfect candidate to apply for a new European Union initiative to be officially launched shortly.

In June 2018 the European Commission is selecting up to 15.000 enthusiastic young people to be the lucky recipients of a travel pass to discover Europe.

Travelling is a chance for young people to take advantage of our freedom of movement, to discover the diversity of Europe, enjoy its cultural richness, and make new friends from all over the continent. Ultimately, it’s also a great opportunity to discover yourself.

With 2018 being the European Year of Cultural Heritage, consider yourself particularly lucky. It means that you will also have the opportunity to participate in the many events that are taking place this year all over Europe to celebrate our fantastically diverse cultural heritage.

Applicants must be 18 years old (and not yet 19) at the time of application and have the nationality of one of the EU countries. You can travel up to maximum 30 days and visit up to 4 different country destinations. Moreover, there is the possibility to travel either individually or as a group.

Visit the European Youth Portal website for more information. Applications open in June 2018.


MTOT celebration event - webpage now live!

20 April 2018 (SCILT)

The celebration event for this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition took place on Saturday 17 March at the University of Strathclyde. 

Visit the SCILT website to see the full list of winners and to view the anthology of winning poems. You can also find photos from the event and read some of the feedback received from pupils, parents and teachers. 


China stories: 500 words competition

17 April 2018 (University of Liverpool)

A new 500-word short story competition – with entries judged by best-selling author Philip Pullman – is being launched ahead of the 2018 Liverpool Literary Festival.

The China Stories competition is looking for submissions across a broad range of categories. Winners will see their work published in a special anthology and take part in a writing session with the Royal Society of Literature, as well as receiving vouchers to spend as they wish.

Stories can be about anything, but to coincide with Liverpool’s China Dream season all entries should have a Chinese theme.

Entries are invited from primary and secondary students and should be submitted by 20 July 2018.

Further information can be found on the University of Liverpool website.


Mandarin will give school leavers career advantage

11 April 2018 (UCL/CISS)

More than three in four British business leaders believe speaking Mandarin will give school leavers a career advantage over their counterparts, according to a survey published today.

Amongst over 1,000 senior business decision makers questioned by YouGov for the UCL Institute of Education-delivered Mandarin Excellence Programme, more than three quarters of respondents said that speaking a high level of Mandarin would be beneficial to school pupils in their future careers. 

On average, 28 per cent thought that the advantage would be ‘significant’ – with this rising to 31 per cent amongst those working for companies with an annual turnover of £10 million or more.  

While 69 per cent of those surveyed felt that Mandarin Chinese skills, particularly speaking, would be important for British business and the economy in future, 66 per cent said that it was currently difficult to recruit fluent speakers from within the UK workforce. When asked about language learning more widely, 82 per cent agreed that language teaching in schools “should reflect important potential growth markets for British trade and business”.

You can read the full article on the UCL website.

Opening Doors in Scotland

There is no doubt that languages, including Mandarin, open doors to a range of opportunities. For example, the pupil immersion course which offers young people the opportunity to attend a language and culture immersion course in China. For more details please see the CISS website.

CISS also offers 6th year school leavers the opportunity to apply for the Tianjin Scholarship. To find out more about this exciting chance to learn mandarin in Tianjin for a year, please see our website where you can read blogs from our present Scholars.

There are also activities provided by CISS through our partners, for example Scottish Opera and Edinburgh Zoo. Please visit the CISS website for more details or get in touch with


European professional development workshops

22 March 2018 (British Council eTwinning)

This term, why not apply to go on a short, fully-funded workshop in another European country?

Applications are now open for teachers of pupils aged 3-19 across a range of subject areas to attend a fully-funded 2-3 day professional development workshop in Turkey, Latvia, Norway and Armenia. These events are designed to facilitate new eTwinning projects through partner-finding and project planning activities. Workshop themes and subject areas are varied, spanning cultural diversity to SEN and the environment.

Visit the website for more information about each event and submit your application by 31 March 2018. 


Erasmus+: Global skills for a global future

22 March 2018 (British Council)

The debate over the details of the UK’s future collaboration with the EU is at a critical stage. Emma Skelton reports on a recent expert seminar on the future of UK-EU partnerships for higher education.

The British Council and the Centre for European Policy Studies recently convened a high-level policy dialogue in Brussels on ‘The Future of the EU-UK Partnership on Higher Education and Student Mobility’. This was part of a series of events between key EU and UK policymakers and influencers examining the implications of Brexit for existing collaboration in the sectors of international development, culture and education. 

Much discussion at the event focussed on the Erasmus+ programme. Erasmus+ is the largest provider of student mobility for British students to countries in Europe and beyond. Contributors to the seminar highlighted the importance of the UK to the scheme as a whole, as one of the most popular destination countries, which speakers attributed in part to the excellent reputation of UK universities. They also emphasised the call from British companies for more talent with international experience, intercultural awareness and language skills, which can all be gained through mobility programmes such as Erasmus+.


English as a second language? Schools need to stop treating it as an obstacle to success

21 November 2017 (The Telegraph)

When columnist Andrew Pierce tweeted earlier this year that 1.3 million children “do not speak English as a first language, underlining strain immigration puts on schools”  he understandably caused something of a social media stir.

Alongside some tweets of support, others were quick to point out that not having English as a mother tongue need not correlate to a student’s ability to learn in their second, or third language. Even the author JK Rowling, a former teacher herself, joined the argument to point out that “second and third languages can be fluent”.   

With over 300 languages spoken in classrooms across the UK, and many schools in big towns and cities such as London and Birmingham, it is understandable that many will wonder how schools will be able to cater to all pupils and students equally.    

However, as an educator who has taught in international schools across Europe, I strongly believe that such language issues needn’t be a problem. In fact, if embraced they can stand to benefit all students, and by extension aid in supporting better understanding in areas with culturally diverse populations.    


Young Europeans Award

23 October 2017 (UK-German Connection)

Calling all pupils interested in European issues! Take part in the Young Europeans Award and win a trip to Warsaw!

This initiative aims to encourage dialogue and exchange between young people in the 'Weimar Triangle' countries - Germany, France and Poland. For the 2017-18 round, the UK has been invited to take part as a guest country.

Teams of young people from within schools in Germany, France, Poland and the UK are invited to enter the competition (with support from their school) in groups of 6+ by sending in a collaborative creative project of their choice addressing the statement: 'To be or not to be...a European'.

Winning teams will have the opportunity to visit the Polish capital, Warsaw.

Applications should be submitted by 1 March 2018.

To find out more about the initiative and how to take part, visit the UK-German Connection website.


Languages Lost and Found (Being Human Festival)

12 October 2017 (University of Dundee/UCMLS)

A series of events celebrating languages and cultures across Scotland as part of the UK’s annual Being Human Festival of the Humanities, 'Languages Lost & Found' aims to make visible the often hidden richness and diversity of languages and cultures in Scottish society through community-led workshops and demonstrations.

Events will take place simultaneously on 18 November in a number of locations across Scotland, and activities will vary by location. The event series is organised by the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland with support from Scotland's National Centre for Languages and British Council Scotland and financial support by the AHRC Modern Languages Leadership Fellow funds (Prof. Janice Carruthers).

Visit the website for more information.


European Youth Event (EYE) 2018

11 October 2017 (European Parliament)

There's still time to apply for the third European Youth Event (EYE) which will be taking place 1-2 June 2018 at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

EYE provides a unique opportunity for young Europeans, aged between 16 and 30, to make their voices heard and to come up with innovative ideas for the future of Europe.

EYE2018 includes a wide range of activities in English, French and German run under the motto "The plan is to fan this spark into a flame." (Hamilton, My Shot). The activities centre around five main themes:

  • Young and old: Keeping up with the digital revolution
  • Rich and poor: Calling for a fair share
  • Apart and together: Working out for a stronger Europe
  • Safe and dangerous: Staying alive in turbulent times
  • Local and global: Protecting our planet

Visit the EYE2018 website for more information. Groups of at least 10 young people who want to take part need to register on the website between October and December 2017.


eTwinning face to face workshops

10 October 2017 (eTwinning)

This term, why not apply to go on a short workshop in another European country?

Applications are now open for teachers from Early Years to Upper Secondary to attend a 2-3 day professional development workshop in Ireland and Spain. These events are designed to facilitate new eTwinning projects through partner-finding and project planning activities. Workshop themes and subject areas are varied, spanning e-safety to computational thinking, MFL, history and culture.

Visit the website to find out more and apply by 16/19 October 2017 respectively.


2017-18 Tianjin Scholars Blogs now live

6 October 2017 (CISS)

The first blog entries from a number of Tianjin Scholars are now available to read on the Confucius Institute for Scotland's Schools website.


Glasgow named one of the top cities in the world to learn about Chinese language and culture

20 September 2017 (Glasgow Live)

Glasgow is officially home to a world leader in the teaching of Chinese language and culture.

The Confucius Institute for Scotland's Schools (CISS) has been appointed a Model Confucius Institute by the global headquarters, Hanban.

The centre, based at the University of Strathclyde, is one of only 40 facilities out of 500 across the globe to be given the status.

Bosses have also announced the institute, which is open to people from all over the country, is set for a move to a new HQ at the university's Ramshorn Theatre.

The Grade A-Listed building is being given a £2 million refurbishment - which includes a substantial investment by Hanban - to develop it as a publicly-accessible hub for learning and cultural exchange.

The new premises will have the capacity to host performances, conferences and exhibitions.

A plaque marking the new status of the institute was unveiled at a conference attended by Scottish Higher Education Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville.

Liu Xiaoming, China’s Ambassador to the UK, was also a keynote speaker at the event, held to mark the fifth anniversary of the foundation of the Institute.

Strathclyde Principal Professor Sir Jim McDonald said: “As a leading international university, we are extremely proud of our academic links around the globe and our diverse student and staff community.

“This prestigious accolade for our Confucius Institute reflects the important role it plays in improving understanding of Chinese language and culture across Scotland, and we congratulate everyone involved on their fantastic achievement.

“I’m particularly pleased that the Institute’s move to its new headquarters on campus will enable even more schools, businesses and community groups to benefit from increased educational and economic opportunities, with a further 10 Confucius Classroom Hubs being announced today.”


Related Links

China bolsters Confucius Institute culture scheme in Scotland (The Times, 20 September 2017)

Confucius Hub opens at Braehead Primary (Stirling Council, 21 September 2017)

Magical Christmas Trips deadline reminder: 26 September

19 September 2017 (UK-German Connection)

There's still time to apply to take part in a Magical Christmas Trip to Germany this year!

These visits offer primary pupils the chance to get a taste of Germany at Christmas time, meet their German peers and get involved in some seasonal intercultural activity. Secondary pupils have the opportunity to brush up on their German and practice their skills as young leaders.

There are two options for getting involved: either by applying to take part in a visit to Berlin run by UK-German Connection or by applying for funding to run your own Christmas visit to a partner school anywhere in Germany.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information and to apply by 26 September 2017.



15 September 2017 (eTwinning)

eTwinning offers a platform for teachers to communicate, collaborate, share and develop projects with like-minded colleagues across Europe.

