Latest News

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

Scottish Government

Report on 2021 language learning survey of local authorities now published

28 April 2022 (Scottish Government)

The Scottish Government, in partnership with ADES, COSLA and Education Scotland, carried out a survey of local authorities last year to gauge progress to implement the 1+2 languages policy in schools. A full report of the findings from this survey has now been published this week. Among the key findings is that nearly all primary and secondary schools are now delivering language learning throughout the Broad General Education from P1 to S3.


Scotland's Census 2022 - Scots questions

1 March 2022 (Aye Can)

As part of Scotland's Census 2022 everyone living in Scotland will be asked if they can understand Scots, speak Scots, read Scots and write Scots. We will also be asked what our main language is.

This website is designed to help you assess your knowledge of Scots and answer these questions.


What next for Gaelic – new parliament, new start?

25 June 2021 (Bella Caledonia)

This week has seen a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the future direction of Gaelic policy, on a backbench motion tabled by Alasdair Allan, MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar (the Western Isles), with significant cross-party support. According to Allan, ‘The next parliamentary term will be important in securing the status and vitality of the Gaelic language. The SNP outlined the most ambitious commitments for Gaelic in the history of the Scottish Parliament in our 2021 election manifesto.’ To what extent is this true, and what kinds of progress in Gaelic development can we hope to see in the next few years?


Catching up with the rest of the world: The foreign languages revolution in Scottish schools

30 May 2021 (Press and Journal)

Scottish schools are undergoing a revolution in foreign language learning in an attempt to reverse generations of neglect.

After years of being derided as ‘lazy’ linguists abroad, there are plans to produce a multilingual workforce.

Few school systems demand less foreign language learning from their children than those in the UK.

This is not helped by having a native language that is the ‘lingua franca’ of the world.

But a Scottish Government policy is setting out to change all that.

Under the 1+2 Languages initiative, pupils will learn their own language (L1) plus two others (L2 and L3).

The L2 will be taught from Primary 1, and the L3 from Primary 5 to 7. There will be compulsory teaching of at least one foreign language until S3.

Education bosses will fully implement the “ambitious” policy for the start of the 2021-22 school year.

Based on the last Scottish Government survey in 2019, 88% of primary schools – approximately 1,760 schools – were delivering the full L2 entitlement.

This already represents significant progress. Anyone in their 30s who went to a Scottish state school won’t have studied foreign languages until secondary school.

The Scottish Government has spent more than £45million since 2013 on increasing foreign language learning in schools.

Teachers are currently being provided with training and support in readiness for the changes.


SNP announce plans to explore creation of recognised Gaelic-speaking area

14 April 2021 (The Herald)

The SNP has announced plans to secure the future of Gaelic by investing in education and exploring the creation of a recognised Gaelic-speaking area. 

The party said it will work to ensure Gaelic flourishes throughout Scotland as well as in its traditional heartlands if it is re-elected in May.

It also said it would "review the functions and structures" of Bòrd na Gàidhlig (BnG), the quango responsible for promoting the language. 

BnG has been the focus of criticism over its performance. 

The SNP said it would look into creating a recognised "Gàidhealtachd" to raise levels of language competence and encourage the provision of more services in Gaelic.

The Gaidhealtachd is the area of Scotland where people speak Gaelic and usually refers to the Highlands and islands. 


Funding for Gaelic education

11 October 2019 (Scottish Government)

The Scottish Government is to provide £2 million of capital support towards a fourth Gaelic primary school in Glasgow.

The new school, likely to be in the north-east of the city, is being built to meet demand for Gaelic medium education.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced the investment as he formally opened the 116th Royal National Mod in Glasgow.


Calls for Scots children to be taught Chinese and Urdu

24 October 2018 (The Scotsman)

A new study suggests more pupils could learn Chinese and Urdu as part of a shake up in learning foreign languages.

The independent think tank, Reform Scotland, has published a report calling for a fresh approach to be taken towards the education of languages in Scottish schools.

The report indicates a practical model of learning should be introduced to help adapt to changing demand.

The number of Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) entries in “traditionally taught” languages has decreased over the last 20 years, with entries for higher grade French down by 18.2% and entries for German at the same level reduced by 58.4%.

In contrast, entries for higher Spanish exams increased by 219.8% increased over the same period, while Chinese entries have increased by 17.8% in the past two years.

Reform Scotland argue this highlights a changing global economy, with Asia seen as a growing economic market.

The report also calls for an end to distinctions between “community” and “modern” languages so that learning reflects the increasing number of communities in Scotland speaking languages such as Polish, Arabic and Urdu.

Reform Scotland Director Chris Deerin said: “If we want to see genuine growth in language skills in Scotland, rather than just paying lip service to the idea, we need to rethink our approach.

“There is a danger the languages currently on offer within the education system are not keeping up with Scottish or global society.

“We need to think much more freely - as many other countries do - about how best to equip ourselves to thrive in the modern global economy. Brexit, the shift of power from West to East, and Scotland’s pressing need to secure greater economic growth, all demand fresh ideas.”


1+2 Modern Languages in Parliament

13 September 2018 (Scottish Parliament)

Read the First Minister's response when asked at the Meeting of the Parliament 13 September 2018 what action the Scottish Government will take to improve the implementation of the one-plus-two modern languages policy in broad general education.


BSL event at the Scottish Parliament

27 April 2018 (Scottish Government)

To help us prepare our British Sign Language Plan, we will be holding an event at the Scottish Parliament building to gather the views of BSL users. Please come along!

The event will be on the afternoon of Friday 18 May and the morning of Saturday 19 May.

Tours of the Scottish Parliament debating chamber and garden lobby will be available in BSL on both days.

Visit the website for more information and to book.


Irvine brothers wine and dine with First Minister in China

20 April 2018 (Irvine Times)

Two Irvine brothers have hosted a dinner with Nicola Sturgeon in China after winning a year-long scholarship in the Far East.

Twins Owen and Robin Wilson wined and dined the First Minster last week during her current visit to China.

The brothers, who are 18, flew out to Beijing last year after both winning a place on the coveted Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools (CISS) Scholarship Programme which, in partnership with Strathclyde University, sees 23 students picked to live in China and attend Tianjin Foreign Studies University for a full academic year.


Scottish students in China

8 April 2018 (Scottish Government)

Scottish students will get the opportunity to live and study in China through funding for the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools Scholarship Programme.

The £754,000 investment in the work of the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools (CISS) was announced as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met some of the current scholars in Beijing on the first day of her visit to China. She learned how the scheme has helped to build links between young people in both countries, improving language skills and widening horizons for those taking part.

Applications for the programme are open to 6th year pupils in Confucius Classroom Hubs around Scotland. So far 70 Scottish students have been awarded scholarships.


Young People in Scotland Survey 2017: STEM and language findings

19 March 2018 (Scottish Government)

This report presents data from Ipsos MORI's Young People in Scotland Survey 2017 on the choices young people make regarding STEM and language subjects in school.

The report can be accessed on the Scottish Government website.


£3 million for language learning

21 February 2018 (Scottish Government)

Schools will be allocated £3 million this year to support pupils learning additional languages, Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn has announced.

