Latest News

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


Teach children Polish and Arabic to reflect ‘modern Britain’, schools minister says

18 October 2021 (iNews)

The teaching of foreign languages in schools should be more reflective of “modern Britain”, with greater numbers of pupils learning languages such as Arabic and Polish, the schools minister has said.

Robin Walker said he wanted to expand the “breadth” of languages being offered in England’s schools.

Mr Walker, who was appointed schools minister in last month’s reshuffle, made the comments after a visit to Cardinal Hume Catholic School in Gateshead – one of the “hubs” which the Government is using to roll out new methods for teaching languages.

He told i England had an opportunity to “drive up the capability of people to engage with language teaching”, and that there was scope for teaching more languages beyond the traditional big three of French, Spanish and German.

“One of the things we should be looking at is that actually the UK has a lot of people who speak multiple languages,” Mr Walker said.

“It was interesting looking at the figures from the language school we visited… not only were they entering lots of students in French and Spanish, but they were also entering smaller numbers in Polish, in Arabic, in GCSEs in home second languages.

“One of the things I’m interested in exploring is how we can make modern foreign languages reflect modern Britain a little bit more, and reflect the breadth of languages that we have in our communities, but also our aspirations around the world.”


New project alert! Polish through Art

30 September 2021 (SCILT / Bilingualism Matters)

Primary teachers, would you like to be involved in an exciting and innovative project focusing on language learning (Polish) through Art? This project, in partnership with Bilingualism Matters, aims to explore and develop skills in applying multicultural and multilingual approaches to (Polish) language teaching in the primary school. We are looking to recruit primary teachers working in mainstream schools and teachers working in the Polish complementary schools.

The project will run over a 5-month period and will feature 4 online workshops/sessions scheduled to take place on:

  • Wed 27 Oct 15.30-17.30 
  • Wed 3  Nov 15.30-17.30 
  • Wed 17 Nov 15.30-17.30
  • Wed 19 Jan 15.30-17.30

All workshops will be delivered on MS Teams and will be a blend of professional learning and practical activities. 

You will work in pairs or small groups with colleagues in the mainstream/complementary schools and will have the chance to plan and share knowledge with each other. There will be the opportunity to contribute to SCILT’s knowledge exchange event taking place in February where you will be able to share your experience from participating in the project with colleagues from across the country. To showcase the pupil’s art, an online gallery will be created in which you and your pupils will have the opportunity to contribute.

If you would like to participate in this new project, please register via the link below. By registering you are committing to attending all 4 workshops.


Edinburgh Art Festival: Anti-Brexit project sees Auld Lang Syne sung in Gaelic and EU languages

26 July 2021 (The Telegraph)

Concerns have been raised about the politicisation of Edinburgh's arts festivals after an anti-Brexit exhibit was set up with financial backing from the SNP Government.

Auld Lang Syne is to be sung in Gaelic and languages from all 27 EU member states as part of an installation at this year’s Edinburgh Art Festival, which opens on Thursday, in what organisers say is an attempt to “underscore the political concerns” about the UK’s departure.

A choir of recorded voices from across the continent will sing the traditional New Year’s anthem, written by Robert Burns, in an exhibition called ‘Sound of the Union’.


Ten steps to Polish - handbook published

8 June 2021 (SCILT)

The Ten Steps to L3 Polish handbook has been published on our website.

Based on the theme of storytelling and travel, this resource offers a rich language and cultural learning experience for teachers introducing Polish as an L3. The resource contains a framework of progression for 10 lessons, links to resources to accompany each lesson and embedded audio files to support pronunciation.

This resource has been developed in partnership with the Polish Educational and Social Society in Glasgow and the Polish Consulate in Edinburgh.

Visit the Primary Resources page of our website.  The handbook is under the Polish heading.

Posted in: Primary, Polish

Polish classes for primary teachers – registration deadline approaching

3 June 2021 (Polish Social and Educational Society in Glasgow / Polish Consulate / SCILT)

SCILT has been working, in collaboration with the Polish Social and Educational Society in Glasgow, and supported by the Polish Consulate in Edinburgh, to produce the much-anticipated resource for primary teachers to support the teaching of L3 Polish in the classroom. We are delighted to announce that this resource will soon be launched and made available to primary teachers ahead of session 21/22. This interactive handbook has been designed for teachers, by teachers and is supported by online classes where primary practitioners can build their confidence for teaching Polish. 

Primary teachers who are interested can register by 11 June 2021 for a block of free online Polish language lessons, led by a native Polish speaker and an experienced primary practitioner. These online classes:

  • begin on Tuesday 31st August
  • will take place on MS Teams
  • will be an hour in length, once a week, for 8 weeks
  • take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays – choose the day that suits you best
  • support Ten Steps to L3 Polish and aim to give the class teacher the confidence to lead exciting Polish lessons in school

This L3 programme has been developed to provide a rich language and cultural learning experience, suitable for children from P5-P7.