Visit the website to find out more about eTwinning and how being part of the community can benefit you and your pupils.


Six ways to build a supportive, language-rich EAL community

28 August 2017 (TES)

Supporting EAL students is personal to this assistant headteacher. Here she gives her six tips to ensure these students – and their families – get the right assistance.


Bring the world into your school

24 August 2017 (British Council)

We offer many ways to help enhance learning and teaching in schools in Scotland. Raising attainment, building literacy and numeracy, and helping bridge the attainment gap are high on the schools agenda. An international dimension can be motivational for staff and learners, and has been shown to make a real difference in these priority areas.

Our professional development opportunities, curriculum resources and international linking programmes offer a range of exciting and innovative approaches to learning and raising attainment.

Our Bring the World into your School booklet details each of our programmes and shows how they have been developed to strengthen the delivery of Curriculum for Excellence. We also outline how international education can be used across Scotland to improve whole school performance.

Visit the website for more information about the Bring the World into your School initiative, the Learning for Sustainability programme, eTwinning, Erasmus+ funded projects and Language Assistants programme and how these can support and benefit Scottish schools.


What not to do: Tips from a returning Tianjin scholar

21 August 2017 (CISS)

Having returned from her year on the scholarship programme, Maeve MacLeod shares her experiences and advice on making the most of China.


New job profile on SCILT's website

18 August 2017 (SCILT)

The job profiles on our website cover a range of professions where languages are being used.

Our latest addition comes from Emma Gallacher, whose language skills have taken her from Scotland to the Costa Blanca, where she now works as receptionist for an established Real Estate firm. She firmly believes learning the language has enabled her to settle and integrate into the Spanish way of life.

Teachers use our profiles in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.


Magical Christmas Trips 2017

15 August 2017 (UK-German Connection)

Would you like to take part in a Magical Christmas Trip this year and build on or set up a partnership with a school in Germany?

These visits offer primary pupils the chance to get a taste of Germany at Christmas time, meet their German peers and get involved in some seasonal intercultural activity. Secondary pupils have the opportunity to brush up on their German and practice their skills as young leaders.

There are two options for getting involved:
  • apply to take part in a visit to Berlin run by UK-German Connection to set up a link to a school in Germany
  • apply for funding and organisational support to run your own Christmas visit to an existing partner school anywhere in Germany
To find out more, please visit the UK-German Connection's website and apply by 26 September 2017.


Slump in foreign language students sparks fear for UK competitiveness

5 August 2017 (The Herald)

FRESH concerns have been raised that not enough youngsters are learning foreign languages, as figures show a slump in applications to study the subject at university.

The numbers of applications for degree courses linked to European languages have fallen by almost a quarter in the past five years, while the numbers for other language courses have dropped by almost a fifth, according to an analysis by the Press Association. At the same time, there has been a decline in the numbers studying languages traditionally offered by schools, such as French and German, to GCSE and A-level.

The analysis indicates Spanish has grown in popularity in recent times along with other courses, such as Arabic and Chinese.

The British Council, which specialises in international cultural relations, warned that if the UK is to remain globally competitive in the wake of Brexit it needs more young people to be learning languages.


Connecting Classrooms programme

22 June 2017 (British Council)

If you're thinking about collaborating with an overseas partner school next term, Connecting Classrooms could be the programme for you.

The global education programme is brought to you by the British Council in partnership with the Department for International Development (DFID).

It offers a free learning journey which helps you to improve your classroom practice and develop your ideas with like-minded teachers internationally.

By developing and networking with thousands of teachers across the world, the British Council aims to help young people develop the knowledge, skills and values to live and work in a globalised economy.

Listen to participating teachers share their experiences, and learn more about how you can get involved, on the Connecting Classrooms website.


Host a Teacher from Germany

21 June 2017 (UK-German Connection)

Provide your school with authentic German cultural input by hosting a teacher from Germany for two or three weeks, at no cost to you.

Schools do not need to be teaching German to apply and visits can take place at any time between September 2017 and July 2018. Deadlines 10 July(*) and 21 September 2017 (**).

(*) If you’d like to host in the autumn term 2017
(**) if you’d like to host in spring / summer 2018

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



15 June 2017 (EVALUATE Project)

EVALUATE is a European Policy Experiment project funded by Erasmus+ Key Action 3.

This experimentation will evaluate the impact of telecollaborative learning on student-teachers involved in Initial Teacher Education in the participating European countries and regions. Telecollaboration, also commonly known as Virtual Exchange, involves engaging trainee teachers involved in Initial Teacher Education in task-based interaction and collaborative exchange with fellow trainees in other locations through online communication technologies.

The guiding research question for the study is: “Will participation in telecollaborative exchange contribute to the development of competences which future teachers need to teach, collaborate and innovate effectively in a digitalised and cosmopolitan world?”

A teacher-training event is due to be held in Italy 5-7 July 2017.

Visit the website for more information about the project and how to get involved.


UK-German Connection news - Summer 2017

9 June 2017 (UK-German Connection)

UK-German Connection offers a number of opportunities for UK schools to partner with a school in Germany. The following options are currently available. Follow the appropriate link for more information:

Visit the UK-German Connection website to find out more about all their activities.


Host a teacher from Germany

2 June 2017 (UK-German Connection)

Would you like to have authentic German cultural input in your school? Through the Host a Teacher from Germany programme, your school can host a German teacher for two or three weeks during the academic year, at no cost.

All schools and FE colleges from the whole of the UK can take part. The UK coordinating teacher does not need to be a teacher of German, and German does not need to be on the school’s curriculum; visiting teachers are either teachers of English or have good knowledge of the English language.

Offers from UK schools to host teachers from Germany in 2017-18 are now being accepted. Application deadlines are 10 July 2017 / 21 September 2017.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information.


Edinburgh International Film Festival 2017

31 May 2017 (EIFF)

The programme for this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) taking place from 21 June to 2 July 2017 has just been published.

The event will showcase films from 46 countries so there are plenty of opportunities to test your language skills!

For more information about what's on offer, visit the EIFF website.


CISS Spring 2017 newsletter

24 May 2017 (CISS)

The Spring 2017 CISS newsletter has now been published online. It is a great showcase of all the fabulous work being done across Scotland to promote Chinese language and culture.

You can view and download the newsletter on the CISS website.


Online course: How to succeed in the global workplace

11 May 2017 (British Council)

Beginning your career or starting a new job brings to mind lots of questions, so we’ve designed a course to guide you through those initial weeks and months so you can make a positive start to your career.

You’ll see videos from employers, giving you insights from around the world into what they look for from their employees. You’ll learn how to communicate across cultures and discover the skills to build and maintain relationships with colleagues, managers and clients.

This is a free 4-week course and is hosted online by FutureLearn.


HIBIKI SHAMISEN visit to Orkney, 5-6 May

25 April 2017 (HIBIKI SHAMISEN)

HIBIKI SHAMISEN will have their first public performance in Orkney at the Pier Arts Centre on Friday 5 May at 7:30pm. The performance is free, and will include an introduction to the TSUGARU SHAMISEN, a versatile 3 stringed instrument that extends the range of the traditional shamisen in both sound and volume, and which can be used to improvise in a way similar to jazz.

The shamisen came to Japan originally from India, via China, through Okinawa, and has been established in Japan for about 300 years. It is the instrument associated with KABUKI theatre (in a form called NAGAUTA) and music played by GEISHA (KOUTA) and with the BUNRAKU or puppet theatre. Each of these genres has a particular type of shamisen associated with it.

The TSUGARU shamisen is the biggest and the boldest of all the shamisen types, and is the only one that is also used for contemporary music.

Hibiki Ichikawa, internationally acclaimed master of the tsugaru shamisen, and blues and ENKA singer Akari Mochizuki will perform both traditional and contemporary music, and have prepared some special material in honour of Children’s Day, which is celebrated on 5 May in Japan.

The two musicians will also conduct workshops with students from Stromness Academy and Kirkwall Grammar School while in Orkney. The students will have the opportunity to play the instruments and learn about the history of Japanese music.

There will also be an opportunity for them to meet and exchange music with Douglas Montgomery of Saltfish Forty, and Gemma McGregor whose repertoire also includes the Japanese shakuhachi flute.

HIBIKI SHAMISEN will feature at the Japanese Children’s Day celebration at the Orkney Library on Saturday 6 May, when they will perform at 11am. This performance will also be free, and all ages are welcome.

HIBIKI SHAMISEN’s visit to Orkney has been made possible with the support of the OIC Culture Fund, The Japan Society of Scotland, the Pier Arts Centre, the Orkney Library and blue earth works. The initial contact with HIBIKI SHAMISEN was through the kind offices of Japan Foundation.

For further details about the performance and Pier Arts Centre contact Isla Holloway 01856 850209.

For further details about the visit from Ruta Noreika contact
07712 411149.

Find out more about HIBIKI SHAMISEN on their website.


Link with a German school

24 April 2017 (UK-German Connection)

Broaden your pupils' horizons and enhance your school's international dimension by linking with a German school. Find out how to set up and develop a partnership with a German school, including practical tips and advice on joint activities, projects and visits to Germany.

Visit the UK-German Connection website for more information.


Biscuits galore!

20 April 2017 (CISS)

For some S2 pupils from Elgin Academy, the term began with a busy and exciting visit to Walkers Shortbread HQ in Aberlour, Moray.

The pupils have been studying Mandarin since January with the support of the Hanban teacher Sufang Wang and under the guidance of Jerome Lestienne, PT of Modern Languages. The pupils presented to members of the International team from Walkers and the HR team. The presentations reflected what they had learnt so far, which included simple greetings, some numbers (and how to express numbers with hand gestures) and explanations of what is peculiar to the Chinese language such as learning tones, characters, etc.

The presentations also incorporated advice on effective “dos and don’ts” of Chinese Business Etiquette. These were well received by the International Team, who later explained they are increasingly doing business with China. It is now one of the top ten countries with whom they deal and in the near future will be opening an office in Shanghai.

Pupils were judged on presentation skills, clarity of delivery, content, structure and language skills. (The latter were judged by members from CISS and the Hanban teacher.) The winning group were generously rewarded with a prize and all pupils left with a goodie bag.

Pupils were asked questions by the team regarding how they found learning Chinese. They replied they had found it interesting and were grateful to have the chance to learn some Chinese whilst at school.

The Director of the International Team thanked them for the useful and stimulating presentations. He highlighted the fact that future employees with such knowledge would be most welcome for the company to employ.
Walkers' staff enjoying the presentationElgin Academy pupils presenting

Japanese for young learners - 6 week teacher course

30 March 2017 (Japanese for Young Learners project)

This course, organised by the Japanese for Young Learners Projects, aims to introduce teachers to Japanese language and culture for use in the classroom. Teachers will be introduced to Japanese language for beginners and to cultural learning activities such as origami and Japanese food.

The course will include developing literacy in Japanese and an introduction to Japanese reading and writing - easier than you think!

