Latest News

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

Latest News

5 April 2020 (The Herald)

Here is some secret good news. Even with planes grounded, borders closing and a deadly virus stalking the planet you can take an exciting journey that will take you right under the skin of other nations and cultures. And from the comfort of your own home. How? By learning another language. 

To be fair, thousands of people in lockdown have figured this out. A lot are dusting down old textbooks or downloading the phone app Duolingo. But can you really learn to speak "foreign" without leaving your house? Can your children? Can you or your family refresh or improve existing skills.

The short answer is yes – thanks to the internet and its incredible resources, especially teachers using Skype, Zoom or other video links.


2 April 2020 (SecEd)

The latest edition of the newsletter aimed at secondary educators has just been published and is available online. This issue includes advice on remote teaching and learning.


2 April 2020 (BBC)

Schools are likely to be closed until August in a bid to tackle the spread of Covid-19.

Teachers have provided learning packs and online activities for students and many parents will want to help.

So what should parents be doing?

Education correspondent Jamie McIvor posed some common questions to a number of experts in Scottish education to get a sense of what they would advise.

None of this advice is statutory and there will be a range of different opinions. Parents with specific concerns should speak to their child's school, most practically via e-mail.


2 April 2020 (SCILT)

Are you a teacher, a student teacher or aspiring student teacher? Are you looking for some professional learning to do online, at your own time and at your own pace?

Visit our professional learning pages to view our collated list of courses, webinars and materials that are free to access. Scroll down to the 'Professional learning for teachers during the school closures' section.


2 April 2020 (SCILT/CISS)

The Scottish Languages Employability Award (SLEA) celebrates innovation by schools in promoting languages and employability together through partnerships with businesses, public bodies and third sector organisations. The award, which is available initially at bronze, silver and gold levels, supports teachers in raising awareness of the importance of languages in their school community.  

For full guidelines, case studies and futher information visit the SLEA page on the SCILT website.

The next deadline for submissions is Friday 15 May 2020


31 March 2020 (SCEN)

SCEN has drawn up two short surveys, one to gather information ahead of our website revamp, and another to gather information on people's experience with our events and ambassador programme. 

Together, they take under ten minutes to fill out, and would be a great help to us in gaining a better understanding how we can improve our engagement and communication. 

If you could please complete the surveys from the two links below, and share them with any peers, colleagues, students, or friends you know have an interest in or affiliation with SCEN, it would be much appreciated.

We ask that you please complete the surveys by Monday the 20th of April, so that we can act on the data gathered as soon as possible. Thank you in advance for your participation. 

SCEN Website Survey - 3 Minutes to Complete

SCEN Events and Ambassadors Survey - 4 Minutes to Complete


31 March 2020 (ECML)

Are you a language teacher in upper secondary or in the university sector now adapting to the challenge of delivering your classes online? Would you like to discover motivating real-world tasks for your learners which will help develop their learner autonomy?

Are you a language teacher educator looking for creative ways to develop your teachers’ digital literacy skills, so that they in turn can support their language learners?

Are you a language researcher, interested in pedagogies based on social interaction?

If so, this new open-access resource website, developed through expert cooperation in the field of language education across geographic Europe and beyond, is most definitely for you.


30 March 2020 (CISS)

banner advertising upcoming online Mandarin beginner classes

Related Files

30 March 2020 (University of Oxford)

A surge in interest in language learning has emerged as a phenomenon of the current social distancing. One popular language learning apps has claimed increased usage of more than 200%, while others are reporting new sales up more than 50%.

Academics maintain it shows a pent-up interest and wish to study languages. For a nation supposedly averse to speaking other languages, the British have been turning in numbers to foreign tongues as a first resort – in the absence of more traditional forms of entertainment.


30 March 2020 (Screen Rant)

Outlander is peppered with Scots Gaelic phrases, and these are the best to add to your everyday vocabulary.


30 March 2020 (Daily Record)

Paige told her Milton Keynes man 'Naw, it's a piece, like a sandwich' as she educated him on the intricacies of the Scots language while the pair remain on lockdown in West Lothian.


30 March 2020 (The University of Manchester)

Researchers at the University of Manchester’s Multilingual Manchester research unit and the University of Westminster have called for more consideration to be given to language variation and non-standard speech forms such as regional dialects in the programmes of community-based supplementary schools that teach heritage languages. You can access the detailed position paper on the website.


30 March 2020 (RZSS)

New online books for home learning. Everyone can access these and they include a good mix of science and Mandarin. These are different from our other online content as they don't require to be downloaded and printed. They also all include sound files and Mandarin learning points. 

At present, there are books which provide an online experience of the giant panda expert visit aimed at upper primary level and the Chinese Endangered Species outreach. In addition there is a book version of the Science Specialist Confucius Classroom 'China's animals and habitats'. Finally, a section comparing China and Scotland. This China/Scotland project is in partnership with the JASS scheme.

All the books are available on the Beyond the Panda website.