A lack of language skills has been estimated to cost Scottish businesses hundreds of millions of pounds a year in lost exports.

The Scottish Government funding will enable every primary school pupil to start learning an additional language in Primary 1 and a second additional language by Primary 5, and for language learning to continue to the end of S3. This includes Mandarin, Gaelic and British Sign Language as well as European languages.

There has been a sustained increase in language Highers and skills-based qualifications in recent years and the Scottish Government’s continued investment will build on this success, ensuring the workforce has the right skills to make the most of international economic opportunities.


Related Links

£3m fund for language education confirmed (Holyrood, 21 February 2018)

Polish ambassador calls for Polish to be taught in Scottish schools

12 April 2017 (Press and Journal)

The Polish ambassador has called for his country’s language to be taught in Scottish schools.

Arkady Rzegocki said he had raised the issue with ministers since taking up his post last year.

He also told the Press and Journal that schools in Poland have “much more knowledge” about Britain and Scotland than their counterparts here.

Mr Rzegocki, who visited Scotland two weeks ago, said: “From my perspective it’s a really great opportunity and great chance because we need more information about Poland and about central Europe generally in British schools, in Scottish schools.

“And also the Polish language should be learned as a foreign language.”

He added: “This lack of knowledge is a real barrier from my perspective, a real barrier to better economical cooperation.

“It’s fair to say we have much, much more knowledge about Britain, about Scotland in Polish schools, in Poland, so we have to make it more equal.”

He also said he is trying to encourage more Polish people to visit Scotland and vice versa.

And he highlighted Polish Heritage Day next month, which he described as an opportunity for British and Polish people to learn more about each other’s history and customs.


Related Links

Polish language advocates lament lack of classes (The Times, 14 April 2017)

Teachers ‘ill-prepared’ for primary language strategy

14 March 2017 (The Herald)

Teachers have warned an ambitious strategy to expand language learning in Scottish primary schools lacks direction.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) teaching union said training for school staff was variable and had led to lower confidence levels in some areas.

The criticism centres on the Scottish Government’s flagship 1+2 languages policy under which primary pupils are to be taught at least two modern languages in addition to their mother tongue, starting in the first year of schooling and adding a second foreign language no later than P5.

The government has argued primaries should incorporate as large a pool of languages as possible, including Portuguese, Punjabi, Urdu and Polish.

However, critics say schools and teacher training universities need a much smaller group of languages to focus on to ensure continuity of study and expertise among staff.

In a letter to councils, Andrea Bradley, EIS assistant secretary for education, said information from primary teachers had identified training that was not of a consistently appropriate standard.

She said members had highlighted a “lack of direction” as to which languages would be taught at which stage as well as “variable quality of teachers’ experience of training course delivery”.

She also said there was “inconsistency” in the duration of training courses and therefore inconsistency in “outcomes for our members in terms of their levels of confidence to teach foreign languages”.

She added: “The EIS therefore calls upon all local authorities to work with Scottish Government to address the issues that are raised here, with a view to ensuring coherence of approach and adequate resourcing in order that the worthy aims of the policy can be met.”

The concerns were echoed by Gillian Campbell-Thow, chairwoman of the Scottish Association for Language Teaching.


Related Links

SALT's response to EIS (SALT, 15 March 2017)

Agenda: So much to be gained from young people learning modern languages

12 February 2017 (Sunday Herald)

Does language learning have a place in the Scottish curriculum? Yes. Are modern languages and their teachers under pressure in secondary schools? Yes. Has there been a better opportunity for promoting language learning in our schools ? No.

Language learning has a vital place in Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) on a learner journey from 3-18 but in a manner that does not see it as the preserve of the secondary school.

It has always baffled me that traditionally in Scotland, given its place in Europe, we started language learning so late in a child’s development.

The earlier we expose children to learning languages, the better their chance is of seeing this as something that is just part of their culture.

From a child development point of view, there’s much research to confirm that children are more receptive educationally and emotionally to language learning from an early age.

They soak it up and acquire language skills at a great pace. We know that bilingualism not only helps the cognitive development of the child but also that children who are in bilingual education such as Gaelic Medium Education also attain and achieve at least as well as, in many cases better, than their monoglot peers. They are fluent in two languages and are learning a third by the age of 11. In addition, there is another plus to early exposure to acquiring additional languages; most parents like it, understand it and support schools that promote it.

The Scottish Government-led 1+2 languages programme is a long-term policy commitment started in 2011 due to run until 2021, aimed at making it normal for all children and young people in Scotland to learn languages from primary one.


Swinney sets out bold ambition for Gaelic

19 October 2016 (Scottish Government)

The Deputy First Minister John Swinney has delivered the Angus Macleod Memorial lecture during the Mod in Stornoway today setting out the importance of the Gaelic language to Scotland as part of a bold ambition to build participation and economic activity in the future.

Mr Swinney was making his first major speech on the subject since assuming ministerial responsibility for the Gaelic language after the election. Over the summer the Deputy First Minister has engaged widely with a range of stakeholders central to the future of the language.


£700,000 for Gaelic language delivery

19 October 2016 (Scottish Government)

Additional funding to improve facilities at Glasgow’s two Gaelic schools has been announced by the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney.

Glendale Gaelic School and Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu will use the extra £700,000 to further improve the learning environment for young people studying core subjects such as physical education, STEM and ICT, ensuring Gaelic learning provides a fully immersive experience across the curriculum.

The money will also be spent on upgrading school facilities helping to tackle an increase in demand for places.

Since the introduction of the Gaelic Schools Capital Fund in 2008 the number of young people in Gaelic medium education has increased nationally by 32%.


1+2 Case Study - Douglas Academy

18 August 2016 (SCILT)

Douglas Academy is a six year non-denominational, co-educational, comprehensive school serving Milngavie, Craigton and Baldernock. The current school roll is 994.

The school demonstrates a strong ethos of fairness and equality and encourages a strong pupil voice at both departmental and whole school level. Read how pupils and teachers work together to make the language department such a success and for some interesting ideas on the implementation of 1+2.


More money needed to keep the conversation flowing

29 July 2016 (TESS)

Experts say extra funding is vital if the government's 1+2 foreign languages programme is to succeed.

Read the full article in TESS online, 29 July 2016, pages 8-9 (subscription required).


ADES 1+2 languages implementation review

5 July 2016 (Scottish Government)

The independent review of the implementation of the 1+2 languages policy recently undertaken by the Association of Directors of Education Scotland (ADES) is now available to download from the Scottish Government’s website.


Language learning for business

29 March 2016 (Scottish Government)

In a global, multi-cultural society, being able to communicate in more than one language is increasingly vital. It is important for the nation’s prosperity that young people are attracted to learning languages and that they become confident in speaking languages other than their own.

According to the CBI's Education and Skills survey 2015, over three quarters of businesses (77%) have a need for language skills among their employees, with over one in ten (11%) stating they would need language skills in the next few years.

The Scottish Government is committed to expanding and improving language learning so that our young people are equipped with the skills and competencies needed for the global economy. That is why we have made an ambitious languages commitment to introduce a norm for language learning based on the EU 1+2 model. This will ensure that all young people in Scotland have excellent language learning opportunities from a young age, as a normal and expected part of a broad, relevant school education.