The course is being delivered in partnership with the University of Edinburgh and the Japan Foundation, UK. It takes place over six weeks, commencing Thursday 20 April.

Visit the website to register for this free professional development opportunity and see the press article below relating to the project's pilot in Liberton Primary School, Edinburgh.


Related Links

Edinburgh primary leads way with Japanese lessons pilot (Edinburgh Evening News, 27 March 2017)

Commission gives a boost to youth mobility in Europe

27 March 2017 (European Commission)

The European Commission presented today an initiative under the Erasmus+ programme which further supports learning and mobility of young Europeans. Called "Move2Learn, Learn2Move", it will enable at least 5,000 young citizens to travel to another EU country in a sustainable manner – individually or together with their school class. The one-off initiative, which is linked to the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus programme, is consistent with two central priorities of the Commission: to put a renewed focus on Europe's youth, and to facilitate EU citizens' mobility, particularly low emission mobility.

Move2Learn, Learn2Move builds on an idea put forward by the European Parliament in 2016. It will be implemented through eTwinning, the world's biggest teachers' network. Part of Erasmus+, it enables teachers and pupils across Europe to develop projects together through an online platform.

[..] The initiative will be open to school classes of students aged 16 and above taking part in eTwinning.


Edinburgh primary leads way with Japanese lessons pilot

27 March 2017 (Edinburgh Evening News)

They already love manga, Pokemon and Nintendo and now schoolchildren in the Capital have been given the chance to learn about the language behind some of their favourite pastimes.

Liberton Primary School has become a language trailblazer thanks to a new scheme designed to introduce youngsters to Japanese from an early age.

The Japanese for Young Learners project has seen two P5 classes give the language a go, as well as learning about the history and culture of the far eastern country.

While Liberton already teaches a number of other languages – such as French, German, Spanish and Mandarin – it is the first Edinburgh primary school in many years to add Japanese to its offering.


Consultation on Erasmus+

20 March 2017 (Erasmus+)

The March 2017 edition of the Erasmus+ newsletter invites organisations and individuals to complete a questionnaire to share experiences and opinions to help shape how the programme might look after 2020.

The newsletter also contains news on upcoming events and activities.


Emotional celebration of Perth Polish Saturday School's 10th year in the Fair City

10 March 2017 (Daily Record)

A school in Perth has been hailed for keeping Polish children and those with connections to the eastern European community in touch with their history and culture.

The Perth Polish Saturday School celebrated its 10th anniversary and a special ‘Jubilee’ reception was held at North Inch Community Campus on March 4.

On Saturdays the school based at St John’s Academy teaches Polish history, geography, culture and language from 10.30am to 1.30pm.

Many children from Polish families have been born in the Fair City and the school provides them with a link to their family’s origins.

They learn nursery rhymes, songs and poems which keep their culture alive, as well as mastering the notoriously difficult Polish spellings and grammar.


New job profile on SCILT's website

17 February 2017 (SCILT)

For relevant, labour-market focused career advice on languages, direct from the workplace, read our latest Job Profile from Katie Targett-Adams, a professional singer and harpist currently based in Hong Kong. Teachers, use this resource in your classroom to enhance learning about the world of work.


Chinese New Year comes home to roost for students

14 February 2017 (Falkirk Herald)

Pupils from all over the Falkirk area gathered at Larbert High School for a double celebration with a far Eastern flavour. The youngsters, including pupils from Graeme High School and Ladeside Primary School, marked Chinese New Year and also acknowledged Larbert High’s new status as a Falkirk Council Confucius Hub with song and dance performances, Chinese cuisine and art displays during the event.


Many Languages, One World - 2017 student essay contest

7 February 2017 (Many Languages One World)

The United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), in collaboration with ELS Educational Services, Inc., (ELS) invites students, 18 years and older, who are enrolled in a full-time course of study at a college or university, to participate in the Many Languages, One World Essay Contest.

The essay should discuss global citizenship and cultural understanding, and the role that multilingual ability can play in fostering these and must be written in one of the six official languages of the United Nations (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian or Spanish).

Visit the Many Languages, One World website for more information about the competition and how to enter. Submission deadline is 16 March 2017.


eTwinning Workshops

3 February 2017 (British Council eTwinning)

Interested in eTwinning and partnering with schools across Europe on collaborative projects? Check out the professional development opportunities in the UK and overseas for both primary and secondary sectors.

Visit the British Council eTwinning website for more information.


The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2017

1 February 2017 (Japan Foundation)

Taking inspiration from Charlie Chaplin’s famous quote “Life is a desire, not a meaning”, the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2017 features an all-encompassing introduction to Japanese cinema through the prism of “desires, hopes and impulses”.

Presenting films by established and up-and-coming directors, animation, documentary and classics, this year’s programme promises to not only entertain but also provide a vivid insight into what drives human action.

Screenings are taking place between 3 February and 29 March in various locations around the UK, including Stirling, Edinburgh, Inverness and Dundee.

Visit the website for full programme details.


Language Show Scotland – Free event + 20% discount on language classes!

24 January 2017 (Language Show Live)

Scotland’s biggest and most prestigious event dedicated to all things language is back at the SECC in Glasgow on the 10th – 11th of March 2017. Officially sponsored by Education Scotland and the Scottish Government this free to attend event is a must for anyone interested in learning or advancing their languages, exploring job opportunities in the language industry, considering teaching or working abroad, enjoying a fantastic range of international cultural performances and much, much more!


Sample our extensive free seminar programme, meet over 100 top exhibitors like the European Commission, the Chartered Institute of Linguists and the British Council, meet language professional recruiters, enjoy our fantastic array of cultural performances, free language classes and more.

Find out more and register for free today.

Our trademark intensive 2 hour Language Plus classes are also now available online at a heavily discounted early bird rate (over 20% off the standard price!) of just £18. These optional add-ons can be purchased at the end of the free registration process and are certain to add a productive language experience to your day!

Language Show Live Scotland 2017 logo


Pass the Panda across Scotland

19 January 2017 (RZSS)

Conservation charity the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) is excited to announce the official launch of its brand new ‘Panda Pass It On’ game for schools. The game, which is part of the conservation organisation’s Beyond the Panda education programme, launched at four schools in all four corners of Scotland on Tuesday 17 January: St. Patrick’s, South Ayrshire; Lasswade High, Midlothian, Portree Primary, Isle of Skye and Forehill Primary, Aberdeen.

With only four copies of the game available, the intention is for schools to keep the fun, learning resource for a week before passing it on to other schools. The panda games will hopefully make their way across Scotland, with each school logging their location through a QR code on the back of the game, which will allow RZSS to follow the games as they travel.

Sandie Robb, Senior Education Officer at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: “I’m incredibly excited about the launch of the Panda Pass It On game. It is the first of its kind and is a fun way for children to learn more about China, its history, culture and language as well as their famous animals, the giant pandas. It will be really interesting to track the games as they travel to different schools.”

The game forms an introduction to the Beyond the Panda education programme, which is designed to promote cross-curricular learning, with pupils investigating and discovering more about China. The materials cover Curriculum for Excellence experiences and outcomes in science, topical science, social studies, language and literacy. This is delivered through an outreach programme with fun, interactive games led by an education officer from RZSS, or in the case of the Panda Pass It On game, by itself.

The programme is sponsored by the Confucius Institute for Scotland at the University of Edinburgh with support from the Scotland China Education Network and the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools at the University of Strathclyde.

For more information, please visit the RZSS Beyond the Panda website.

picture of children playing gamepicture of children playing


Why making languages non-compulsory at GCSE is a step backwards

17 January 2017 (The Telegraph)

I am nervous as I take my seat in front of the Head of Languages; it is GCSE choices evening and the school gym has been transformed, criss-crossed by rows of tables and chairs with eager parents and their offspring gathered around harried-looking teachers.

“I'd like to do Triple Language,” I say, “French, Spanish and Italian.”

She regards me over the top of her sheet full of names, in front of her.

“Oh no, I don't think so. You could do Spanish, maybe, but you'll find three too difficult.”

Seven years later and I am on the brink of successfully completing my undergraduate degree in, you guessed it, languages. And whilst I look back on that exchange now with a certain degree of victorious pride, I still can't help but wonder what prompted her to turn a perfectly capable student away from her course.

In this performance-obsessed climate where a pupil's grades are often put before their education, it is unsurprising that even some of the best teachers find themselves advising students against courses which are deemed too challenging. But we must do away with the notion that languages are an elite subject if we are to improve the dire situation in which we now find ourselves.


Japan days for schools

16 January 2017 (RZSS)

Come along to our Japan days at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, held in partnership with the Association of Scottish Philatelic Societies youth StampIT programme.

Experience a day at the park to visit the Japanese macaques along with an educational session using games and activities to learn about Japanese language and culture. Suitable for P6/7 and S1 levels. Entrance to the park is free for these special pilot events but places are limited and booking is essential.

Places available on Wednesday 8 March or Wednesday 15 March 2017. First come, first served. Contact Sandie Robb for further details and booking information.

Give your curriculum an international edge

6 January 2017 (British Council)

Spark enthusiasm for international learning by getting your school community on board with the International School Award.

Managed by the British Council, the International School Award is a supportive and motivational framework that guides schools through their international work. With three certified levels, and free in the UK, the award will take you from introducing international work to the curriculum, to embedding it within your school’s culture.

Following an accessible methodology you will forge links with partner schools around the world, enhance your curriculum and prepare your students for life as global citizens.

Visit the British Council Schools Online website to find out more about how your school can grow and develop with the International School Award and read the article below from the British Council Voices blog which offers advice on 'Six ways to make your school more international.'


Related Links

Six ways to make your school more international (British Council Voices blog, 14 November 2016)

Generation UK – China Scholarship programme

14 December 2016 (British Council)

Through Generation UK, the British Council have opened up a range of opportunities in China, giving students the chance to experience the country, language and culture while gaining valuable skills for the future.

One student from the University of St Andrews shares her experience of taking part in the Generation UK - China Scholarship programme.

Read Victoria's story and find out more about the opportunities available on the British Council website.


Media Release: Confucius Classroom launches in Moray

29 November 2016 (All Media Scotland)

A facility dedicated to promoting closer cultural links between school pupils in Moray and their counterparts in China was formally opened today.

The Confucius Classroom is part of a growing network of hubs – currently standing at more than 20 – being set up across Scotland to help promote Chinese language and culture in schools.

The Moray hub is based at Elgin Academy and will be resourced for children and young people from across the area to study all aspects of Chinese life.

It will also serve as a base for two teachers from China who will work closely with a total of 14 local secondary and primary schools during the current session.

The teaching posts are funded by Scotland’s National Centre for Languages at Strathclyde University where the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools is based.

Opportunities will also exist for teachers from Moray schools to undertake exchange visits to China, while pupils will also be able to take part in language immersion courses in Chinese schools.


The top 100 universities in the world for employability revealed

21 November 2016 (The Independent)

Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial College London, King’s College London and the University of Manchester all ranked highly in terms of graduate employability.

[..] Taking into consideration opinions from 2,500 recruitment managers from international companies in 20 countries around the world, researchers named “professional experience” as the most important factor when predicting a graduate’s employability.