30 March 2020 (British Red Cross)

The British Red Cross seeks to support those in crisis, either in the UK or abroad. The International Youth Volunteering Programme (IYVP) offers young people aged 18-30 residing in the UK the chance to volunteer overseas in another European country for eight to twelve months. As part of the European Solidarity Corps (EuSC) scheme, all IYVP placements have a community focus, spanning a wide range of different services. All of our placements are fully funded, with travel, accommodation, health insurance costs all covered and volunteers receive a small monthly allowance to cover additional expenses.

This is the perfect opportunity for those interested in gaining valuable skills, having new experiences and giving back to the community. Experience and fluency in the language are not requirements, although the placements can be challenging and require adaptability and resilience. We're particularly keen to hear from young people who are passionate about the work but may not otherwise have the opportunity to volunteer overseas. Please apply using the link IYVP Spain Placement 2020-21. Closing date is 1 May 2020.


28 March 2020 (TES)

The huge amount of 'free' apps and online learning offers can feel overwhelming. Here are seven simple steps to follow.


26 March 2020 (SCILT)

Our job profiles cover a wide range of careers where languages are being used. The latest addition to our collection comes from Ruaridh Campbell. A recent graduate in International Relations, Ruaridh believes his Arabic language skills will be a real asset in his quest to join the Royal Marines.

Teachers share his profile with your pupils to highlight the benefits of language learning for life and work.


26 March 2020 (UWS)

Announcement from Alan Walker, University of the West of Scotland:

Due to the current pandemic, we've had to make a big change to the marking of the entries this year, and unfortunately we won't be able to hold our annual prize-giving. However, the overall winner of the Scottish side of the competition will still be offered a prize, and certificates to all schools who entered will be made available (once I can get back into my office).

With regards to the Top 10 teams of each competition, I'll release these over Twitter, in a countdown over the next couple of weeks. If you (or your school/department) don't already follow the MSF twitter account, please do so at

For those of you not on Twitter, I'll email the Top 10s after announcing, and will be in touch with the winners directly.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you all for supporting this competition each year. Thanks also to those who volunteer to mark each year (even though they got a year off this year!). A big thanks too to my colleagues Wan and Ken for their help in putting the questions together for the Scottish side of the competition.

26 March 2020 (University of Cambridge)

Could you imagine how the English language might change in the next 500 years? How about devising a sustainable long-term strategy for freight transport in the UK? Or could you write an object biography to bring history to life?

These are just three of the five exciting challenges Gonville & Caius College have launched this week for Year 12 students in any UK school (S5 in Scotland). This year set in Engineering, History, Linguistics, Modern Languages, and Natural Sciences, our Schools Prizes are designed to prompt lower sixth form students to think creatively and individually about the subjects they love. Each competition carries a first prize of £600, to be split equally between the winning candidate and his or her school or college, and a second prize of £400, which again is to be shared equally between the candidate and his or her school or college.

Visit the website for more information. Entry deadline: Friday 5 June 2020.


26 March 2020 (Institut français)

Created with the hope that it will provide you with content to keep in touch with French culture and activities during the confinement period, this blog will also allow you to know our team better by offering articles written by different members of staff on their favourite topics. Please get in touch with us at and tell us what you’d like to see or hear from us on our blog and social media! Don’t forget to take care of each other, to keep your spirits up and to stay safe and healthy.

Two new posts will be uploaded each day at 10am and 3pm.


26 March 2020 (British Council)

The Great Languages Challenge can be completed during a planned lesson or also set as a language-themed homework task. We even have a blank version available that students can use to design their own challenges for their classmates or peers in their partner school overseas.


26 March 2020 (SecEd)

SecEd is the voice of secondary education. Their latest bulletin has a focus on teaching and learning during the Coronavirus pandemic, with a range of advice and links to numerous resources for teachers continuing to practice in schools and parents who are now homeschooling.


26 March 2020 (SCILT/Education Scotland)

Unfortunately, due to the current uncertainty relating to COVID-19, it has been decided with careful consideration to cancel the Summer School this year.
SCILT and Education Scotland will continue to work closely and plan for next summer 2021. Further updates will be communicated in due course.

SCILT and Education Scotland's flagship national leadership programme has been running since 2014 and was recognised at GTCS Excellence in Professional Learning Awards in 2017 and 2018.


25 March 2020 (Esquire Middle East)

South Korean superstars BTS have said they will be holding language learning sessions to “make it easy and fun for global fans who have difficulty enjoying BTS’s music due to the language barrier.”

The announcement could not have come at a better time, as millions shelter at home in self-isolation. 

Each episode (which will be available in 30 languages) will focus on specific Korean grammar and expressions. Each lesson plan was developed with help from the Korean Language Content Institute and the Department of Korean Education at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. 


25 March 2020 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has compiled resources and links which are intended to support practitioners in developing online opportunities for learning at home. There are resources for all areas of the curriculum which will be supplemented as time goes on. See the Supporting Online Learning webpage on the Education Scotland website.


