Latest News

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


Mind Games: Cracking Code in Maths and Languages

20 January 2022 (SCILT)

Two mind-bending workshops are scheduled for in-service and student teachers during Languages Week Scotland 2022. 

We are aware that Mathematics underpins all STEM subjects, but have you ever thought there are connections between learning mathematics and learning a language?

Join mathematicians and linguists from the University of Edinburgh to explore the topic further.

During the interactive workshops you will have a go at some puzzles and activities at the interface between Mathematics and Linguistics. Together we will explore how language works and where Maths comes into play.

You will have a chance to discuss with Mathematicians and Linguists about similarities between their subjects. You will takeaway practical ideas for your classroom to show how these different disciplines can be interconnected.

The activities we are going to use are mainly aimed at children older than 10 years. However, the approach can be applied to all year groups.

Attendance is free of charge and the event will be hosted online on Zoom.

More information and registration for the appropriate workshop via the links below:

Learning a language gives the study of STEM a little 'je ne sais quoi'

7 May 2021 (British Science Association)

The study of foreign languages may not seem closely tied to STEM, but in fact they have a strong relationship. As well as improving cognitive skills that help in STEM study, speaking other languages opens up lines of communication with scientists all around the world, essential for international scientific progress.


Lefèvre Trust school grants for French study visits

13 September 2018 (British Council)

The British Council is working in partnership with the Lefèvre Trust to offer a limited number of grants to Scottish secondary schools to facilitate reciprocal visits to partner schools in France. The opportunity marks the final round of Lefèvre funding and recognises the recently re-signed Memorandum of Understanding between Scotland and France. 

Schools interested in applying should have an existing link to France through a partnership or exchange. Projects with a STEM focus, and from schools in underprivileged areas, are encouraged.

A French study visit is the ideal way to instil a love of the French language in learners, give them exposure to authentic language usage and enable them to experience French culture first-hand. Pupils can also benefit from:

  • raised levels of language proficiency in preparation for exams
  • improved confidence in speaking French by practising with peers at the partner school
  • increased motivation in continuing to learn French by exchanging language and culture in an authentic environment
  • strengthened partnership and development of new cross-curricular projects for the whole school.

Visit the British Council website for more information and apply by 19 November 2018.


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.


Science plus arts — the best of both worlds

26 September 2017 (Times)

The STEM revolution sweeping schools has boosted the popularity of science subjects at university. However, what if scientifically gifted teens are not ready to give up history, English and the arts? Universities are increasingly offering broader-based degrees based on US-style liberal arts courses. These hybrid STEAM (STEM plus arts) degrees enable students to combine a wide range of humanities, social sciences and natural sciences courses, according to what they are interested in. They also provide the opportunity to learn a language and study abroad for a year.

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Why Foreign Language is essential to the STEM Fields

3 July 2016 (LinkedIn Pulse)

Being a French teacher by day and an Experimental Vehicle Team moderator by night, or at least during the other hours when I am not ensconced in all things French, has given me some unique insights into the value foreign language and STEM proficiency.

Years ago when the US Department of Education began talking about the importance of STEM in the classroom it was due, in a large part, to a lack of students pursuing STEM degrees and careers after high school, as well as a serious lack of certified educators who could adequately teach them. There is still a significant shortage of American students going into the STEM fields today, despite its prevalence in everything from education journals to Pinterest. While some may see the focus on STEM as merely another educational fad, there is a real need for candidates to fill this fast growing and under employed job niche in today’s business world, especially if we want to stay competitive in the global economy.

For one week this summer I saw first-hand the importance of foreign languages in the STEM fields as I, along with my students and fellow moderator, Mark, spent our days in a paddock and race track in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London England.


STEM is missing an important subject: languages

19 April 2016 (Transparent Language)

US policymakers and administrators have long touted better STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and math) as a way to bridge achievement gaps and spark innovation.

The pressure is coming all the way from the top; the Obama administration aims to increase the number of students receiving undergraduate degrees in STEM fields by 1 million over a 10-year period, claiming “science and innovation are key components of a strong American economy and that increasing opportunities for young Americans to gain STEM skills can both create jobs and enhance our national competitiveness.” We don’t disagree.

But STEM should not be promoted at the expense of other subjects, particularly foreign languages.

Language itself is already the subject of much STEM research. The federal government has funded research projects in computational linguistics, second language acquisition, sociolinguistics, and translation, among other fields. These projects have been funded by numerous STEM organizations, from the National Science Foundation to the National Institutes of Health. This research has brought us revolutionary new developments in machine translation and localization, both of which are crucial in making research, news, media, and beyond accessible worldwide. Innovative technologies have also significantly improved the way languages are taught and learned, allowing students to learn languages faster and retain them longer.

None of this seems entirely essential until you understand how much America’s STEM industries depend on language.


Stem and languages specialists 'more likely to go to top universities'

29 March 2016 (TES)

A level students focusing on science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) subjects or languages are more likely to go to Russell Group institutions, according to research.

And the study finds that students who specialised in "applied" or "expressive" subjects – such as accounting, law, music and performing arts – were more likely to go on to study at less prestigious newer universities.


Glasgow Science Festival 2015 - Energy for a sustainable world

26 May 2015 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française de Glasgow is delighted to take part once again in the Glasgow Science Festival in June and to present a special bilingual exhibition in French/English entitled Energy for a sustainable world / Energies pour un monde durable.

We will also be running educational workshops for secondary school pupils and their teachers who visit the exhibition (dates are 4, 5, and 8-12 June).

Among the themes covered by this interactive exhibition are the relationship between energy and development, the scarcity of some resources, and the impact on climate change that our ever increasing energy needs have.

Thanks to some playful elements, visitors to the exhibition will be made aware of issues relating to energy access, its link to economic and social development, and environmental issues. The exhibition contains description of such varied topics as:

  • What is energy? 
  • Sources and resources 
  • Geopolitics and energy access 
  • Research and innovation 
  • Energy storage 
  • Solar power

This exhibition fits in with the Curriculum for excellence (Science & French) and is suitable mostly for S1-S4 pupils, although S5 & S6 can also attend.

The exhibition will be accompanied by fun and engaging experiments as well as a French/English questionnaire so that pupils can learn more about the exhibition and the topics covered.

Visit the Alliance Française website for more information and to book your school visit.  Places are limited so don't delay!


Languages and STEM skills, opening doors!

31 July 2014 (Education Scotland's Learning Blog)

SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, is working with businesses and schools in Scotland to promote languages as a key skill for employment.

Operating effectively in a global economy relies on many skills and includes the right language skills. People who can communicate, at least conversationally, can make all the difference in the conduct of business, consolidating relationships with existing suppliers and customers and opening the way to new overseas contacts. When combined with STEM skills, the career opportunities in a vast array of sectors widens.


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