Ken Lindsay tells us of his experiences of learning languages and how they have helped him in his role as an International Brand Ambassador for Chivas Brothers Ltd.


Viewing languages as a luxury? Nuts to that!

19 February 2016 (TESS)

In 1995 I boarded an Aberdeen train for a marathon journey to the picturesque French town of Le Puy-en-Velay, where I was to spend a year as an English language assistant.

I'd done six years of French at school and another two at university. Now I was ready to throw myself into the land of Gainsbourg, Camus, Piaf, Truffant, Depardieu and (my main cultural reference point) Astérix. Or was I?

As the latest of several trains trundled past Bourgogne vineyards, I headed to the buffet car. I had a craving for peanuts.

Only I didn't know the French word for peanuts...

(see the Editorial, page 5 of TESS digital for the full article - TES subscription required).


Related Links

Let’s be clear on foreign languages (TESS online, page 15) - subscription required to access.

Language interest grows

11 February 2016 (Scottish Government)

Pupils in the majority of Scotland’s council areas are now learning languages in Primary 1, under the Scottish Government’s 1+2 languages policy.

The Scottish Government made a commitment in 2011 to introduce the model in every council by 2020 – meaning every primary school pupil will start learning a first additional language in P1 and a second by P5, continuing until the end of S3.

Five years on, 21 out of 32 local authorities will be delivering the first additional language for P1 by the end of this school year, with all councils expected to meet the commitment by 2020.

Minister for Learning, Dr Alasdair Allan, met young people speaking French, Spanish and Gaelic when he visited Edinbarnet Primary School in West Dunbartonshire today.

Dr Allan’s visit follows the recent publication of figures from the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey (SSA) in 2015 that show 89 per cent of people in Scotland think that learning a language other than English in school from the age of five is important.


Languages: a world of opportunity – web page now live

7 January 2016 (Scottish Government)

In September 2015, Michael Russell MSP hosted a parliamentary reception, entitled Languages: a world of opportunity. While celebrating language learning in Scotland, the event set out to inspire people to appreciate language skills as valuable, enabling, achievable, career and life-enhancing.

Through real life examples about how stronger language skills are already making a difference, not only in education, but in employment and on a personal level, attendees were invited to consider how to further promote language skills, and an understanding of their value, in the interests of Scotland’s global position.

As an employability skill, Scotland as a whole stands to gain from language skills becoming the norm for us all. This is why Scottish Government is committed to radically enhance language learning in schools across Scotland through Language Learning in Scotland: A 1+2 approach.

This webpage contains information from the event, films about and using language and links to websites of organisations who promote, develop and advocate language learning.


Subject choice is vital in improving children's life chances, researchers say

20 November 2015 (TESS)

The Scottish government’s drive to close the attainment gap will fail to boost the life chances of deprived children because many are not choosing the right subjects, research suggests.

The University of Edinburgh researchers call for academic subjects such as English, maths, sciences and languages to be compulsory for longer and for schools to give pupils better advice about the long-term implications of their decisions.

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


Support for Gaelic early years

21 October 2015 (Scottish Government)

Children in Gaelic speaking communities will be helped to get the best start in life after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced £100,000 funding for 41 early years’ groups and organisations.

The money will support the running costs of the groups and provide employment opportunities for Gaelic speaking leaders so that children can develop their skills in the language.

The First Minister made the announcement in Skye as she delivered the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig lecture for the first time. She said:

“We want all of Scotland’s children to have the best start in life. That includes providing opportunities for children to learn and improve Gaelic in their early years. Our support for Gaelic medium education is encouraging and enabling more children to learn the language and has helped to slow the decline in our population of Gaelic speakers. I am determined to do all I can to support the future of the language in Scotland. Today’s announcement ensures that children will be able to take up Gaelic at the earliest possible age.”


Related Links

First minister unveils £100,000 for Gaelic speaking children (Press and Journal, 22 October 2015)

Support for Gaelic early years (Stornoway Gazette, 26 October 2015) 

All pupils to learn two foreign languages by high school

13 October 2015 (Edinburgh Evening News)

It's the pioneering programme aimed at making ­language learning as easy as un, deux, trois.

Every pupil in the Capital will receive lessons in at least two foreign languages by the time they leave primary school under radical plans aimed at helping them keep pace with peers across Europe.

City bosses have confirmed they want to introduce the new scheme, called 1+2, by the start of 2017 – three years ahead of a national deadline set for 2020.

Youngsters will be offered classes in core languages including French, Spanish and Mandarin, as well as Gaelic, Scots and “heritage” tongues such as Polish and Farsi.

The Edinburgh roll-out is part of a Scottish Government-led initiative which will see all children learn a second language from P1 and have experience of a third from P5 at the latest.

Parent leaders in the city have hailed the development and said it would help prepare youngsters for the modern world.


Applause as MSPs unanimously back bill promoting use of British Sign Language

18 September 2015 (The National)

Legislation to promote the use of British Sign Language (BSL) was unanimously backed by MSPs last night.

The passage of the British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill, brought forward by Labour MSP Mark Griffin, was greeted with cheers and applause by campaigners in the Scottish Parliament’s public gallery.

It will require Scottish ministers to develop a national plan for BSL and place an obligation on public-sector bodies to prepare and publish their own plans.

The aim is to increase awareness of BSL and its use in the delivery of services.

During a debate on the bill at Holyrood, Griffin cited statistics from the Scottish Council on Deafness showing that 77 per cent of BSL users who visited hospital could not easily communicate with NHS staff.

He said: “It is that sense of abandonment and isolation – whether it be in a healthcare situation, in a school or an education situation – that I hope the passing of this legislation will address.”

Languages minister Dr Alasdair Allan said the Scottish Government would set up a BSL group to advise on the content of the national plan.

Labour equality spokeswoman Rhoda Grant said the bill “will send a strong message to the deaf and deaf-blind community that we value them and we value their language”.


Related Links

For more information on the Bill itself, visit the page about the British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill on the Scottish Parliament's website and see Parliament TV coverage of the proceedings held in the Scottish Parliament on 17 September 2015.  You can also access the Official Report from the Meeting of the Parliament on 17 September 2015 in which the British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill was discussed.

MSPs support bill to promote British Sign Language (The Herald, 17 September 2015)

The British Sign Language (BSL) (Scotland) Bill passed unanimously (The Edinburgh Reporter, 17 September 2015)

British Deaf Association applauds British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill (BDA, 17 September 2015)

Sign language given formal status in Scotland (Holyrood, 18 September 2015)

New BSL bill is a welcome sign of the times (The Herald, 18 September 2015)

Scots Language Policy

10 September 2015 (Scottish Government)

A national Scots Language Policy has been launched today by Dr Alasdair Allan, Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages.

This national Scots policy sets out the Scottish Government's position on the Scots language, its aims and objectives for Scots and the practical steps we will take to achieve these. It has been developed in co-operation with a number of key interests and will be reviewed periodically.