A high degree of specialism, and proficiency in at least two foreign languages were also hailed as important skills favoured by recruiters.

Responding to the results, Vicky Gough, a spokesperson for the British Council, said: “Despite languages being valued by employers the world over – as this latest ranking shows – the UK is currently facing a shortfall in these vital skills."


Too few UK students are studying overseas, and it’s a problem

17 November 2016 (THE)

This week is the British Council’s International Education Week, which promotes the benefits of international learning and cultural exchange.

The UK is a global hub for international students with more than 400,000 studying here last year. Yet British students travelling outside the UK to study is relatively rare, and this is a problem. Just 1.3 per cent of UK students travelled abroad to study or go on work placement in 2014-15.

For graduates to find jobs and succeed in today’s post-Brexit world, they need international and cross-cultural knowledge. It is also critical for the UK’s competitiveness in international markets that the next generation entering the workplace understands how to compete globally.

Employers expect graduates to appreciate cultural diversity, universal business language and be familiar with globalisation. However, in terms of having a global mindset, nearly a quarter of employers (24 per cent) have rated graduates as weak in this area.


Grab opportunities in this Century of Asia

16 November 2016 (The Scotsman)

Scotland’s people have, historically, been our greatest asset, making a significant impact both within the UK and abroad. The impact made overseas by Scots has been remarkable given our small population.

The Scottish Government’s own strategy incorporates “the Four Is” s as highest priorities, beginning with “Investing in our people and infrastructure in a sustainable way”. But are we doing enough to unlock the true potential of Scotland and embrace the opportunities that arise, even in a post-Brexit environment?

A critical factor for Scotland will be the ability of its companies and institutions to engage effectively with many new markets. The majority of these sit in Asia and require a special knowledge of practices and customs to ensure success. Since most companies in Scotland are SMEs this means that they need to wake up to the need to create market entry strategies and produce the right products and services to attract both investors and customers or clients.

[..] Learning starts at an early age. The Scotland China Education Network (SCEN) was founded in 2006 by Dr Judith McClure to bring together individuals, national agencies and associations keen to promote the teaching of Chinese language and culture in Scottish schools.


European Charlemagne Youth Prize 2017

28 October 2016 (European Parliament)

Since 2008, the European Parliament together with the ‘Foundation of the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen’ have each year been inviting young people from all EU Member States to submit projects run by and for youth showing an active participation in the development of Europe.

Young people aged between 16 and 30 from any EU Member States can submit projects for the European Charlemagne Youth Prize. Projects can be submitted individually or, preferably, in groups.

This year's competition is now open and invites projects on EU development, integration and European identity issues which must be submitted by 30 January 2017.

Visit the website for more information.


£3.9 million modern languages research project launched in Manchester

11 October 2016 (University of Manchester)

A consortium led by The University of Manchester has launched a four-year language research project which aims to demonstrate the UK’s critical need for modern languages research and teaching. The project will collaborate with schools and universities to develop curriculum innovations, and strengthen university commitments to local community heritage.

The launch of ‘Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community’, which is funded by an AHRC Open World Research Initiative (OWRI) grant, took place at The University of Manchester. They are leading a consortium which includes 11 other universities, city councils, the Royal Opera House, Tyneside Cinema, political think tank Chatham House, and a sixth-form college known for its strengths in modern languages.


Erasmus+ information sessions: Autumn 2016 series

19 September 2016 (Erasmus+)

Erasmus+ will be holding a series of free half-day information sessions in 6 venues across the UK.

The sessions are for any organisation in the UK working in the sectors of education, training, youth or sport. These events will provide an overview of the funding opportunities available under Erasmus+ in 2017, and are primarily intended for newcomers to the programme.

There will be a session in Glasgow on Wednesday 2 November 2016.

For information on all the locations and to register your place, visit the Erasmus+ website.


Global Collaboration Day - 15 September

8 September 2016 (Global Education Conference)

Students, teachers, and organisations will celebrate global collaboration on 15 September 2016!

On this day (and beyond), experienced global educators and professionals will host connective projects and events and invite public participation. The primary goals of this whole day event are to demonstrate the power of global connectivity in classrooms, schools, institutions of informal learning and universities around the world, and to introduce others to the tools, resources and projects that are available to educators today.

Between now and 1 October 2016, global educators will design collaborative projects in which other students and teachers may participate during the course of the 2016-2017 school year. The objective is to create and present as many globally connective projects for students and educators as possible.

If you would like to design an activity for Global Collaboration Day (15 September) in which you promote your upcoming project, please get your project submitted by 11 September. Or you can join any of the listed events for an introduction to projects which interest you.

Visit the Global Collaboration Day website for more information and details as to how you can get involved.


Cultural Classes in China

25 August 2016 (Claire Smith / CISS)

For 2 weeks in July I had the opportunity to visit Beijing on a language immersion course with a group of 20 teachers from all over Scotland. We were there as guests of the Beijing Culture and Language University to learn Mandarin and experience the culture of this amazing and, at times, intense city.

Language classes were held every morning, with the focus on vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure and pronunciation. As Mandarin is a tonal language it is a challenge to learn but it proved useful when exploring a city where English is not widely spoken! In the afternoon cultural activities were organised. We visited the main landmarks of Beijing, including Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. A trip north took us to the awe-inspiring trip to summer palaceGreat Wall. On the afternoons when we weren’t sightseeing, we stayed on the university campus to learn calligraphy, tai chi and experience a traditional Chinese tea ceremony.

This fantastic opportunity to further my knowledge of Chinese language and culture has enabled me to develop calligraphy classmy practice – in both the teaching of Mandarin and China as an interdisciplinary topic. This term, I will also run a calligraphy class, where pupils will learn an ancient skill and the story behind the Chinese characters. For my own professional development, I am continuing to learn Mandarin through books and podcasts and in December I will take the HSK 1 exam.

This experience, along with the friendships I made and strengthened, is something I will never forget. Beijing is a city like no other – a mixture of ancient architecture and modern structures, of chaos and calm, of communism and capitalism, of east and west. At times it seemed daunting, but led by Meryl, Professional Development Officer from CISS, we were in excellent hands!

group photo on head teacher trip to China 2016

Connecting Classrooms school partnership programme

31 May 2016 (British Council)

Connecting Classrooms is a global education programme brought to you by the British Council in partnership with the Department for International Development (DFID).

It offers a free learning journey which helps you to improve your classroom practice and develop your ideas with like-minded teachers internationally.

By developing and networking with thousands of teachers across the world, the British Council aims to help young people develop the knowledge, skills and values to live and work in a globalised economy.

To find out more about the programme and how to take part, visit the British Council Schools Online website, where you can also hear a participating teacher reflect on her time visiting Nigeria with Connecting Classrooms.


How to prepare students for international communication

25 May 2016 (British Council Voices)

To communicate successfully in an international environment, you need to be able to grasp what is being said and respond appropriately.

In this blog, Chia Suan Chong offers three strategies to help students use English in international environments, including considering different cultural views of the same situation - an ideal exercise for those with a multinational class.


Police Scotland mobilises first Polish officers

24 May 2016 (The Herald)

Two Polish police officers have joined Scotland's national force in a pioneering move to tackle criminality in the country's biggest migrant community.

The men have been seconded for six months as a pilot scheme that may be expanded in the future as EU law enforcement agencies tighten co-operation.

Senior officers at Police Scotland say the two officers have already helped on crucial inquiries involving Poles as perpetrators, victims or witnesses of crimes.

Chief Superintendent Paul Main said: "They are here to advise us and to help us on criminal and other inquiries. "They don't have the power to arrest anybody or question anybody so they are always with Scottish officers.

"But they can assist us with understanding cultural and linguistic issues and connecting with law enforcement in Poland to deal with everything from organised crime to domestic abuse."

[..] However, Poles would also like to see Scottish police raise their knowledge of migrant communities, including learning the language.


Can Facebook data tell us how European Scotland is?

20 May 2016 (STV)

Will Britain stay in Europe or leave?

I couldn't say but what I can be sure of is that this will dominate discussions from political journalists and many others from different sections of society.

A large part of the debate is centred on freedom of movement within Europe.

The European Union is a melting pot, a mixture of cultures, languages and peoples from various different backgrounds. To some, this is positive and to others a threat to the job markets in each member state.

Personally, I love it. On my walk from the station to the office, I pick up a number of different languages. As culturally diverse journeys go, from the New Town to Leith is like strolling through New York City.

So, just how diverse is Scotland?


Film producer aims to raise questions about language in the classroom

11 May 2016 (The Herald)

There are 72 indigenous languages spoken in Zambia. In the classroom, however, pupils are taught in none of them. As a new Scottish film, The Colours of the Alphabet, reveals, English is the language of education in the country.

Current estimates suggest that nearly 40 per cent of the world’s population lack access to education in their own language. It is a problem that is increasingly felt in Scotland too as the country becomes increasingly multicultural.

In Zambia, the film’s Scottish producer Nick Higgins points out, teaching in English is something of a colonial hangover. It also is a result of an impoverished education system that can’t afford to produce material in indigenous languages. But he hopes the film will also raise questions about our own attitudes towards language in schools in Scotland and beyond.


eTwinning Generation - Celebrating Ten Years of eTwinning

29 March 2016 (eTwinning)

Thinking about linking your class with another through an eTwinning project? Read the latest publication from the British Council eTwinning team which contains an inspiring collection of testimonials from former participants in eTwinning projects.

Many of the interviewed young people consider eTwinning to be the most motivating
and enjoyable way to learn. Their experiences with eTwinning have helped them to
develop their language and ICT skills, as well as an understanding of different cultures,
in line with the goals set out at the launch of the platform back in 2005. But there is
much more to it.

See the book 'eTwinning Generation - Celebrating Ten Years of eTwinning' and visit the website to find out how to start your own eTwinning journey.


Go and work abroad – it could have career benefits you never imagined

17 March 2016 (The Guardian)

I had a lot of good times working abroad – teaching English in Germany and working on summer camps in France and Spain – but I didn’t realise that I was also building valuable skills for my career.

Employers really value those with international experience. Katie Bateman, a careers advisor at the University of Gloucestershire, says it can set you apart from a crowd of other applicants. “Graduates can learn another language and prove just how adaptable they are by embracing change and learning to adjust to a different culture,” she says.


TES School Awards 2016 - deadline extended

8 March 2016 (TES)

There are still a few days left to get your nomination in for the International Award category of this year's TES School Awards.

This award is for the school with the most innovative international strategy, ranging from initiatives to improve pupils’ and teachers’ understanding of other countries, languages and cultures to full-scale international partnerships.

You will need to demonstrate the impact this strategy has had across the school and the wider community. The judges will be keen to see clear achievements and quantifiable evidence of the success of any initiatives.

Visit the TES School Awards 2016 website for full details and to submit your nomination by 13 March 2016.


Let’s talk about wider cultural dialogue

25 February 2016 (THE)

In the very near future, the Arts and Humanities Research Council will announce the large projects that it will finance over the next four years as part of its Open World Research Initiative.

