Latest News

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

Language Learning - Secondary - Post 16

Spanish Immersion Day

9 November 2017 (Spanish Embassy Education Office)

The Spanish Immersion Day is intended to provide an opportunity for Higher Spanish students or a similar level of examinations to practise their Spanish meaningfully with native speakers on a wide range of topics. The sessions will aim to provide them with strategies to become more effective communicators and to cope with unexpected language.


SCHOLAR’s webinars on Higher and Advanced Higher Modern Languages

6 November 2017 (SCHOLAR)

SCHOLAR’s webinars on Higher and Advanced Higher Modern Languages have started again! They are on Mondays at 6pm and are led by Douglas Angus. Last week was a double session on ‘Tackling the Translation’, 45 minutes each for Higher and Advanced Higher.

Next session on November 13 is on improving listening skills, and it will be at 6pm for Higher and 6.45pm for Advanced Higher. These sessions are accessible by all, whether registered for SCHOLAR or not. Simply follow the link below and log in as a guest. The sessions are recorded and are available the next day on the SCHOLAR website to download or watch.

If you have not seen these before, they are very interactive and allow students to ask questions (and have them answered!) at any time. Future sessions planned are:

  • Dec 4 (Higher) - Reading and directed writing: getting it right
  • Jan 15 (AH) - The specialist study and the portfolio
  • Jan 22 (Higher) - Talking: preparing for the speaking exam
  • Feb 5 (AH) - Talking: preparing for the external examiner
  • Feb 26 (AH) - Being successful at discursive writing
  • Mar 5 (Higher) - Opinion writing: the response to listening
  • Mar 12 (AH) - Reading and the overall purpose question


A-level results show first rise in top grades in six years

17 August 2017 (The Guardian)

The proportion of top marks awarded at A-level has risen overall for the first time in six years and boys did better than girls at gaining A and A* grades.

The published national results of 2017’s exams show that in the bulk of subjects the proportion of A and A* grades awarded went up to 26.3%, a rise of half a percentage point compared with 2016.

[..] As expected, there were sizeable increases in the top grades awarded to students taking modern foreign languages, with A and A*s rising by 2.5% in Spanish and 1.8% in German and 1.7% in French – after years of complaints that the exams were graded too harshly.

The improved performance came after the exam regulator in England, Ofqual, adjusted the proportion of top grades awarded to candidates, following research showing that native speakers taking the subjects had skewed the results.


Schools Modern Languages Question in the House of Lords

24 May 2016 (They Work for You)

Question put by Baroness Coussins in the House of Lords to ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the announcement by OCR that they are to discontinue GCSE and A-level examinations in French, German and Spanish.

See the transcript of the debate on the website.


The teenagers who teach languages at primary

18 December 2015 (TESS)

Senior pupils with a passion for languages are delivering lessons at schools in Edinburgh, providing welcome support to class teachers.

Please note a TES/TESS subscription is required to access the online article in full.


Spanish immersion days

16 October 2015 (Spanish Embassy Education Office )

Booking is now open for Spanish Immersion Days 2015-2016. Immersion days are a wonderful way for Scottish students to spend a whole day with native speakers of Spanish doing oral communicative tasks, preparing oral exams, sharing cultural aspects.

Have a look at what Spanish Immersion Days 2014-15 in North Lanarkshire, West Dunbartonshire and Aberdeen.


Language study beyond school

11 September 2015 (SCILT)

Do you have students looking to further or develop their language learning on leaving school? Make sure they know about the Beyond School section of the SCILT website. With useful information on different language courses and options available here in Scotland, there are also links to UCAS and language courses UK-wide to help their selection process and the transition from school.

The section includes advice and information on:

  • The benefits of language learning for you and your career 
  • Undergraduate language courses at Scottish and UK universities 
  • Options for combining languages with other degree subjects 
  • Beginner and refresher language courses and modules at Scotland’s colleges 
  • The gap year – opportunities to study, work or volunteer abroad 
  • The student voice – blogs, advice, hints and tips from those who’ve been there

The site also outlines the support Scottish universities can provide to teachers and schools in their language teaching and staff professional development.

So please make your language teaching professionals, pupils and guidance staff aware of the ‘Beyond School’ website. It’s got their language needs covered!


Young Applicants in Schools (YASS)

10 September 2015 (Open University)

The Open University's Young Applicants in Schools Scheme (YASS) gives S6 students in Scotland the opportunity to study at higher education level without leaving friends and family behind. Study fits around school work and social lives, encourages independent learning and builds confidence.

YASS is designed to bridge the gap between school and full-time university and help able and motivated students stand out from the crowd. Over 500 young people from more than 100 schools took Open University modules last year.

YASS is a unique opportunity for S6 students in Scottish schools to bridge the gap between school and full-time university through independent learning. Run by The Open University in Scotland, YASS offers motivated and able students a chance to study a range of university level modules in school alongside their other studies. Language options are available in French, German, Spanish, Italian and Chinese.


The reasons behind the decline in languages at A level

8 May 2014 (SecEd)

The latest Languages Trends study has revealed yet further decline in language learning, with specific concerns about post-16 study. Kathryn Board and Teresa Tinsley consider some of the reasons behind the continuing problems.