Related Links

Supporting Scots (Scottish Government, 10 September 2015)

Holyrood launches drive to promote Scots language (The Scotsman, 10 September 2015)

Mind your language: Scottish Government to step up promotion of Scots (CommonSpace, 11 September 2015)

Insight: Why Scots face a language barrier

8 August 2015 (The Scotsman)

Our children’s lack of foreign language skills cry out for a shake-up in education policy, and yet constant upheaval in our schools may be one of the problems, writes Dani Garavelli.


MSP raises concern about Gaelic education

23 June 2015 (Press and Journal)

A north MSP has raised concerns after the number of students sitting exams in Gaelic fell by 21%.

And newly released figures also showed that the number of pupils passing the first year of national exams dropped by 25%.

Rhoda Grant, Scottish Labour Highlands and Islands MSP questioned what efforts were being made by the Scottish Government to promote study of the language.


SB 15-19 Education (Scotland) Bill

23 April 2015 (Scottish Parliament)

The Education (Scotland) Bill was introduced in the Parliament on 23 March 2015. It covers a range of school policy issues, in particular school attainment and Gaelic-medium Education. This briefing sets out the legislative and policy context of the proposals.


Learning lessons from overseas

12 March 2015 (Scottish Government)

Scottish students that have never studied abroad will be given the chance to learn in a new environment overseas in the coming academic year.

The Outward Mobility Fund is now open for applications for 2015/16, backed by £130,000 funding from the Scottish Government.

The fund supports student to go to Canada, China, India, the USA for any duration of time, or to Europe destinations for a period less than three months. The scheme is particularly aimed at students who had never studied abroad and to date 367 people have been offered places.

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Angela Constance said:

[..]“Heading abroad can help our students gain intercultural understanding, problem solving and language skills, greater self-confidence and better employability prospects. I have heard of a number of success stories from the scheme including one project that took 10 students from the University of the West of Scotland to China to study mechanical and civil engineering techniques.”


National roll-out for sign language interpreting service

2 March 2015 (Scottish Government)

A nationwide roll-out of a new online interpreting service will allow deaf people across Scotland to use sign language to contact public sector services.

The Scottish Government has announced today the extension of the current NHS 24 online British Sign Language (BSL) Video Relay Interpreting Service pilot to the rest of the public sector in Scotland.

The new Scottish Government-funded service, contactSCOTLAND, will mean deaf people can now speak to public services, such as their local council, doctor’s surgery and the Scottish Government, without the need for someone to call on their behalf.

This project is unique in the UK and is the first nationally funded public sector Video Relay Service.


Scotland angers European allies over "failing" language policy

2 March 2015 (The Herald)

Ministers have come under fire from some of the most powerful countries in Europe over Scotland's school languages policy.

Representatives from Germany, Switzerland and Austria have written to Dr Alastair Allan, the minister for learning, warning that current policies to expand language learning may lead to the "ultimate demise" of German in Scottish schools.

The move comes just weeks after Dr Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian Ambassador to Great Britain and Northern Ireland, urged Scottish ministers to protect the Russian Higher qualification, which is to be axed this year despite a sharp increase in numbers sitting it.


Related Links

Grounding in English grammar essential to learning of languages (The Herald, 3 March 2015)

Consultation on Gaelic Medium Education Bill: Analysis of written responses

9 December 2014 (Scottish Government)

A consultation paper was issued in July 2014 seeking views on proposals on how best to introduce an entitlement to Gaelic Medium Education. The responses will help inform the development of the policies, the guidance and draft legislation.

Access the analysis of responses on the Scottish Government website.


News at a glance: ‘Nicola Sturgeon ups the intensity on attainment’

5 December 2014 (TESS)

The attainment of schoolchildren is to be a key focus of government plans under first minister Nicola Sturgeon.  [..] The government reiterated its support for existing programmes such as 1+2, which seeks to give children a working knowledge of two foreign languages by the end of primary school. And it introduced a bill aimed at improving children’s rights and Gaelic education.


Foreign language teaching (support)

3 December 2014 (Scottish Parliament)

In the Meeting of the Parliament 3 December 2014 Jamie McGrigor (Highlands and Islands) (Con) asked the Scottish Government how it supports the teaching of foreign languages in schools. Read the text of the discussion on the Scottish Parliament website.


Primary pupils learn languages in new scheme

30 October 2014 (Evening Telegraph)

Hundreds of thousands of pounds of Scottish Government funds have been pumped into Dundee to give every child the opportunity to learn two foreign languages in primary school.

Currently core languages such as French, German and Spanish are being introduced to the primary school curriculum, but there is scope for children to be speaking Gaelic, Russian and Mandarin in the near future.

Dundee City Council has received £131,170 to finance the 1+2 Approach for the 2014-15 school session in addition to the £103,973 it received in 2013-14.

Last year Hillside Primary School piloted the programme in which they started learning a foreign language as early as P1 before picking up another by P5, and now 16 more primaries are taking on the new language learning.


Learning lessons from overseas

15 August 2014 (Scottish Government)

Study trips to France, Spain, China and the USA are among the opportunities available to Scots-based students through new Scottish Government funding.

Grants totalling more than £127,000 have been shared among 12 projects – including summer exchange programmes, study trips and internships – all aimed at helping students from seven universities or colleges gain a global perspective in their respective fields.


Gap-year students to assist pupils with languages

3 July 2014 (The Herald)

Youngsters who take a gap year before starting university, college or employment are being targeted in a drive to improve language learning in the nation's schools.

Under the initiative, volunteers are twinned with primary and secondary schools to demonstrate the importance of learning a language for their trips and to promote wider cultural awareness.

The project also involves university language students who travel overseas on study placements or work as language assistants with the British Council.

Volunteers are linked with secondary schools that are already learning the language of the country they are visiting - either in Europe or further afield, with Spanish prevalent in South America and French commonly spoken in Africa.

In primary schools the focus is on promoting language learning more generally. The volunteers visit pupils before they go, stay in touch when they are overseas and return to the schools when they finish to update them on their progress - with input from teachers throughout to ensure the work fits in with the curriculum.

The Global Citizenship programme, a partnership between the British Council, Scotland's National Centre for Languages at Strathclyde University, NUS Scotland and Scottish-based educational charity Project Trust, has already been run as a pilot in 15 primary and secondary schools in Stirling and Falkirk.


Related Links

Teenager leads the way with lessons on Ghana (The Herald, 3 July 2014)

Visit the Project Trust pages on our website for more information on the partnership project.

Consultation Paper on a Gaelic Medium Education Bill

2 July 2014 (Scottish Government)

Views are invited on Gaelic medium education in general and specifically on the proposal to introduce legislation to the Scottish Parliament aimed at expanding and improving access to Gaelic medium education in Scotland.

The principal SG proposal in this paper is that a clear, transparent and consistent process should be put in place whereby authorities can assess parental requests for Gaelic medium education. There are also proposals about the promotion of Gaelic medium education and the preparation of guidance on these matters.


Foreign language learning in primary schools – Scottish Parliament enquiry

19 June 2014 (Scottish Parliament)

The European and External Relations Committee will meet on 26 June 2014 and receive a report from Scottish Government on the learning of foreign languages in primary schools.

To read the report, open this PDF Meeting Agenda and scroll down to Annexe C (p16).