The scheme seeks to provide “a new and exciting vision for languages research in response to the challenges and opportunities presented by a globalized research environment”. While the individual projects will no doubt be excellent, they will also address a range of broader issues at the heart of the study of modern languages today.

In common with any other subject, modern languages needs to articulate a strong sense of what it stands for (especially considering the national decline in its provision) and why it is important. Equally, in an age that is increasingly defined as post-national and mobile, all research and teaching must confront the reality of globalisation. If one works on a European culture – and I write as an Italianist – then one has, more and more, to explain its relevance in global terms.


International School Award

11 February 2016 (British Council)

There are three entry points to the International School Award: Foundation, Intermediate and Accreditation. The level your school is at will depend on how much international work you have already done.

Hosting a language assistant automatically qualifies you for the Foundation Level of the International School Award.

Visit the British Council Schools Online website for more information.


The long adieu: how Britain gave up learning French

22 January 2016 (The Guardian)

Is it important that more people speak English? Only this week, David Cameron launched a new scheme encouraging more Muslim women to learn the language, one argument being that the inability of many to do so weakens their voice , and in doing so strengthens radicalisation.

[...] I'm much more worried about the number of people learning the other historic language of England; the language used at the first parliament, spoken at Runnymede in 1215, a language that still features in much of our legal system and which, until 1858, was the only one on British passports: French.


White Hot Employer Demand For MBAs Who Speak Multiple Languages

17 January 2016 (Business Because)

Ask anyone working at a business school what makes it unique and you’ll get a spiel about global diversity. Yet companies are desperate for graduates who have honed multiple languages and cultural norms.

“Languages are always good for us,” says Julia McDonald, head of talent acquisition for EMEA at Infosys. English is the company’s common language, “but our clients often want people that can speak their local language,” Julia says.

Mark Davies, employer relations manager at London’s Imperial College Business School, says there is growing demand for multilingual European language speakers at companies including BP, GE, Johnson & Johnson, and GSK, which have operations in emerging markets.

André Alcalde, an executive at Lojas Renner, Brazil’s largest fast-fashion retailer, speaks English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.

“In a business world that is more internationally-connected,” says the HULT MBA student, “it is mandatory when building an executive career to be able to deal with different cultures.”

Nearly two-thirds of businesses in the UK want to recruit staff with foreign language skills. A survey by the business lobby group the CBI and education company Pearson found European languages are the most sought after: French (50%); German (49%); and Spanish (44%).


Making an impact in Erasmus+

13 January 2016 (Erasmus+)

This is a selection of project stories from 2015 demonstrating how UK organisations are making an impact as a result of the Erasmus+ and predecessor EU programmes. Take a look at the achievements of projects across all the sectors for both the organisation and project participants, including Brae High School from the Shetland Isles who exhibited and shared their experience at the 2015 Erasmus+ Annual Conference.


How many kisses do you want?

12 January 2016 (BBC News)

"Hello, nice to meet you..." and then what? Handshake, one kiss, two kisses, three kisses, four kisses...

British comedian Paul Taylor's video about how difficult it is for him to greet people in his adopted country, France, has gone viral.

We asked a variety of people at the BBC World Service how they greet each other in their countries... and this is what we found out.

See the video on the BBC website.


'Get students to create a buzz': how to show the impact of eTwinning

15 December 2015 (The Guardian)

More than 341,000 teachers from across Europe have registered on, a programme which enables schools to collaborate internationally using a safe, virtual environment.

Managed in the UK by the British Council, the initiative has grown in size and impact since it launched 10 years ago, with benefits including improved academic achievement for students – especially around communication, language and ICT skills – and increased motivation for staff and students alike.

But timetables are under pressure and accountability is intense, so proving the benefits of the approach in the classroom is of the utmost importance.

As international education co-ordinator, Andrée Jordan, says: “We know that international collaboration leads to improvement of motivation, learning and inspiration, but it’s so hard to prove – and people need proof.”

Here’s how some of the UK’s most successful “eTwinners” have evaluated and communicated the impact of their projects.


British Council news

30 November 2015 (British Council Schools Online)

The British Council has a number of resources and partnership working opportunities they offer to schools in the UK.  Below are some of their forthcoming developments with a language or international element which may be of interest to teachers:

  • Shakespeare lives - Designed as a cross-curricular activity pack which could also be part of project with a partner school overseas, this resource will be available mid-December and will be available in Welsh, Chinese and Arabic.
  • Teaching the core skills - In today’s globalised world children not only need to be able to communicate and collaborate; they also need to be prepared to do so interculturally, in diverse and often multilingual settings. More information about teaching the communication and collaboration module can be accessed on page 14 of the brochure: Unlocking a world of potential. Sign up to Schools Online to access the training package.
  • Employ a language assistant in Scottish schools - Employing a British Council Language Assistant is a unique way to broaden your pupils' understanding of the world, improve their language skills and increase their cultural awareness. See the online video. Applications open 4 January 2016.
  • International School Award (ISA) - Read about Portlethen Academy's cross-curricular project which took them to France and earned them an ISA in recognition of the global dimension of their work.

Global Education Conference 2015 - recordings available

23 November 2015 (Global Education Conference)

The 6th annual Global Education Conference, a free week-long online event, brought together educators and innovators from around the world from 16-19 November 2015.

The conference seeks to present ideas, examples, and projects related to connecting educators and classrooms with a strong emphasis on promoting global awareness, fostering global competency, and inspiring action towards solving real–world problems.

Recordings of the presentations at this year's event are now available online.  In addition to a host of sessions on the theme of connecting classrooms worldwide for cultural understanding and collaborative projects, language teachers may also be particularly interested in the sessions 'Technology as a possibility to value language teaching profession' and 'Global collaborations: world language and STEM '

Visit the website to access the full list of recorded sessions.


Five ways to be a global student without doing a year abroad

9 November 2015 (The Guardian)

As a language student, I was lucky enough to have a year abroad as part of my degree. I spent it in Chile, and learned a lot more Spanish and real life skills than I ever would have done sat in a lecture hall.

But for some students, a year abroad isn’t an option. Either it’s not offered as part of their course, or a year is just too long to spend away from home.

For those who don’t want to miss out on the benefits of globetrotting while they study but can’t take a full year out, there are still many opportunities available that can offer an equally valuable international experience. Here are five suggestions.


Christmas Around the World Project 2015

2 November 2015 (Mr P's ICT blog)

As a follow-up to the successful project last year, we will once again be looking to connect classrooms across the world. In the lead up to Christmas, you can deepen your understanding of different Christmas traditions by asking other children from around the world about how they celebrate Christmas in their community.

This is a great IDL opportunity combining global connections with ICT.

Visit the website to register your class for this free project!


Schools Online

25 September 2015 (British Council)

School's Online is the British Council's international learning programme for schools and teachers.

The programme helps to develop international education in your school by creating meaningful connections with educational institutions on a global scale.

Embedding international learning into your classroom also deepens students' understanding and respect for the world around them.

By registering with Schools Online you will gain access to classroom resources, professional development courses and form relationships with schools across the world.

Visit the British Council's Schools Online website for more information.


UK-German FLA/ELA Ambassadors

21 September 2015 (UK-German Connection)

Do you want to inspire your pupils by providing authentic contact to young people in the other country, whilst also improving your own intercultural skills? Then apply for the FLA/ELA Ambassadors Network 2015-16.

The FLA/ELA Ambassadors are a network of language assistants who are working in schools in the UK and Germany. They run small projects, activities, events or clubs in order to inspire and motivate young people in their schools for the language and culture of the other country. Projects should address themes that are of educational value as well as interesting and relevant for the target group.

Visit the UK-German Connection website to find out more about the Ambassador Network and to apply by 19 October 2015.


Cultural Studies and Modern Languages: an Introduction

31 August 2015 (FutureLearn)

Are you interested in other countries? Do you want to study and understand other cultures? This free 4-week online course will take you on a journey through a number of periods from the medieval to the modern day, from Russia to Europe and all the way to Latin America.

The course starts on 12 October 2015. Visit the FutureLearn website to register.


Learners International - new resource for schools!

28 May 2015 (British Council/Education Scotland)

British Council in partnership with Education Scotland has today launched a new online resource to help schools and pre-school centres improve outcomes for pupils and staff through international engagement.

The resource is designed to support schools in their journey of continuous improvement in learning through partnerships with educational establishments in other countries.  Working in partnership the aim is to develop learners' skills and attitudes that are necessary to participate effectively in a globalised world.

International engagement involves learning about other countries:

  • their cultures
  • education systems
  • languages
  • the global themes of interest to us all
  • and by forming a partnership with educational establishments abroad and/or being involved in global learning programmes

The aim of the partnerships are:

  • to improve knowledge and skills across curriculum areas
  • to challenge stereotypes and prejudices
  • and to make learners aware of the possibilities that exist for learning and work outside Scotland

This, by extension, allows learners to understand Scotland and its place in the world. Partnerships allow those involved the opportunity to share ideas in pedagogy and the space to reflect on their own practice; and in so doing, improve the quality of learning and teaching. Partnerships can be developed digitally or can also involve face to face meetings between staff and/or learners.

Find out more about Learners International on the Education Scotland website.


World Class: how global thinking can improve your school

29 April 2015 (British Council)

Over recent years there have been a large number of studies conducted on the impact of international education work in UK schools. We have analysed these findings and drawn together the key benefits of implementing international education in primary, secondary and special educational needs schools in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Download today and see how international programmes have been proven to improve literacy and learning, help teachers’ professional development and meet inspection requirements.


Building one community in a school where 38 languages are spoken

15 February 2015 (The Guardian)

Leading a school with a diverse cultural mix has its challenges, says headteacher Becky Ingram, but we all want the same things for our children.


European Charlemagne Youth Prize

2 February 2015 (European Parliament)

Are you running an inspiring project for EU youth? Why not enter the European Charlemagne Youth Prize? Submission deadline extended to 23 February 2015! The European Charlemagne Youth Prize" aims to encourage the development of European consciousness among young people, as well as their participation in European integration projects. The Prize is awarded to projects undertaken by young people which foster understanding, promote the development of a shared sense of European identity, and offer practical examples of Europeans living together as one community. The prize for the best project is €5000, the second, €3000 and the third, €2000.

More information is available on the European Parliament website. 


Cultural Studies and Modern Languages: an Introduction

28 January 2015 (FutureLearn)

This free online course, commencing 16 February, will explore the culture, language and national identity of 8 countries through their books, images, slogans and monuments.


Schools Online Forum re-launch

13 January 2015 (British Council)

This year we are re-launching the Schools Online forums, with the goal of encouraging greater sharing and conversation between schools around the world. The first forum of 2015 will focus on New Year festivities and how students and teachers around the world mark the passing of the year.

We would like you to share stories and pictures about the festivities and celebrations that you and your students took part in over the Christmas break. In return, schools in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia will share their stories, with those in China telling us about how they are preparing for Chinese New Year on 19 February and the traditions that they will be continuing.

