Latest News

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

Independent Schools

John Edward: Languages skills essential for global citizens

29 September 2018 (The Scotsman)

Scotland’s independent schools maintain a track record of academic excellence, and this has continued in 2018 with another set of outstanding exam results, which is only strengthened by individual and collective success in sports, art, music and other community endeavours.

With upwards of 30,000 pupils across Scotland, these schools, represented by The Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS), strive to deliver the best level of service to their pupils and parents.

Independent schools aim to prepare their pupils for further and higher education, their chosen career and their place as global citizens. As an education sector that can design and implement a bespoke school curriculum, we are seeing modern languages continue as a popular and desired subject of choice within schools.

Nelson Mandela said: ‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language that goes to his heart.” This is a powerful reminder that we can’t just rely on English when wanting to build relationships and trust with people from other countries.

From this year’s recent exam results, we can see that languages are topping the league tables with the highest pass rates within independent schools. A total of 68 per cent of pupils who studied foreign languages achieved a Higher grade A.

The data, collected from SCIS’s 74 member schools, showed that 72 per cent of students achieved a Higher grade A in Mandarin, while 72 per cent of those studying German, 69 per cent of those studying French and 63 per cent studying Spanish also achieved an A.

This demonstrates that independent schools in Scotland are supporting foreign languages as vital skills that children and young people will undoubtedly require in the future. Languages now, as a subject choice, are being held in the same regard as STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in independent school curriculums and elsewhere.


A quarter of pupils taking A-level languages are privately educated, ISC figures show

17 December 2015 (TES)

Independent school pupils make up a quarter of all entries for A-levels in French, German and Spanish, new figures show.

In 2015, a total of just 10,328 pupils studied French at A-level across the UK, with 2,572 (24.9 per cent) attending independent schools, according to an analysis of exam board statistics published by the Independent Schools Council (ISC) today.

Both Spanish and German also had low entry numbers, with independent school pupils providing a quarter of both. Nationally, only 14 per cent of all A-level students are educated in independent schools.

At GCSE, where the ISC says 5 per cent of all students are independently educated, more than 60 per cent of all entries for Classics are from independent schools.

The news comes amid what many believe is a crisis in modern foreign languages at A-level. Experts have warned that up to 40 per cent of university departments could close over the next decade because of lack of demand and competition between institutions.


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