Chris Sagan, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Polish Social and Educational Society in Glasgow, has led the programme from its infancy and looks forward to seeing the resource being used in classrooms across the country. He states, “Since 1989 when Poland was released from the grip of Soviet Russia, the country has grown and developed exponentially so that today Poland is one of the new tiger economies of Europe. Poland now takes her place as an equal among the Nations of Europe.

“It is fitting then that we are going to now introduce to classrooms in Scotland an interactive, web-based handbook to assist teachers who choose to teach Polish as an L3 language. The Ten Steps to L3 Polish handbook has been designed to introduce learners and teachers to the customs, culture and traditions of Poland while learning the basics of the language.

“In addition to the handbook, free language lessons for teachers will be offered to provide support and encouragement. We are eager to welcome Scotland’s teachers to both the handbook and lessons and look forward to hearing enthusiastic Polish voices in classrooms across the country.”

These classes are aimed at teachers planning to introduce Polish as an L3. Places are limited and offered on a first-come first-served basis. 

For more information about Ten Steps to L3 Polish and/or language classes, please contact

Wszystkiego najlepszego.


Related Files

Around the World resources

8 April 2020 (British Council)

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

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


Wee Write 2020

14 February 2020 (Aye Write, Wee Write)

As part of Glasgow's wider Aye Write annual book festival, Wee Write is specifically aimed at children and young people.

Award winning authors, Wee Write favourites and brand new faces will bring books alive at The Mitchell Library and inspire a lifelong love of reading in children. All schools are able to book sessions at the event with Glasgow schools receiving a discounted admission. This year's Wee Write event for schools runs from 2 - 6 March, with a family day also being held on Saturday 7 March.

There are several Scots and Gaelic sessions to be enjoyed and schools can book story sessions at local libraries in a range of foreign languages.

Visit the Wee Write website for more information and booking details.


The Ramshorn and Graveyard Digital Trail - now available!

23 October 2019 (SCILT)

If you find yourself in the Merchant City area of Glasgow why not complete our new 'The Ramshorn and Graveyard' digital trail? Pupils from Glasgow Gaelic School, Holyrood Secondary, Shawlands Academy and St Roch's Secondary worked with SCILT and Global Treasure Apps to create a multilingual trail around the new SCILT and CISS premises. The trail encourages visitors to learn about the history of the area by following clues set by the pupils, and gives people the chance to test their language skills.

The Ramshorn and Graveyard Digital Trail is available to download from Global Treasure Apps in Arabic, English, French, Gaelic, German, Italian, Mandarin, Polish, Spanish and Urdu.

Find Global Treasure Apps on the App store or Google Play


Juvenes Translatores 2018

1 September 2018 (European Commission)

The European Commission has just launched Juvenes Translatores 2018, a translation contest for schools in the European Union. 

Schools wishing to participate must respond by registering electronically on the website between 1 September and 20 October 2018.

Selected schools will be able to enter between two and five students, who must have been born in 2001. Each student can choose to translate from any official EU language into any other official EU language.

Further information, rules and criteria can be found on the Juvenes Translatores website.


Stephen Spender Trust - Polish Spotlight

7 June 2018 (Stephen Spender Trust)

The "Polish Spotlight" is a new strand of the Stephen Spender Prize for 2018, with entries in three categories: 18-and-under, 14-and-under and 10-and-under. You do not have to be fluent in Polish to enter the prize: it is open to all those interested in trying their hand at translation. To enter translate any Polish poem into English.

Resources for teachers to introduce poetry translation as a classroom activity, and suggestions of Polish poems for translation, are available on the Stephen Spender Trust website.

Entries should be submitted by 5 October 2018.


Language resources from Schools Online

29 October 2017 (Schools Online)

Polish your Polish

Grow awareness and understanding of Polish language and culture with our newest resource pack. Activities include fun facts about Poland and learning about culture through illustrated maps. For example, did you know that scientist Marie Curie was born in Poland’s capital, Warsaw? Download now

Fascinated by Arabic language and culture?

Explore the richly diverse world of Arabic language and culture with our resource pack. Created as part of the Arabic Language and Culture Programme, the pack enables students to learn about prominent Arabic inventions and discoveries like the art of calligraphy, and its creative cousin – calligraffiti. Download the pack

Young Europeans Award

23 October 2017 (UK-German Connection)

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

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

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

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

Applications should be submitted by 1 March 2018.

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


Vocab Express League of Champions 2017

21 August 2017 (Vocab Express)

The next League of Champions competition from Vocab Express will be taking place from 28 September to 4 October 2017.