£1 million boost for language teaching in schools

23 April 2014 (Scottish Government)

The Scottish Government’s commitment for every child to start learning a second language from P1 onwards and a third no later than P5 by 2020 has been strengthened by a further investment of £1 million.

The increase brings the total, additional funding for languages in schools in 2014/2015 to £5 million. The money will build on the good work already underway in Scotland as part of the 1+2 policy, the most ambitious languages learning programme in the UK.


Census 2011: Identity, Language and Religion in Scotland

19 March 2014 (Scottish Government)

The statistics published today by the Registrar General for Scotland on the Scotland’s Census website, present further details from the 2011 Census in Scotland on Ethnicity, Identity, Language and Religion, from national to local level.

Other tables in this release, within the Standard Outputs menu, present information on: 

  • Gaelic language skills by sex by age 
  • English language skills by sex by age 
  • Language other than English used at home by sex by age


Related Links

Graphical data on languages in Scotland (Scotland's Census 2011)

Confucius Hubs video - Mike Russell's blog

27 February 2014 (Scottish Government)

Thursday 27 February 2014: Another day.... another camera. And there have been a lot of them this week.

This morning after recording a piece on video about Higher Education for an educational website I was interviewed for a short film on the learning of Chinese language and culture.

The Hanban, which promotes Chinese language and culture abroad is a key partner for the Scottish Government in establishing Confucius Hubs and classrooms across the country. They provide resources and teachers and they are also good hosts for Scottish pupils.

The world's best Confucius Classroom, as they are known, is St Ninian's High in East Renfrewshire, and that is an official accolade they won in Beijing last year. Now each of the countries in the scheme is making a short film to contribute to a world wide project and the Scottish producers asked me to say a few words for our one.


Scottish Government: Foreign language engagement strategy

21 February 2014 (Scottish Government)

At the meeting of the Scottish Parliament on 19 February 2014 during Portfolio Question Time - Education and Lifelong Learning, the Scottish Government was asked for an update on their foreign language engagement strategy.

See the Official Report for details.


Red tape cut for Chinese teacher visits

3 February 2014 (Herald)

Teachers heading to Scotland to promote the Chinese language will be given leave to remain in the UK for a further year after five staff were at the centre of a row.


1+2 Secondary School Case Studies

7 January 2014 (SCILT)

We now have two new case studies uploaded on our website. Read how Breadalbane Academy and Queen Anne High School are working to embrace the recommendations in the 'Language Learning in Scotland: A 1 + 2 Approach' report. To ensure you are viewing the most up-to-date pages on our website, please refresh the page by pressing the CONTROL and F5 key simultaneously.


New future for the Auld Alliance

16 December 2013 (The Scottish Government)

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop today visited a school near Paris to see the benefits of partnership between France and Scotland in Education.

Ms Hyslop visited École Marbeau, le Plessis-Trévise, which is twinned with St Kenneth’s RC Primary School in Lochgelly, Fife, to see first- hand the teaching of language, ICT and Science, Technology and Maths related activity.

She met with pupils from the school and read with them from Asterix Chez les Pictes, in which the French cartoon hero visits Scotland.


Related Links

Hyslop's tale helps the French connection (The Herald, 17 December 2013)

Academic warns of muddled language strategy

26 November 2013 (The Herald)

A leading academic has issued a warning over the Scottish Government's "muddled" strategy to increase language learning in primary schools.

Dr Dan Tierney, a reader in languages at Strathclyde University, believes the plan is currently unworkable because it lacks national continuity.

The warning comes two years after the Government announced proposals to teach all primary pupils at least two modern languages in addition to their mother tongue - known as the 1+2 model.
Since then, the Languages Working Group has recommended 35 improvements, including better training for teachers and greater support for pupils in the classroom.

Languages identified for primary schools under the plan include Arabic, Chinese, French, Gaelic, German, Italian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish and Urdu.

However, Mr Tierney argues that, unless the Scottish Government prioritises some of these, pupils will arrive at secondary school with a wide variety of different experiences.


Related Links

Greater worries than muddled language strategy (The Herald, Letters, 28 November 2013)

Modern Foreign Languages - New initiative gets chorus of approval

22 November 2013 (TESS)

1+2 boosts enthusiasm and employability, conference hears

Primary children taking part in a pilot of Scotland’s ambitious national languages initiative have made rapid progress, and secondary students on the scheme have found a new enthusiasm for languages, a conference has heard.

The Scottish government is also likely to match, for another two years, the £4 million already given to local authorities to implement the scheme, it has emerged.

Under the approach known as 1+2, all primary schools should by 2020 offer a language other than English from P1 and another by P5. The scheme also demands that progress should not stall after children move up to secondary school.

Staff in primaries piloting the 1+2 initiative have shown greater confidence and commitment to languages, while parents have been very supportive, Education Scotland inspector and modern languages national specialist Fiona Pate told delegates at an event in Stirling last week.


Related Links

Will 1+2 prove to be more than the sum of its parts? (TESS, 21 November 2013)

Dr Allan blog – The National Language Conference in Stirling

18 November 2013 (Engage for Education blog)

The National Language Conference, held in Stirling, offered a valuable opportunity to harness the expertise and experience of education experts to drive forward our work to ensure that every child in Scotland has the opportunity to learn two languages in addition to their own mother tongue by 2020.

I am fully aware of how ambitious this target is, but I am confident we can and will deliver it. To ensure the nation’s prosperity, it is essential that young people are attracted to learning modern languages, which will help them develop a truly international outlook and, equip them with the skills needed in the new Europe and in the 21st centrury global marketplace.


'Auld Alliance' rekindled as Scotland and France agree to promote learning

3 October 2013 (Newsnet Scotland)

Scotland and France will forge greater education links, encouraging more teacher and pupil exchanges as well as sharing ideas and best practice after First Minister Alex Salmond signed a statement of intent with the French Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

The agreement will see the two countries draw up an action plan for the two education systems to share ideas in curriculum and education reform, languages and intercultural learning, ICT support for learning, inspection and the teaching of science and mathematics.


Related Links

Pictures of the signing of the statement (Scottish Government Flickr site, 3 October 2013)

Salmond says 'Mon Emie' to French friendship (TES, 11 October 2013)

Foreign Language Learning in Primary Schools Inquiry

23 September 2013 (Scottish Government)

The European and External Relations Committee conducted an inquiry into foreign language learning in primary schools during 2012–2013, and published a report of its findings and recommendations in June 2013. The Scottish Government responded to the Committee’s report on 30 July 2013. The response sets out the Scottish Government’s position on each of the Committee’s recommendations (see Annexe A of the 19 September 2013 meeting papers).

The Scottish Government has indicated that it will update the Committee three times a year on its new languages policy and its use of the 1 + 2 languages model, which was scrutinised in the inquiry. This will allow the Committee to monitor the policy and the Committee’s recommendations, and the Committee may wish to carry out further work following these reports once the policy has had sufficient time to become established. These updates will be published on the Committee’s website so that those interested in the inquiry can follow this process.

See the meeting papers and official report from the EERC meeting on 19 September.

Full background information to the Inquiry and related documentation can also be found on the 'A 1+2 Approach to Language Learning' webpages on the SCILT website.