This forum will be an exciting and unique opportunity to talk to other schools around the world about celebration and tradition. Topics within the forum will focus on food, culture, family and friendship, with everyone encouraged to talk about what makes their festivities special. Schools currently with international partners will find the forum a valuable addition to their work, while those without will gain a level of sharing and discussion that was previously not available unless in a formal partnership.

As the forum begins why not ask your class how they celebrated New Year? Or think about the photos you might want to share that tell a story about how the New Year is celebrated in the UK? We would love to see written and visual contributions, including links to Google Images search results that might give an international student an insight to UK festivities.

The forum begins on Tuesday 13 January on Schools Online and runs until 31 January. You can view the forum on the Schools Online website (look for New Year Festivities).


European Charlemagne Youth Prize

13 January 2015 (European Parliament)

The Charlemagne Youth Prize is organised jointly by the European Parliament and the International Charlemagne Prize Foundation in Aachen and awarded each year for projects which foster understanding between people from different European countries.

The projects are run by people aged between 16 and 30 and winning projects should provide models for young people living in Europe and offer practical examples of Europeans living together as one community.

Past winners include youth exchange programmes and artistic and internet projects with a European dimension.

The deadline for submissions is 2 February 2015.  More information and guidelines for submitting applications are on the website.


Related Links

The European Parliament also provides a number of online teaching resources and opportunities for schools to learn about the European Union and related issues.

New course Exploring Languages and Cultures at the Open University

18 December 2014 (Open University)

The Languages Department at the Open University has introduced a new module which will be compulsory for all students studying for a full languages degree. The module is Exploring languages and cultures.

Exploring languages and cultures (module code L161) is designed to introduce key concepts relating to languages, language learning, plurilingualism and intercultural communication, to help develop intercultural skills and language awareness. A distinctive feature of this module is that it develops linguistic and cultural awareness in an integrated way throughout the different topics covered in the module, using examples from the full range of languages and cultures that may be studied as part of a degree. L161 equips students with a sound linguistic and intercultural awareness; the former supports getting the most out of language studies and the latter helps with developing a critical understanding of intercultural issues throughout your further study. Additionally, professional recognition by The Chartered Institute of Marketing is recognised for this module, under their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme.

More information is available on the Open University website or you can contact the OU in Scotland  at 0300 303 5303 or write to us at:

The Open University
10 Drumsheugh Gardens


New job profile on the SCILT website

5 December 2014 (SCILT)

Let your pupils see that languages are valuable in the world of work by visiting the 'Job Profiles' section of the SCILT website. People from a range of sectors - including sport, marketing, technology and many more - explain how language learning has influenced their professional lives.

Our latest addition to the section comes from Heloise Allan, Head of Education for Project Trust, an educational charity specialising in overseas volunteering in 34 countries for school-leavers aged 17-19.

See this and other job profiles on our website now.


International Education Week Case Studies

24 November 2014 (British Council)

Do you want some inspiration for activities or trips to run in your school? Read our case studies written by teachers about their international activities, including advice and experience from their own school exchanges. Included is the feedback from Saint Roch’s school in Glasgow about their trip to Sarajevo.


London Language Festival - the highlights

21 October 2014 (The Guardian)

The Language Festival may have set out to be a celebration of cultural and linguistic diversity, but the first session of the weekend – the Born Global Symposium – didn't shy away from some of the big, and difficult, questions around the state of language learning in the UK.


What I've learned from studying abroad

6 May 2014 (The Guardian)

A student blogger shares his experience of picking up a language and getting to grips with a different culture.


The school with 42 languages in the playground

5 May 2014 (BBC News)

With immigration a big topic in the European and local elections, BBC News local government correspondent Mike Sergeant visits a school in north-west London, where there are 42 languages spoken in the playground. Byron Court in Brent is one of the most diverse schools in the UK. The playground at lunchtime is an extraordinary mix of vibrant London life.

Children from Iraq, the Philippines, Somalia, India, Nepal, Cyprus, Romania and Slovakia, to name but a few, mingle happily and play together.


Travel bursaries will expand cultural horizons

18 April 2014 (The Scotsman)

Over the centuries, Scotland has always been an outward-looking nation reaching out to other countries and cultures across the globe. Sometimes economic necessity has forced large numbers to leave these shores, sometimes it’s been war. Historically, certain Scottish forays overseas have also had more dubious outcomes, such as the ill-fated Darien scheme to establish a colony in Panama or the enrichment of many Scottish merchants through slavery.

But a genuine spirit of exploration and discovery has prompted many more to venture abroad and expand their cultural horizons. This natural wanderlust has had a profound impact on Scottish culture and society, stretching back to the Scottish Enlightenment and far beyond.


Into Film

13 March 2014 (Into Film)

Into Film seeks to put film at the heart of children and young people's learning, contributing to their cultural, creative and personal development. Our UK-wide programme of learning through and about film provides 5-19 year olds with unparalleled opportunities to see, think, make and imagine. Visit our website for details of the free resources and opportunities available in your area to support all curriculum areas.


Piet Grobler's top 10 multicultural books

13 March 2014 (The Guardian)

Many lovely picture books celebrate cultural diversity by retelling or reinterpreting myths and folk tales. This list of 10 focuses more on picture books that are consciously proclaiming that all cultures in our world deserve respect, that no cultures are inferior to others and that multiculturalism enriches our lives.


PaiBa! Photo Club

07 March 2013 (Ricefield)

Literally meaning “Shoot it!” in Chinese, PaiBa is one of Ricefield’s new, free monthly meet-ups for keen photographers to enjoy shooting and sharing photos inspired by Chinese photography and culture:
* Chinese inspired photo assignment each month
* Bring your photos along to share views and techniques
* Chat in a relaxed setting at Feast restaurant (upper floor)
* Amateurs and beginners welcome!

Featuring presentations from Chinese photographers Yao Hui, Cui Ying and Guo Xueci.

To join PaiBa please contact


Connecting Classrooms: Professional learning courses

25 February 2014 (British Council)

Our courses offer support and advice on how to introduce global themes in the classroom.

Enjoy the flexibility of studying when you want with our Connecting Classrooms online courses or network with other teachers in your local area at our face to face workshops

Read what teachers have to say about the benefits of taking part on our Professional Development Stories webpage.


Embedding the international dimension at Milton School

18 February 2014 (eTwinning)

Milton School, which caters for children with complex learning needs, has become a model of how to use international education to improve standards within the classroom and support the professional development of teaching staff.

The situation at Milton in April 2012, when the school first joined eTwinning, was extremely challenging. Staff morale was low following an HMI inspection in early 2012. However, with follow-up support through HMI Education Scotland’s Transformative Change programme, staff at Milton were able to work together to develop a whole-school strategy for improvement. In particular, they were interested in exploring how international education and ICT could help transform teaching and learning.


Student blog – Peter Reid’s Pupil Immersion Visit to China, Tianjin Summer Camp 2013

30 January 2014 (Engage for Education)

Peter Reid was one of the senior pupils who represented the Edinburgh Confucius Classroom hub at the 2013 Pupil Immersion Visit to Beijing and Tianjin. This is an annual visit organised by the Tianjin Education Commission (TEC) and the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools (CISS), based at the University of Strathclyde, which aims to develop young people’s understanding of Chinese culture and language. The group visits many Chinese, historic monuments and takes part in cultural lessons and intensive Mandarin language classes, for which the young people receive SQA accreditation.


Japanese Language Local Project Support Programme 2014-15

29 January 2014 (Japan Foundation)

The criteria of the Japan Foundation’s Local Project Support Programme has changed for 2014-2015.  If your school is considering introducing Japanese, you might be able to take advantage of this funding programme.

Institutions can apply for up to £3000 for non-profit-making projects or activities which will have a significant and wide impact on the promotion of Japanese language education throughout the UK, or in their local area. Priority is given to the following:

  • Projects with a wide impact on Japanese language education - up to £3,000 for projects that contribute widely to the maintenance and strengthening of Japanese language education, eg conferences on Japanese language education, seminars for teachers, projects to produce Japanese language teaching materials, projects by organisations working in partnership, which benefit not only the institution applying for the programme, but which have a beneficial effect on others etc. 
  • Introducing Japanese to schools or universities:
    • Up to £3,000 for projects that promote the introduction of Japanese into the curriculum (or onto the main school timetable) at primary and secondary schools. Or projects that support the introduction of Japanese language classes at university. 
      As part of our Primary Japanese Campaign, primary schools that would like to introduce Japanese as their main language in the new Key Stage 2 curriculum from September 2014, will be able to maintain their project by re-applying for funding twice for the same project. This means primary schools will be able to apply for up to a total of £9,000 over three years. 
    • Up to £1,000 for projects in primary or secondary schools that introduce Japanese as an extra-curricular activity or enrichment subject, even if this is not within the school timetable. These activities must continue for at least a year to qualify for the grant.

There will be four application deadlines for the 2014-15 programme: April 1st 2014, June 20th 2014, September 26th 2014 and November 28th 2014. This funding will last until March 2015.

For further information about the programme and the application process, visit the Japan Foundation website.


Northamptonshire Police officers to learn Polish as part of multicultural training

27 January 2014 (Northampton Chronicle & Echo)

Police officers in Northamptonshire will be learning Polish and other Eastern European languages as part of a new cultural awareness training programme.

Northamptonshire Police has joined forces with The Association of Northamptonshire Supplementary Schools (ANSS) to provide frontline officers with access to short language courses to give officers some basic phrases in different languages.

The training also covers a variety of subjects such as how to engage with people from different cultures, facts about the major faiths, festivals and local places of worship and face-to-face sessions with people from a range of communities.


Free classroom resources for international learning

23 January 2014 (British Council)

Bring the world into your classroom.  Our new guide to international learning gives you easy access to our projects, resources and professional development courses. Whatever your current level of experience, we have a wealth of opportunities to suit you. From setting up a partnership, to running a project and achieving the International School Award, there is plenty to explore as you embark on your journey with us.

British Council Connecting Classrooms also offer grants of up to £1,500 for partnerships between schools in the UK and other countries.  Applications are currently open until 31 January 2014.


How international teacher exchanges can refresh a whole school

22 January 2014 (TES)

A teaching career can get locked into repetitive cycles: as another year starts, the same old textbooks, jargon and exams loom yet again. Some things get done simply because they’ve always been done.

Hosting a teacher from foreign climes can jolt you out of that deadening loop. Philippa Seago, who takes charge of psychology at Littleover Community School in Derby, England, saw for herself how a school might benefit.


Related Links

Teacher Exchange Programme (TES, 22 January 2014)

Talking the talk in a global economy

20 January 2014 (The Telegraph)

A recent report warned that we are risking the economic health of the country by not teaching second languages effectively enough; we need to tap into the linguistic richness of today’s pupils, says Fiona Barry.


How I Teach - Simulate a culture clash

10 January 2014 (TES)

When teaching about intercultural issues, it is crucial to let students experience how it feels to be culturally isolated from another person. A great way of doing this is through a game I like to call Ninja Chopsticks.