It's a fantastic way to engage students in vocabulary building by challenging them to compete against other schools across the UK and from around the world.

The challenge will feature French, Spanish, German, Greek, Italian, Mandarin, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Urdu, Arabic, Hebrew and Latin competitions.

The challenge is free to all schools subscribing to Vocab Express. In addition, there are 150 free school places available to non-subscribers, each for up to 150 students. Free spaces are still currently available!

Visit the website for more information and to register your school.

Teachers can also sign up for guest access to a free trial of the Vocab Express platform using their school or academic e-mail address.


Robot priest unveiled in Germany to mark 500 years since Reformation

30 May 2017 (The Guardian)

Five hundred years after revolutionary printing presses spread news of Martin Luther’s radical call for church reform across Europe, technology is again challenging religious tradition in the small German town of Wittenberg.

A robot priest that delivers blessings in five languages and beams light from its hands has been unveiled as part of an exhibition to mark the anniversary of the start of the Reformation, a Europe-wide religious, political and cultural upheaval sparked when Luther nailed his 95 theses to a church door in the town.

Half a millennium later, the robot, called BlessU-2, is intended to trigger debate about the future of the church and the potential of artificial intelligence.

The item includes a short video demonstration in German.


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)

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

10 March 2017 (Daily Record)

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

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

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

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

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


Which languages should be taught in schools and why?

29 November 2016 (The Guardian)

The Polish prime minister Beata Szydło has called on Theresa May to introduce Polish classes for children in English schools.

It raises interesting questions about what languages we teach in schools and why. Szydło also called for more support for the 831,000 Poles living in Britain. Introducing the language could help communities feel more integrated.

In the past language choices have been for different reasons. In 2010 the government decided to train 1,000 Mandarin teachers to work in secondary schools in England due to China’s increasing influence on the global economy. Those in favour of the move said the next generation would need to understand Chinese culture and use its language.

Which languages do you think children should learn and why? Should an emphasis be put on how useful that language may be in the future? Or should the decision be made based on the needs of the local community?

Which languages have been most or least helpful to you? Which one did you enjoy learning and why? Did you grow up speaking another language at home? How would you have felt if your fellow pupils had studied it in school? Share your views with us.


Related Links

The importance of Polish lessons in a post-Brexit world (The Guardian, 29 November 2016)

The world's quirkiest phrases

29 September 2016 (BBC)

To celebrate International Translation Day, we asked translators from across the globe to tell us their favourite expressions. Here are 11 of the most surprising.


Vocab Express League of Champions 2016

1 September 2016 (Vocab Express)

Share in the excitement and energy generated by the Vocab Express League of Champions. The championship will run from Wednesday 28 September until Tuesday 4 October 2016. It's a fantastic way to engage students in vocabulary building by challenging them to compete against other schools across the UK and from around the world.

The challenge is free to all schools subscribing to Vocab Express. In addition, there are 150 free school places available to non-subscribers, each for up to 150 students.

There are currently 84 free non-subscriber school places left. Visit the website for more information and to register now!


Ministers consider Polish language exams for Scottish schools

18 August 2016 (The Herald)

Polish could be taught in Scottish schools as part of moves to make EU nationals feel more welcome in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

The Scottish Government said it would consider introducing Polish language qualifications during a debate on the impact of Britain's decision to leave the EU held in Edinburgh.

Education Secretary John Swinney said he would “look very carefully” at giving Polish a place on the curriculum alongside subjects such as French and German - an idea proposed by a member of the audience.


Vocab Express League of Champions 2016

20 June 2016 (Vocab Express)

Create a languages buzz around your school to kick-start the new academic year!

Share in the excitement and energy generated by the Vocab Express League of Champions. The championship will run from Wednesday 28 September until Tuesday 4 October 2016. It's a fantastic way to engage students in vocabulary building by challenging them to compete against other schools across the UK and from around the world.

The challenge will feature French, Spanish, German, Greek, Italian, Mandarin, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Urdu, Arabic, Hebrew and Latin competitions.

The challenge is free to all schools subscribing to Vocab Express. In addition, there are 100 free school places available to non-subscribers.

Visit the League of Champions website to find out more and to register for one of the free school places. 


Police Scotland mobilises first Polish officers

24 May 2016 (The Herald)

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

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

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

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

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

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


New French and Polish resources

19 April 2016 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland is pleased to launch new resources for French and Polish. Both resources include teacher’s notes, activity packs, film clips and sound files.

The French resource is designed as an L2 learning journey, aimed at second level learners and involves Astérix on a journey to Scotland, based on the story ‘Astérix chez les Pictes’

The Polish resource supports an L3 beginners’ language experience and can be used in either primary or secondary as an L3 insert. The language journey here is based on an animated film, based around the scientist Copernicus.