Related Links

A 1+2 Approach to Language Learning (SCILT website)

Scots students in Europe

16 September 2013 (Scottish Government)

Scotland only UK country to offer support for study in EU.  Up to 500 Scots studying at five European universities will be able to apply for financial support in a pilot that marks the first time any UK students have been offered help with European study.

Scots enrolled at Scottish universities already benefit from the best package of support in the UK, including free tuition fees, Education Secretary Michael Russell said this shows how decisions taken in Scotland benefit Scots.

Now those who choose eligible courses at the University of Southern Denmark, Malmo University in Sweden, Rhein Waal University in Germany, and the universities of Groningen and Maastricht in the Netherlands can have their fees paid by the country they study in and apply for the same package of bursaries and loans as those studying in Scotland.


Related Links

Europe study grants for Scottish students unveiled (The Scotsman, 16 September 2013)

NUS Scotland welcomes new support funds for study abroad students (NUS Scotland, 16 September 2013)

Call to set aside cash for school language skills

6 September 2013 (The Herald)

Plans to expand foreign language teaching in Scotland face being undermined by the lack of overseas assistants in the classroom, it has been claimed.

The warning follows figures that show a lack of progress in boosting the numbers of native language speaking staff in schools.  Now the British Funding Council has called for funding for the assistants to be ring-fenced in an attempt to improve the uptake. Councils have employed only 70 foreign language assistants for the 2013/14 school year despite a campaign to increase their use.

Before the onset of council cuts, Scottish schools employed hundreds of the assistants - native speaking staff who work to bring language learning alive, as well as fine-tuning comprehension and pronunciation.

The foreign language assistant programme, run by British Council Scotland, is funded by the Scottish Government, but the money is no longer specifically set aside and most councils have decided to use funding elsewhere.


1+2 Clarification and Key Messages

26 August 2013 (SCILT/Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has identified the key messages from the 'Language Learning in Scotland: A 1+2 approach' report to help local authorities and schools identify priorities and plan their strategic approach to 1+2. This can now be accessed on the 1+2 section of our website, alongside the ‘Supporting self-evaluation and planning for improvement’ audit tool Education Scotland also developed to help Local Authorities identify their priorities and next steps for taking forward the recommendations.


Committee calls for local authorities to teach one foreign language from primary through to secondary school

21 June 2013 (Scottish Parliament)

Local authorities should ensure one language is taught across primary schools and into secondary schools according to a report published today (Friday 21 June) by the European and External Relations Committee.

The report endorses the goal of teaching primary school children two languages in addition to their mother tongue. However, the Committee has highlighted the need for a locally relevant language selected for continuity from primary to secondary school. The Committee also calls for children with Additional Support Needs to be adequately provided for.


Related Links

Scottish schools' language funding 'hard to assess' (BBC News, 21 June 2013)

Concern over cost of school languages (The Herald, 21 June 2013)

MSPs in dark over cost of more language lessons (The Scotsman, 21 June 2013)

More Scots must learn foreign languages (Evening Times, 21 June 2013)

A word on primary languages

7 June 2013 (TESS)

It was ironic that in an edition where the main news article ("CfE reforms have caused workload hike, survey finds") was about the burden on primary teachers a linguistics professor should call for them to face the "challenge" of an early start in teaching languages (Interview: Antonella Sorace).

The research evidence does not support that. Ms Sorace's expertise lies in bilingualism and I would be delighted if we were able to surround P1s with, say, French spoken by fluent speakers, as happened in Walker Road Primary in Aberdeen. But that is not what the government is proposing.


Related Links

Antonella Sorace interview (TESS, 24 May 2013)

Workload worries over CfE (TESS, 24 May 2013)

St Elizabeth’s Spanish Day celebrates Government’s 1+2 Approach to Languages Pilot

6 June 2013 (Engage for Education)

St Elizabeth’s held a Spanish Day to celebrate their involvement in the Scottish Government’s 1+2 Approach to Languages Pilot. Every class was timetabled to participate in a variety of activities which were either led by their teacher or by visitors supporting the day.


Languages expert puts the onus on English grammar

17 May 2013 (TESS)

Teachers must help children grasp the basics of English before true success with Scotland's ambitious foreign language targets can be achieved, a major event on language teaching has heard.

The message came from one of Europe's leading figures in language learning, who underlined that all teachers must take responsibility for English.

His comments were timely, as Scotland presses ahead with the 1+2 policy - the idea that young Scots should routinely learn two languages in addition to English, and at least one from P1.


Related Links

Two foreign languages by age 12? Watch video highlights of the European + External Relations Committee Languages Enquiry conference.

Scottish Government plans: teaching of two languages in primary school (ECML, 14 May 2013)

Teaching one plus two languages for under 12s is examined

10 May 2013 (Scottish Parliament)

Teaching primary children two languages in addition to their mother tongue will be examined as the topic of debate in the Scottish Parliament today (Friday 10 May) as part of an inquiry by the European and External Relations Committee. Teachers, policy makers and European organisations are coming together to discuss the findings so far of the Committee’s languages inquiry and look together at the issues before the Committee publishes its report.


Language learning revisited

10 May 2013 (TESS)

In my article "Learning new languages is now a primary concern" (26 April), a particular emphasis was underplayed in the editing of the piece.


Related Links

Learning new languages is now a primary concern (TESS, 26 April 2013)

Why are modern languages failing to grip the younger generation?

30 April 2013 (BBC Radio Scotland)

Listen to today's episode of 'Call Kaye' where callers are invited to discuss the declining numbers of Scottish pupils taking language learning to Standard Grade and Higher levels.  Callers are asked what should be done to address the situation, or whether language learning is actually necessary in today's society.

The programme is available on the BBC iPlayer until Monday 6 May 2013.  Listen to this item from 38.38 minutes into the broadcast.


Learning new languages is now a primary concern

26 April 2013 (TESS)

The Languages Working Group should listen to those who urge caution if it is to avoid repeating mistakes.

In 2012, the Languages Working Group issued its report on the future of languages, Language Learning in Scotland: a 1+2 approach. While the government's wish to improve language skills is welcome, there is a danger that this report fails to address some key issues.


Languages plan 'presents challenge'

18 April 2013 (icScotland)

Plans to teach two foreign languages to primary school pupils will present significant challenges for schools, a Scottish Government minister has said. But Alasdair Allan, the Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages, said the "bold" policy can be achieved.

The Scottish Government wants children to learn two foreign languages in primary school, with the plans to be rolled out over two parliaments. The model would see children start learning their first foreign language in primary one, followed by a second one in primary five.

Mr Allan said: "Delivering additional languages from primary one is a bold and ambitious objective. There will be significant challenges for schools but it can be done and some schools are already providing such early access to language learning. As a Government we certainly recognise an earlier start to language learning may be something that raises challenges in terms of schools' capacity to deliver. Some teachers may not have language training, others may wish to update those skills."


Related Links

Claim language teaching damaged by English TV shows (The Herald, 19 April 2013) - Plans to improve foreign language teaching in Scotland are being hampered because most television programmes watched by children are in English, according to a Government minister.
Alasdair Allan, Scotland's Minister for Learning, made the claim as he gave evidence to MSPs on the SNP's language strategy for primary school pupils.