This article includes several ideas to introduce Japanese language and culture to your students. You will need a TES userid and password to access the materials.


Language lessons teach you more than just verb tables

6 December 2013 (The Guardian)

Behind mundane conversation topics, studying a language gives learners an insight into how a country works.


A language skills deficit is damaging diplomacy, warns British Academy

26 November 2013 (The Guardian)

Britain's language skills deficit is threatening its diplomatic influence and national security, a report by the British Academy has found.

The British Academy, the national body for the humanities and social sciences, calls for government to address the lack of language skills across all its departments and to prioritise the development of these skills among current staff and future generations. The report warns that if more is not done to bridge the languages gap that exists within government, Britain's diplomatic influence will be damaged.

"Languages are a critical tool through which UK diplomats and government staff can deepen their knowledge and build the trust that is necessary to promote and protect British values and interests internationally," Robin Niblett, chair of the British Academy inquiry steering group, said.
"If steps are not taken to reverse the current declining trend in language skills, Britain may indeed be in danger of becoming 'lost for words'."


European Charlemagne Youth Prize 2014

19 November 2013 (European Commission)

The European Parliament and the Foundation of the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen invite young people from all the EU member states to participate in a competition on EU development, integration and European identity issues.

The 'European Charlemagne Youth Prize' is awarded to projects, which:

  • promote European and international understanding
  • foster the development of a shared sense of European identity and integration
  • serve as a role model for young people living in Europe and offer practical examples of Europeans living together as one community

The projects can focus on the organisation of various youth events, youth exchanges or online projects with a European dimension.

Submissions for 2014 are now invited.  Applicants should be 16-30 years of age and should apply by 20 January 2014. Entries in all official languages of the EU are eligible.  Visit the website for full details.


Chinese TV - “Dad, where shall we go?”

6 November 2013 (YouTube)

A Chinese TV programme, on YouTube, which gives insight into China and the Chinese and is very good for pupils who may not know a lot about China even if they have a Chinese background.

There are subtitles all the way through so it is suitable for many types of classes/teachers/pupils. It is a TV series called: “Dad, where shall we go?” Children and their fathers are followed in various places in China. The programme aims to develop the independence of the child, to develop them as responsible citizens and get them to think and stand on their own two feet.

Follow the link below to the first episode of 爸爸去哪儿


Dragon premieres at the Citizens Theatre

15 October 2013 (CISS)

In conjunction with the Confucius Institute at Glasgow University, CISS was given the opportunity to take 350 pupils from all over Scotland to see the premiere of the play Dragon at the Citizens Theatre. This wonderful co-production between the National Theatre of Scotland, Tianjin Children’s Art Theatre and Vox Motus is highly unusual given that there are no words spoken throughout the play. The audience is invited to take a visual and emotional journey using their imagination. The use of puppetry, illusion and music allows this to happen.


Related Files

Ruta Quetzal 2014

4 October 2013 (Consejería de Educación)

Information regarding this expedition and the competition on 29th November is now available on the Consejería de Educación website.

Please send us your nominations no later than 27th October.


British Council Schools Online

24 September 2013 (British Council)

Find out how you can tap into British Council’s Schools Online worldwide network. At Step one you are new to international learning and the British Council’s offer to schools. ‘Make a start’ is designed to inspire you to start your international journey with us. Whatever you are looking for, we have a wealth of opportunities to suit you.

Access our new brochure and wallchart to discover how an international dimension can be developed in your school. From curriculum resources to professional development courses and partnership funding, we have everything you need to bring the world into your classroom.


Chinese Pupils from Tianjin No.42 High School visit St Ninian's High School

2 August 2013 (East Dunbartonshire Council)

A group of 33 pupils and 5 teachers, led by the school’s Director, Mr Hongjie Liu, during their tour of the UK are visiting our East Dunbartonshire Council Confucius Hub, based in St Ninian's High School, Kirkintilloch. This visit will further deepen the partnership between the two schools, St Ninian's HS and Number 42 High School, Tianjin.


eTwinning: Transforming Teaching and Learning

12 August 2013 (British Council eTwinning)

eTwinning promotes school collaboration in Europe through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). This YouTube film illustrates how eTwinning can transform classroom practice to motivate teachers and pupils and help raise standards. Children and young adults of all ages from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland all feature in the video celebrataing their success through eTwinning partnerships. 

The video contains a strong focus on eTwinning partnerships providing a collaborative tool for language learning.


Related Links

More information on eTwinning can be found on the British Council eTwinning website.  There is also free support available to help schools set up their eTwinning partnership.

The French Connection

9 August 2013 (TES)

Exchange trips to France, or further afield, were once a rite of passage for many British students, who returned with a stash of new swear words and tales of strange foreign food.  But in these risk-averse times the custom is under threat, as Irene Barker reports.


Magical Christmas Trips 2013

1 August 2013 (UK-German Connection)

The application process for our Magical Christmas Trip to Berlin for primary and secondary pupils is now open.

The visit offers primary pupils the chance to get a taste of Germany at Christmas time, meet their German peers and get involved in some seasonal intercultural activity. Secondary pupils have the opportunity to brush up on their German and practice their skills as young leaders.

For full details of the programme and how to apply, visit the UK-German Connection website.  

Application deadline: 30 September 2013.


Host a teacher from Germany 2013

25 July 2013 (UK-German Connection)

We are now inviting UK schools to host a qualified teacher from Germany in their school for 2 or 3 weeks between November 2013 and March 2014. Schools do not need to be teaching German in order to participate, and all teachers hosted will have a good level of English. There is no cost to the hosting school.

Benefits include enhancing the international dimension in your school, an opportunity to discuss current educational issues with a colleague from Germany, and the potential for development of a partnership.

You can find more information and download the hosting form at our website.

Hosting forms can be returned at any time before the deadline of 20 September 2013. For offers received by mid-July, we will confirm your participation in this programme by the end of July, with full details on the visiting teacher to follow by early October at the latest.


Chinese cultural partnership

25 June 2013 (Scottish Government)

Scotland’s External Affairs Minister Humza Yousaf has announced a cultural partnership between the cities of Edinburgh and Nanjing.

The partnership will see a major exhibition, A Tale of Two Cities, staged firstly in Nanjing between November 5, 2013 and May 5, 2014 and then in Edinburgh. The date of the Edinburgh exhibition is still to be confirmed

Speaking in Beijing, Mr Yousaf said:

“It is a great honour that Scotland has been chosen for this exhibition, which is one of the first full curatorial partnerships to be established between a Chinese museum and an institution from another country.

“Scotland and China both share a strong appreciation for cultural heritage, and this exhibition will enable people in both countries to find out more about our respective cultures and history."


Glasgow secondary leading way in modern languages

24 June 2013 (Evening Times)

THE kids at All Saints don't need to be convinced that foreign languages are important.  Because they hear them every day.

Scots-born pupils at this Glasgow comprehensive – thanks to a decade of steady immigration – are now routinely exposed to the chat in an estimated 30 languages.

And, say teachers, it is starting to rub off on them.

So much so that the school is expanding its capacity to teach languages amid solid demand.


Pisa's tests could get curiouser and curiouser

21 June 2013 (TES)

Tests in foreign language skills and creativity are being planned for the world’s most influential international education league tables, TES can reveal.

The Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa), which plays an increasingly important role in many countries’ education policies, is expanding to rank students’ ability to cope with globalisation and immigration.


Which countries want to be influential and attractive?

19 June 2013 (British Council)

A new British Council report, ‘Influence and Attraction: Culture and the Race for Soft Power in the 21st Century’, discusses global trends in cultural relations and soft power. Anne Bostanci explains.


Funding for school partnerships - webinars on the application process

16 May 2013 (British Council)

Is your school involved in a partnership between the UK and another country? If so, you could be eligible for funding from the Connecting Classrooms programme. Getting involved will help you develop your young people as global citizens and as a teacher, you will also benefit through sharing best practice with colleagues in other countries.

If you are applying for a Connecting Classrooms grant this year, we are running a series of webinars in May and June to help you with the application process. The webinars will take a detailed look at the application form and provide guidance and advice for completing it.

Visit the website for details of the webinar dates and to register.


Students go abroad to immerse themselves in a new culture

14 May 2013 (The Guardian)

UK universities are setting up campuses overseas to meet international demand, but studying on a foreign campus also has many benefits for UK students.


Languages in Europe: We can't afford to rely just on a lingua franca

29 April 2013 (British Council)

Our Language Rich Europe research shows, among other things, that there’s a tendency that English is beoming the most widely chosen language at schools in Europe. That’s not much of a surprise as English has established itself as the lingua franca across Europe, with 51% of EU citizens speaking it as their first or second language. In comparison, German comes second with a total of 27% of EU citizens speaking it. English is also the language predominantly used on the web and for business.

According to an estimate by META (Multilingual Europe Technology Alliance), 2000 languages worldwide will not survive in the globalised digitised world in a business and academic context. What does that mean for Europe? I have recently attended the Closing Conference of Language Rich Europe - so here are some thoughts...


KENYON: While abroad, politeness, flexibility can bridge language gap

24 April 2013 (Daily Nebraskan)

“Gracias,” “Dĕkuji,” “Danke,” “Takk,” “Merci,” “Thank you.” Languages can be a lot of fun. They can also be challenging.


eTwinning spring campaign launched

23 April 2013 (eTwinning)

Taking part in the Spring campaign is simple.

  • Click on the banner from the homepage of the Desktop to enter 
  • Organise an eTwinning event around the week of 13-17 May 2013 - and / or 
  • Design an eTwinning poster for your chance to win a HD pocket camcorder! 
  • You can also vote for your favorite eTwinning posters up until 16 May


No snags on this fine silk road

5 April 2013 (TES)

Twelve children from St Luke's Primary in North Ayrshire took centre stage last month at a masterclass in interdisciplinary learning, run by the Tapestry Partnership in Glasgow.

The young people led the audience on a journey along "The Silk Road to Scotland" - the theme of one of Tapestry's interdisciplinary programmes, which explores the links between Eastern Asia, North Africa and Europe created by the trade in silk and other products over thousands of years.


Would you rank ‘speaking a foreign language’ as an essential intercultural skill?

4 April 2013 (Language Rich Europe blog)

Here at the British Council weekly internal polls for employees are posted on the intranet and one that caught our attention recently was a question on the type of intercultural competences we see as most important in our work at the British Council.

Along with other colleagues we were surprised to find that learning a foreign language was not the preferred chosen option.


The end of the school exchange trip? Council bans pupils banned from foreign homes despite NO evidence of abuse

23 March 2013 (Daily Mail)

Hundreds of schools across the country have banned pupils from staying with families on exchange trips abroad because of child protection fears.

British pupils can still visit the home of a French, German or Spanish student, but many are not allowed to stay there overnight. Instead they must stay in hotels or hostels.

Experts say fluency will not improve if pupils aren't fully immersed in culture.


Cracking the English code

12 March 2013 (British Influence)

(Relates to England) There was much embarrassment recently for Michael Gove when the cabinet's golden boy announced that he would not, after all, be replacing GCSEs with a new English Baccalaureate Certificate (EBC). Part of the reasoning for Gove's EBC had been to increase the take-up of modern European (as well as other) languages – where research shows that there are clear advantages in terms of cognitive skills and understanding.