Links to both resources can also be found in the Primary and S1-S3 classroom resource sections of the SCILT website.

Could targeting linguistic talent boost staff diversity?

8 April 2016 (TESS)

A school of education is hoping to boost the number of minority ethnic student teachers on its courses by favouring applicants who speak another language.

As of this year, the University of Edinburgh's Moray House School of Education will take additional languages into account in its selection process, particularly community or heritage languages such as Urdu or Polish.

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


House of Lords question on Polish language A Level

18 January 2016 (Parliament TV)

Listen to the question raised in the House of Lords regarding the preservation of the Polish A Level and existing range of language qualifications within the UK.


Our Europe film making competition - deadline approaching

25 November 2015 (SEET)

The deadline for the Our Europe film-making project is fast approaching, but don't worry, there's still time to sign up! Entries must be in by 10 December 2015, so if you want to sign up and haven't yet done so make sure you do it soon! If you have teams of S3-6 pupils who are interested in taking part please complete the registration form.

We are also adding new features to our Script Centre tool, designed to help students with scripting the language component of the project.

We have been extremely busy over the past few weeks making visits to schools all across Scotland and it has been great to see such enthusiasm for the project from students. For more information about the Our Europe project, please visit our website. Remember, it's not too late to sign up!


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.


Vocab Express League of Champions 2015

14 August 2015 (Vocab Express)

Create a languages buzz around your school to kick-start the new academic year! The championship will run from Wednesday 30 September until Tuesday 6 October 2015. It's a fantastic way to engage students in vocabulary building by challenging them to compete against other schools across the UK and from around the world.

The challenge will feature French, Spanish, German, Italian, Mandarin, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Urdu, Arabic, Hebrew and Latin competitions.

The challenge is free to all schools subscribing to Vocab Express. In addition, there are currently still 50 free school places available to non-subscribers, each for up to 150 students.


Budding police constables must speak second language in Met pilot scheme

20 July 2015 (The Guardian)

Aspiring police constables must speak a second language to join London’s Metropolitan police under a month-long pilot scheme.

Scotland Yard is hoping the new criterion will help police “engage with London’s diverse communities as effectively as possible”.

From Monday, to be considered for one of the sought-after positions with the capital’s police force, applicants must speak one of 14 languages as well as English. 

They are: Arabic, Bengali, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Sinhala (Sri Lanka), Spanish, Turkish or Yoruba (Nigeria).


Related Links

Language recruitment campaign launched (Metropolitan Police, 20 July 2015)

Police Scotland launch Facebook page for Polish speakers

16 July 2015 (Holyrood Magazine)

Scottish police have launched a Polish language page on social media to help improve links with the migrant community.

Police Scotland has set up a dedicated Facebook page that will include updates of current incidents as well as other relevant information to Polish nationals living north of the border.


Related Links

Scots cops launch Polish website (Evening Times, 22 July 2015)

Morgan tells exam boards to protect Polish A-levels

22 April 2015 (BBC News)

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan says a future Conservative government would "guarantee the future" of GCSEs and A-levels in minority languages such as Polish, Gujarati, Bengali and Turkish.
There has been a campaign against exam board plans to withdraw these languages as exam subjects in England.

Mrs Morgan has written to exam boards telling them to reverse their decision.

Labour's Tristram Hunt says it is a "desperate attempt" to "undo the damage of chaotic exam changes".

Mrs Morgan has added her voice to warnings that these languages should not be lost in the shake-up of A-levels and GCSEs.


The fight to save Polish as an A-level subject

6 April 2015 (BBC News)

Soon it will not be possible for UK students to do A-levels in the Polish language - leading thousands of Polish residents of the UK to express outrage online.

There are over half a million Polish speakers in the UK, making it the second most reported main language to the 2011 census. Most of these are native speakers, many born in Poland, and relatively few school children study it as a second language. But that hasn't stopped thousands of Poles living in the UK from expressing anger over plans to phase out the Polish A-level exam by 2018. They've gone online to protest in the hope of getting the decision reversed.


Talks to put Polish language on curriculum under way

30 March 2015 (The Herald)

For a decade the Polish language has been heard in the playgrounds of Scottish schools as thousands of children whose parents moved to Scotland with EU expansion settled in alongside Scots.

Until now there was no prospect of a formal route for young Poles to be able to take Polish language as part of the fourth and fifth year curriculum despite the research showing Polish is the language young Scots are most likely to hear in school other than English.

Talks are under way, however, to make the provision a reality for the first time.


Related Links

Herald View (The Herald, 30 March 2015)

Supporting Polish shows Scots are different (The Herald, 30 March 2015)

Polish language to be added to Scottish curriculum? (Radio Poland, 22 April 2015)

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