Hugh Reilly: TV hinders foreign tongues? Crazy talk (The Scotsman, 23 April 2013)

New consultation on Glasgow's Gaelic language plans launched

16 April 2013 (STV News)

Glasgow City Council put its draft Gaelic Language Plan out for public consultation on Tuesday, as the popularity of the language continues to grow.

The plan, which covers 2013 through to 2017, is the council's second and aims to build on earlier achievements to bring Gaelic to those who wish to learn it.


Foreign language teaching to be subject of debate at Holyrood

29 March 2013 (Scottish Parliament)

The teaching of foreign language learning in Scottish primary schools will be the focus for a conference taking place at the Scottish Parliament in May. The European & External Relations Committee is holding the event as part of its inquiry into the Scottish Government’s recent proposal to increase foreign language learning in primary schools. It will bring together parliamentarians and those involved in language learning to discuss the key findings of the committee’s inquiry to date.

Open to all with an interest in language education, whether as a parent, teacher or policy developer, the conference takes place on the morning of Friday 10 May 2013 at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.

Anyone wishing to attend the event should contact the Parliament by 19 April to secure a space.


Je ne sais quoi

11 March 2013 (Holyrood)

Can Scottish school children, most of whom finish their education without knowing a second language, pick up a third by the time they leave primary school? That’s the ambition expressed in the Scottish Government’s ’1+2′ policy, first in its 2011 election manifesto and last year in a report authored by a commission of academics and educationalists. The plan is to introduce a first modern language at P1, and a second by P6. The European and External Relations Committee of the Scottish Parliament has been taking evidence on the proposals since the turn of the year, and the consensus so far is that while the ’1+2′ is a laudable ideal, the execution will pose a significant challenge.


Related Links

At very least, decline in teaching of modern languages must be reversed (The Herald, 12 March 2013)

Think again on languages plan (The Herald, 9 March 2013)

EIS warns over foreign languages (The Herald, 8 March 2013)

1+2 Case Study published on SCILT website

8 March 2013 (SCILT)

The first of our case studies showcasing how schools across Scotland are responding to the recommendations in 'Language Learning in Scotland: A 1 + 2 Approach' has been published on our website. Westercraigs Nursery in Glasgow celebrates the range of languages spoken by the children at home as well as offering specific learning experiences in French, Italian and Gaelic. Find out more about how the nursery promotes the importance and value of learning languages to the children and their families.


Funding for language policy a 'drop in the ocean'

7 March 2013 (BBC Democracy Live)

Teaching unions told the European and External Affairs Committee that £4m to fund the Scottish government's 1+2 language policy would be a "drop in the ocean".

The policy describes a framework for language learning in Scotland based on the mother tongue + 2 additional languages model recommended by the European Union and adopted in many countries in Europe and beyond.

The money earmarked by the Scottish government is £120k for the pilot projects, and £4m for after the pilots in 2013-14.


Related Links

Access related papers from the European and External Affairs Committee inquiry into foreign language learning in the primary school from the Scottish Parliament website.

EIS warns over foreign languages (The Herald, 8 March 2013)

Languages in schools cost a ‘drop in the ocean’ (The Scotsman, 8 March 2013)

Letters on the Government’s 1+2 policy in the Herald

22 February 2013 (The Herald)

I refer to your article about the teaching of modern languages in Scottish schools ("Languages class target unachievable", The Herald, February 21).  The debate has gone on for some time now as to what is the best method to teach children modern languages and at what age to start. Why is it that the relevant people do not look at other European countries and see how they do it?


Related Links

Scottish Government’s strategy for language teaching is unworkable (The Herald, letters, 26 February 2013)

Language class targets unclear (The Herald, letters, 27 February 2013)

Languages class target unachievable

21 February 2013 (The Herald)

Parents have criticised the Scottish Government's ambitious strategy of increasing language learning in Scottish schools, branding it unachievable.  Council officials have also cast doubt on the policy, arguing current funding for the costly initiative is insufficient. The warnings come two years after the Government announced plans to teach all primary pupils at least two modern languages in addition to their mother tongue – known as the 1+2 model.


Languages face ‘extinction’ in Scots colleges

21 February 2013 (The Scotsman)

Efforts to promote languages in Scotland’s schools are likely to fail due to a lack of qualified teachers, with the study of foreign tongues now “almost extinct” in the country’s colleges, it has been warned.

The Scottish Government hopes to introduce a “1+2” model in primary schools, with pupils expected to learn two languages, alongside English. But in its submission to a Scottish Parliament inquiry into the plans, the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES) said 
that while the idea was well-intentioned, it was likely to be hamstrung by a shortage of teachers with the necessary skills.


Inquiry on learning foreign languages in primary schools - call for views - last chance!

21 February 2013 (Scottish Parliament)

At its meeting on 20 September 2012 the European and External Relations Committee agreed to conduct an inquiry into the Scottish Government’s recent proposal to increase foreign language learning in primary schools.

The Scottish Government proposes to enable all young people to learn two languages, in addition to their mother tongue, whilst at primary school. A Scottish Government Working Group recommended that children should learn a second language from Primary 1 and that learning of a third language should start no later than Primary 5. The Government wants this to happen within the next decade and is running pilot schemes in a series of Scottish primary schools.

The deadline for submitting views on the proposal is 22 February 2013. For more information and details of how to do this, visit the Scottish Parliament website.


Boost for Gaelic

20 February 2013 (Scottish Government)

Children learning Gaelic are set to benefit from new projects to help their studies.
Speaking at a summit on Gaelic Medium Education in Edinburgh today, Minister for Scotland’s Languages Alasdair Allan said six Gaelic education projects will share £90,000.
These projects include:

  • summer schools in Gaelic communities for trainee teachers 
  • new research on how best to support pupils with additional needs 
  • the development of prelim exam papers in Gaelic


New Glasgow Gaelic school

7 February 2013 (Scottish Government)

The Scottish Government is investing £800,000 in a new Gaelic school for Glasgow, it was announced today. The Gaelic Medium Education primary school will be part of the Glendale Campus in Pollokshields.


Related Links

Glasgow's second Gaelic school to open in Pollokshields area (BBC News, 7 February 2013)

New Gaelic school to open in Glasgow (The Herald, 8 February 2013) 

Eric Liddell China Saltire Scholarships

6 February 2013 (Scottish Government)

80 students will receive a £5,000 scholarship to strengthen links between China and Scotland in celebration of one of Scotland’s greatest ever Olympians.

The Eric Liddell China Saltire Scholarships will be available to Chinese students applying for a masters degree at the University of Edinburgh, where Eric Liddell studied. They will also be available to undergraduate students at the University of Edinburgh studying for a year abroad in China.

The scholarships will help to build on the existing economic and educational links between Scotland and China.


Language strategy warning

24 January 2013 (The Herald)

A leading language expert has issued a warning over the Scottish Government's strategy of increasing language learning in primary schools.  Dr Dan Tierney, a reader in languages at Strathclyde University, said the plan was welcome, but lacked coherency.