Culture at work - The value of intercultural skills in the workplace

5 March 2013 (British Council)

This research, published by the British Council, shows that there is real business value in employing staff who have the ability to work effectively with individuals and organisations from cultural backgrounds different from their own. In particular, employers highlight the following as important intercultural skills:

  • the ability to understand different cultural contexts and viewpoints
  • demonstrating respect for others 
  • knowledge of a foreign language

The findings of this report may help teachers argue the case for languages with pupils, parents and colleagues.


Related Links

Avoiding cultural chalk and cheese in the world of business (British Council blog, 5 March 2013)John Worne, the British Council’s Director of Strategy, argues that a lack of intercultural skills can be a big risk in the business world, as our recent research shows.

eTwinning Plus launches on Monday 4th March 2013!

1 March 2013 (eTwinning)

Ever wondered what is life like in Lviv? Or what’s on the curriculum in Chisinau? What kind of technology is most popular in Tbilisi?  From the 4th of March 2013, you’ll be able to find the answers to these questions, and many more, with the official launch of eTwinning Plus. eTwinning Plus is a pilot that will see a select number of schools and teachers from Ukraine, Tunisia, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan join the thousands of eTwinning teachers who are already collaborating online.


English as the language of Europe?

26 February 2013 (Language Rich blog)

In this guest post, Christiane Keilig from the British Council in Berlin shares her views on why just English isn’t enough.


New study underlines benefits of eTwinning

15 February 2013 (European Commission)

The European Commission has just published an independent study on the impact of the EU's eTwinning scheme.  The study found that teachers who had participated in eTwinning improved their skills, their relations with pupils and developed their professional networks. Pupils felt more empowered and motivated and were better at team working. The study found eTwinning to be an easy and cost-effective way for schools to engage in international cooperation.


Meet, network and learn with eTwinning teachers in Cardiff, 22nd-24th March 2013

6 February 2013 (eTwinning)

Are you interested in finding a partner school from France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands or Luxembourg to start an eTwinning project?

The British Council eTwinning team is giving up to 15 teachers from the UK the chance to travel to Cardiff to meet and network with other European teachers at a joint eTwinning event. Taking place from Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th March, this event gives you the opportunity to explore how to enhance your students’ 21st Century skills through eTwinning, find a compatible partner and discuss project ideas face to face.

Apply for your place by 17 February 2013.


European Charlemagne Youth Prize 2013

29 January 2013 (European Parliament)

"The European Charlemagne Youth Prize" aims to encourage the development of European consciousness among young people, as well as their participation in European integration projects.
The Prize is awarded to projects undertaken by young people which foster understanding, promote the development of a shared sense of European identity, and offer practical examples of Europeans living together as one community.

For further information about the competition and to apply, visit the website.  Submission deadline now extended to 18 February 2013.


Peace and Cooperation School Award 2013

23 January 2013 (Consejería de Educación)

Peace and Cooperation and the World Association of Early Childhood Educators (AMEI-WAECE) invite students and teachers from around the world to engage in Creativity for Peace using art as an expression of Cultural Identity for knowledge, outreach and understanding between people.

Entries are invited in the following age categories, with six diplomas to be awarded in each category and eight prizes of 300 Euros:

  1. Free drawing (up to 6 year-olds)
  2. Drawing with written message (7 to 12 year-olds)
  3. Mural or group work (12 to 15 year-olds)
  4. Free art (16 to 18 year-olds)

Works can be submitted in any of the 6 official languages of the UN (Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, French, English or Russian) and should be submitted by July 5th, 2013 to the headquarters of Peace and Cooperation in Madrid by mail or email.

Visit the website or download the attached flyer for further information.


Related Files

Why aren't languages a more popular choice at university?

15 January 2013 (The Independent)

It seems as if languages are not a popular choice of course at university nowadays. Once upon a time, learning a language and studying its literature was considered a solid choice of degree, but now there's a perception that they might be a bit of a waste of time.


“Take Away China 2013”

8 January 2013 (Ricefield Arts Centre)

James Thomson, director of Ricefield Arts Centre, would like to offer an opportunity to schools to take part in the launch of “Take Away China 2013” on 12 February, the beginning of the Year of the Snake. This is the third year of “Take Away China” – the notion being to take a small part of China away with you from each event. Schools are invited to participate in forming a long snake. The idea is to form a snake made of twenty willow lantern sections with each section being supported by 4 or 6 pupils from each school or hub.  Download the attached file for more information.

If you feel your hub or school might be interested in this opportunity, please contact

On Location German / On Location Italian

13 December 2012 (Radio Lingua)

Read the latest blogposts from Germany and Italy and pick up some useful phrases relating to Christmas.


Related Links

On location Italian (Radio Lingua blog, 13 December 2012)

School Partnerships

5 December 2012 (British Council)

Is your school involved in a partnership between the UK and another country? If so, you could be eligible for our exciting new funding offer for school partnerships, from the Connecting Classrooms programme. The deadline for applications is 11 February 2013. For more information on eligibility and how to apply visit our website.


Scottish Education Awards 2013

3 December 2012 (Education Scotland)

Nominations for the 2013 awards are now open. Categories include the Global Citizenship Award, which recognises the achievements of schools and pre-schools that have adopted a whole school approach to global citizenship, and the Gaelic Awareness Award in recognition of schools and pre-schools who are providing opportunities for all children to develop fluency in the Gaelic language and culture. Visit the Scottish Education Awards website for more information and to submit a nomination.


‘On location’ blogs

28 November 2012 (Radio Lingua)

Read the latest blog posts from those learning the language and culture in Germany, Spain, France and Italy.


Report on SCEN China Youth Summit

23 November 2012 (Confucius Institute Edinburgh)

The SCEN China Youth Summit at Gleneagles on 12 November, known as the G50 after the 50 schools, universities and other organisations represented and in memory of the famous G8 Summit held at Gleneagles in 2005 was an inspiring day for all those who attended the event.


New report published on Sustainable International School Partnerships

23 November 2012 (Education Scotland)

British Council Scotland and Education Scotland have recently published ‘Sustainable International School Partnerships – Make the Difference’.

Effective practices, challenges, opportunities and a framework for reflection combine to illustrate how the development of sustainable international school partnerships can ‘make the difference’ within Curriculum for Excellence. This new publication draws on the experience of practitioners who have been closely involved in developing international school partnerships.


Even the boys wore woolly tights

17 November 2012 (Guardian)

After two memorable years I can say with certainty that no reading or even language lessons can prepare anyone adequately for a family move to a country as wonderful, complex and sometimes dark as Russia, and also marvel that we were so ready to take such a leap with our children.


Plan for Catalan film event

14 November 2012 (The Herald)

Scotland has a new annual movie event: A movie festival which celebrates films from the Catalan region of Spain.   A programme of nine days of films in five venues across Edinburgh will attempt to tap into Catalan culture as well as providing room for discussion about its culture and society.


European personalities urge EU leaders to back Erasmus

9 November 2012 (European Commission)

More than 100 European personalities from the worlds of education, art, literature, economics, philosophy and sport have signed an open letter to EU Heads of State and Government in support of the threatened Erasmus student exchange programme. The signatories come from every Member State of the EU and include the Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar, the president of FC Barcelona Sandro Rosell, Nobel Prize winner Professor Christopher Pissarides and several Olympic champions.


Related Links

Record Number of UK Students Study or Work Abroad in Europe with Erasmus (British Council, 16 November 2012)

English - MFL - singing their praises

9 November 2012 (TES)

Religion can be hard for small children to grasp as it involves abstract ideas. So it helps to have an activity that allows you to discuss world religions in a way that children of all faiths and none can relate to.

Start by asking pupils what problems people all over the world have. Put these words on the board and teach them in the target language.


Teaching in multicultural classrooms: tips, challenges and opportunities

7 November 2012 (The Guardian Teacher Network)

What does a range of nationalities in class bring to the teaching and learning experience? A collection of teachers give us a glimpse into their multicultural classrooms.


New SCEN website launched

7 November 2012 (SCEN)

The Scotland China Education Network invites you to visit its new website and discover how it is promoting the learning of Chinese and about China in Scottish schools.


Teaching and Learning in the Global Classroom

5 November 2012 (eTwinning)

This week the Guardian Teachers Network are exploring issues around global awareness and understanding in schools. Various articles and blog posts will be available to explore throughout the week.


We must save Gaelic before it's too late

5 November 2012 (The Herald blog)

Did you get the cruel irony that the surname of the Barcelona player, Jordi Alba, whose last gasp goal in the Nou Camp broke Celtic hearts, means “Scotland” in Gaelic? If not, that means you know even less Gaelic than me!


Scotland keen to promote conversation with China: official

31 October 2012 (NZ Week)

Edinburgh, Oct. 30 — Scottish Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Language Alasdair Allan on Tuesday highlighted the importance of Scottish links with China to promote mutual understanding and friendship. Allan made the remarks at a reception at the Scottish Parliament held here for the two-week “Scotland in Conversation with China” under the theme of “Defining Scotland’s Distinctive Identity in an Era of Globalization The Chinese Perspective”.


Chinese Culture & Conversation Corners in November

30 October 2012 (Confucius Institute Edinburgh)

Chinese Culture & Conversation Corners take place on Friday evenings at the Confucius Institute for Scotland from 5.30-7pm in the Autumn and Winter terms. Open to anyone who is learning Chinese or who has an interest in Chinese culture, each week there is a special theme. This Friday 2 November is your chance to find out which are the `must see` places to visit. For details of all the CCC events in November, visit the Confucius Institute Edinburgh website.


Gillard: Australia must embrace 'Asian Century'

30 October 2012 (CNN)

Every Australian child should learn Mandarin, Hindi or other regional language as the nation's future is tied to the rise of the "Asian Century," Prime Minister Julia Gillard said in a policy speech on Sunday.


Ruta Quetzal BBVA 2013

25 October 2012 (Consejería de Educación)

Ruta Quetzal BBVA is an “enlightening" and “scientific” journey of initiation in which culture and adventure come together. Thanks to this initiative, over the past 22 years nearly 8,000 young people from Europe, the Americas and countries such as Morocco, Equatorial Guinea, the Philippines and China have had the opportunity to discover the human, geographic and historical dimensions of other cultures. Successful participants will travel to Panama and different regions of Spain.

To learn more about the competition, eligibility and how to apply visit the Ruta Quetzal 2013 webpage.


World Class – BBC’s international project for schools

10 October 2012 (BBC)

Join the BBC's World Class to celebrate International Education Week during the week of 12-16 November.

International Education Week (IEW) is a British Council initiative giving schools a chance to learn more about education around the world, and to celebrate their own international links and partnerships. For IEW week in 2012, the main theme is entitled 'Use your Voice'. During the week, World Class will be hosting a series of live, interactive debates, in which pupils from across the world can offer their opinions on a range of topics. Email to book into a live debate.


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