Glasgow Schools Modern Languages Newsletter

31 March 2014 (Glasgow City Council)

The latest Modern Languages Newsletter from Glasgow schools has been published. This issue contains: 

  • Interdisciplinary Projects at Celtic Learning Centre
  • Eurozone Crisis IP at Bellahouston Academy
  • Louis Pasteaur languages / science project
  • Euroquiz 2014 in Thornwood Primary
  • Bannerman High's Chinese events
  • Italian events at St Charles' Primary

Making too much of Mandarin is a ‘fundamental error’

28 March 2014 (TES)

It is a “fundamental error” to make students learn languages such as Mandarin merely because they are perceived as being economically important, the director of a prominent European languages organisation has warned.

Young people need to have their own “intrinsic” motivation for learning languages to be successful in mastering them, rather than being driven by external factors such as economics or better job prospects, said Sarah Breslin, executive director of the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML).

“There’s been this idea of we should all be learning Chinese instead of, say, French, but that is a fundamental error, which overlooks the fact that learning any language is useful,” she told TES. “Young people respond to different languages in different ways – the key is to offer them choice. Schools should have the capacity to teach a variety of languages.”


The Times Stephen Spender Prize for poetry translation 2014

25 January 2014 (Stephen Spender Trust)

The Times Stephen Spender Prize for poetry translation 2014 has been launched. Entrants should translate a poem from any language, classical or modern, into English to enter this competition. Winning entries will be published in a booklet and cash prizes will be awarded. The closing date for entries is Friday 23rd May 2014.


UK Linguistics Olympiad 2013

22 January 2013 (UKLO)

Want to develop critical thinking skills? Want to show that languages are fun? Why not consider entering your school in the UK Linguistics Olympiad. It's a competition for secondary students, aged 11-18, in which they have to solve linguistic data problems. It doesn't rely on knowledge of a language but on trying to find patterns in the data.

There are 2 rounds of competition and then a team is selected to represent the UK at the International competition. Round 1 is taken in schools any time week commencing 4th Feb 2013 and students can be entered at either foundation, intermediate or advanced level. Round 2 will be held at St Mary’s College, Twickenham in late March. If you want to find out more, enter your school or just register an interest, please visit the UK Linguistics Olympiad website.


Les Misérables

15 January 2013 (Mary Glasgow Plus)

With the latest Hollywood adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel now released, this article in French can be used to discuss the story in your language class. Different versions are available to suit all levels from P7 to the senior phase.


French Revision Courses : Higher and Advanced Higher - February 2013

5 December 2012 (Alliance Française)

As in previous years, the Alliance Française de Glasgow will be running French Higher/Advanced Higher Oral Preparation courses for pupils who are sitting their French oral examinations in 2013.

Each session will take place between 4pm and 6pm at the Alliance Française de Glasgow.

  • Friday 1st February 2013
  • Friday 8th February 2013 
  • Friday 15th February 2013 
  • Friday 22nd February 2013

The cost to attend these sessions is £65 per student. If you wish to enrol your child for this course, please contact or visit the Language Office at the Alliance Française by Friday 18th January 2013.
Please note that places are strictly limited.

Venue and contact:

  • Alliance Française de Glasgow- 3 Park Circus - G3 6AX - Glasgow
  • Tel. +44 (0)141 331 4080 


Millionaire sports stars (resource)

28 November 2012 (Mary Glasgow Plus)

Read this article in Spanish about the richest athletes in the world. Different versions are available, adapted for use with pupils from P7 to S4.


Annual Canning House Essay Competition in Spanish and Portuguese

27 November 2012 (ALL)

Every year, Canning House runs an essay prize competition challenging language students from all over the UK to submit an essay which best displays their linguistic flair and capacity for free expression in their second language(s). The topic for discussion changes from year to year. This year the essay (of 750-1000 words in Spanish or Portuguese) is on the topic "What particular contribution does Latin America or Iberia make to the modern world?" Students of Spanish or Portuguese aged 17-19 are eligible, with prizes of £500, £200 and £100. Deadline: 31 January 2013. Further details are on the Canning House website.


Be special: become our fourth partner school

7 November 2012 (Goethe-Institut)

We are happy to announce that the Goethe-Institut London is currently looking for a new, fourth partner school in the UK and invite secondary schools to apply.

PASCH stands for the "Schools: Partners for the Future” initiative. It’s a global network of more than 1500 schools which place a high value on German.

The objective is to build on the school’s achievements and expand German teaching offering cross curriculum and extra curriculum activities with the help and support of the Goethe-Institut London.

Schools who may be interested in working with the Goethe-Institut and would like to know more about this initiative can see further details on our website and should contact Zarife Soylucicek by 30 November 2012 to make an appointment with the senior management of the school. 


James Bond – Skyfall (resource)

30 October 2012 (Mary Glasgow Plus)

Bring 007 to the classroom with this article in French about the new James Bond movie, Skyfall. Several versions are available, adapted for use with pupils from P7 upwards.


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