‘Dreich’ tops poll as nation’s favourite Scots word

23 January 2013 (Scottish Government)

Ahead of Burns Night on 25th January, a new poll has revealed ‘dreich’ as Scotland’s favourite word in the Scots language. The You Gov survey* asked adults across the country to select their number one Scots word from a list of options including some of Robert Burns’ own favourites. With 23 per cent of the public vote, and perhaps proving Scotland's love for talking about the weather, the word ‘dreich’ meaning ‘wet’, ‘cold’ and ‘gloomy’ trumped other classics such as ‘glaikit’ (20%), ‘blether’ (12%) and ‘crabbit’ (11%).


Add more money to make 1+2 policy work, MSPs told

18 January 2013 (TESS)

The Scottish government's ambition for children to start studying two foreign languages in primary is being hampered by lack of funding, MSPs heard last week.

The government has set aside £4 million for language teaching in schools, pending agreement of the 2013-14 budget.

The money is to be targeted at implementation of recommendations by the government's languages working group that all pupils start learning a second language in P1 and pick up a third one no later than P5.

But two or three times that amount would be needed if the initiative was to be "well planned" and "thought through", according to the working group's funding estimates, said Tim Simons, head of the Scottish government's curriculum unit.


Languages drive is crucial for Scotland's future, MSPs told

10 January 2013 (STV News)

Children as young as nine will be taught three languages amid rising immigration, tourism and increasing demand for workers that speak more than just English, MSPs have heard.

The Scottish Government has set aside £4m for a pilot project to ensure Scotland's economy does not suffer as a result of its citizens' relatively poor language skills.


£750,000 help Scots study in mainland Europe

9 January 2013 (The Herald)

Scottish students studying in mainland Europe will be eligible for a full package of financial support for the first time under a £750,000 pilot scheme.
Under the initiative, the Scottish Government will offer 250 students bursary payments of up to £1750 and a student loan of up to £5500.

Michael Russell, the Education Secretary, said officials would assess the demand for funding to ensure all Scottish students studying in the EU in future years would benefit. He said: "I want to ensure our young people have the opportunity to reap the cultural and career benefits of living and studying abroad.”


Related Links

Support for Scottish students in Europe (Scottish Parliament, 9 January 2013)

Language Learning in Scotland: a 1 + 2 Approach

14 December 2012 (Teaching Scotland blog)

Tom Hamilton, Director of Education and Professional Learning at GTCS, talks about the teaching of languages report.


Primary adds success by teaching 1+5

14 December 2012 (TESS)

The prospect of teaching 1+2 languages from P1 is a daunting one for many in the primary sector.

But today, the Scottish Parliament's European and External Relations Committee will launch an inquiry into the teaching of languages in primary - at a school where 1+5 is the norm.

At Dalmarnock Primary, in the east end of Glasgow, pupils have access to French, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Greek, in addition to their home language of English.


Inquiry into language teaching

14 December 2012 (BBC News)

A Holyrood committee has launched an inquiry into language teaching in Scottish primary schools.
It follows research suggesting Scotland lags behind many other countries in linguistic skills.


Related Links

Scottish Parliament launches inquiry into foreign language learning (Language Rich blog, 17 December 2012)

China plan paying off

4 December 2012 (Scottish Government)

Strengthening Scotland’s relationship with China has generated an additional estimated £220 million for the economy.  Since the publication of the Scottish Government’s first China Plan in 2006, Scottish exports to the world’s second largest economy have risen sharply and are now worth an estimated total of £1.295 billion in 2007-2010, compared to £1.075 billion between 2003-2006.

It comes as a new five year strategy for Scotland’s engagement with China is launched by External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop, on the first anniversary of the arrival of the Giant Pandas at Edinburgh Zoo.


Improving language opportunities for Scotland’s young people

27 November 2012 (Engage for Education)

Sarah Breslin, Director of SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages at the University of Strathclyde, talks about the importance of the Scottish Government’s 1+2 languages policy.


Foreign language skills 'cost Scottish businesses'

27 November 2012 (BBC News)

A widespread lack of language skills could be damaging Scotland's ability to trade abroad, a report has suggested.  The British Council study warned there was a tendency among Scottish firms to limit their export markets to English-speaking countries.


Related Links

Fears raised for overseas trade as young Scots shy away from studying foreign languages (The Scotsman, 27 November 2012)
A crisis in foreign language teaching across Scottish education is damaging overseas trade, the British Council warns today.

Analysis: Speaking the lingo goes to prove that it’s not only travel that broadens the mind (The Scotsman, 27 November 2012)

Leaders: Greater language skills key to breaking trade barriers (The Scotsman, 27 November 2012)

Crisis in study of languages a risk to trade (The Herald, 27 November 2012)
A lack of foreign language skills is limiting the ability of Scottish companies to tap into lucrative overseas export markets, according to a new report.

Kaye asks why Scots are so bad at learning foreign languages (Call Kaye, BBC Radio Scotland, 27 November 2012) - programme available until 3 December 2012.

Trade danger of language teaching cuts (Scottish Daily Express, 27 November 2012)

Language cuts 'will hit Scottish economy' (Morning Star, 27 November 2012)

Language Rich Europe - Scotland (British Council, 2012)

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.


Publication of Scottish Government Response to the Languages Report

20 November 2012 (Scottish Government)

Scottish Ministers have welcomed the Language Learning in Scotland: A 1+2 Approach report and its 35 recommendations, either in full or in part, while recognising that taking these forward will require discussion, collaboration and partnership with local authorities, schools, parents and other key stakeholders. 


Related Links

More information on Language Learning in Scotland: A 1+2 Approach

Feature: Chinese learning flourishes in Scotland

13 November 2012 (Xinhuanet)

Gleneagles, Britain, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- It used to be the place where the G8 summit was held in July 2005, and on Monday another event, dubbed G50, was staged at the same venue.
But this time the participants are 50 high school students from across Scotland who were exchanging their joys and hardships in learning the Chinese language.


Saltire scholarships for Scots

12 November 2012 (Scottish Government)

The first government funded projects giving Scottish students overseas study opportunities have been announced by Education Secretary Michael Russell.
The projects at 10 universities, which will receive a share of £115,000, are designed to give students the chance to live and learn overseas as part of their studies and include opportunities in India, China, Canada, the United States and Europe.


New benchmarking tool being developed for CfE senior phase

8 November 2012 (Engage for Education)

The Scottish Government and its partners are developing a new benchmarking tool to help local authorities and secondary schools to analyse, compare and improve the performance of pupils in the senior phase of Curriculum for Excellence. The new tool will be available from August 2014 onwards.


Interview: Sarah Breslin

2 November 2012 (TESS)

The director of SCILT, Scotland's National Centre for Languages based at the University of Strathclyde, talks about the 1+2 policy, the benefits of CfE and how to persuade pupils to stick with languages.


Related Links

A reader's response to the TESS Interview: Sarah Breslin (2 November)

"This has been a most interesting article to read. Many thanks to Sarah for all her hard work and support of the MFL teachers in Scotland. We are lucky to have such a fantastic professional with great personality. The 1+2 is an ambitious but not impossible goal to achieve - if all stakeholders are willing to work together for the benefit of generations to come."  (rosered27, TES Letters, 9 November 2012)

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”.


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