25 March 2020 (Wired)

We've collected together the best products and resources to keep your children educated, entertained and exercised without having to leave the house.

Article includes offers for a range of subjects, including languages.


24 March 2020 (STV)

As schools close due to coronavirus, here's some handy resources for educating children at home.

[..] Natasha and Kelly-Ann will host British Sign Language workshops every day from 1pm live on Facebook and YouTube. Search for Natasha Lamb.


24 March 2020 (East Anglian Daily Times)

With schools closed to all but the children of key workers and the vulnerable, one educator has released a handy guide of how to home school successfully. Watch the video online.

[..] Rosetta Stone is offering children free language classes for three month, while British Sign is offering British Sign Language (BSL) classes online for just £3 for students or those struggling financially during the coronavirus crisis.


24 March 2020 (SCILT/CISS)

Given last week's announcement about the cancellation of the exam diet, the SCILT and CISS teams are refocusing their efforts on supporting the BGE. Officers are currently collating high quality, freely available, online materials into an easily accessible section of the SCILT website. Teachers, parents and youngsters  will be able, therefore, to find interesting resources and activities in a range of languages, appropriate to their age and stage, all in one place. As you can imagine, this is a huge task, but we are determined to have it completed by mid-April. 

In addition, we are currently in discussion with our friends at e-Sgoil so we can provide live streamed classes in Mandarin suitable for beginners in both primary and secondary school stages of the BGE. More news about this and other language learning opportunities via e-Sgoil will be announced nearer the time. 

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20 March 2020 (BBC)

Today the BBC is setting out how it will ensure it keeps the nation informed, educated, and entertained in unprecedented times.

Director-General Tony Hall says: "We all know these are challenging times for each and every one of us. As the national broadcaster, the BBC has a special role to play at this time of national need.

"We need to pull together to get through this. That’s why the BBC will be using all of its resources - channels, stations and output - to help keep the nation informed, educated and entertained. We are making a series of changes to our output to achieve that.

"We will continue to deliver all the essential news and information - with special programming and content.

"We also will do everything from using our airwaves for exercise classes for older people, religious services, recipes and advice on food for older people and low-income families, and should schools close, education programming for different age groups. We will also be launching a whole new iPlayer experience for children. And of course there will be entertainment - with the ambition of giving people some escapism and hopefully the odd smile.

"Clearly there will be disruption to our output along the way, but we will do our very best.

"It will take time to emerge from the challenges we all face, but the BBC will be there for the public all the way through this."


19 March 2020 (SCILT/CISS)

Along with our partners at e-Sgoil, the SCILT and CISS teams are currently working on live webinars to support youngsters working on National Qualifications in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Mandarin and Gaelic. This will compliment the work already being done by teachers across the country so that youngsters due to sit National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher qualifications do not have their learning interrupted. We will give further information via our usual networks and social media. 

19 March 2020 (The New European)

Peter Trudgill on the sometimes confusing way in which surnames seem to indicate nationality.

People with the surname Inglis are usually Scottish. That might seem rather strange, because the name is the Scots-language word for ‘English’ – and why would Scottish people have been called Inglis? But actually of course there would be no point in calling someone from England ‘English’ unless they lived in another country, such as Scotland, where being English was unusual and therefore something which distinguished them from everybody else. People called Inglis are typically Scots who have a distant ancestor who came from England.

This same type of pattern can be seen across Europe. Domenico Tedesco is the Italian manager of the Spartak Moscow football team. Since tedesco is the Italian word for ‘German’, we can assume he had an ancestor who moved to an Italian-speaking area from some German-speaking location.


16 March 2020 (SCILT)

SCILT will continue to operate as normal

Whilst the SCILT and CISS office premises are currently closed, staff will continue to operate as normal and support languages in Scotland remotely. This means that SCILT staff will be available as usual through email. We will be happy to reschedule any meetings to a later date or move them to an online platform. If you have meetings planned with us before the end of April, we will be in touch to rearrange.

All SCILT events until the end of April have been postponed. This includes our Living Languages series as well as our Professional Learning events. If you have organised any workshops with us, you should receive an email from SCILT this week to confirm this.

The situation is changing rapidly and we will continue to send updates through our e-bulletin mailing list and social media channels.

SCILT support for National Qualifications

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak and the possibility of school closures, over the coming weeks SCILT is planning ways of supporting NQ candidates via webinar. There will be an online registration process and materials will be made available on Glow. Further information will be posted on social media and via our e-bulletin.

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16 March 2020 (Estonia Ministry of Education)

Estonia, the leading education nation in Europe (No 1. in PISA test in Europe), announced that it is humbled to share all of its digital education tools to support other countries’ education systems during the COVID-19 crisis.


9 March 2020 (SCILT)

Do you love languages?

Are you currently in S5?

Would you like to work with other young people and enhance your CV?

Do you enjoy sharing your news, views and opinions on social media?

Well, this role might be for you!

We are looking for committed, dynamic young people to join our team as SCILT interns.  This would see you using social media regularly and collaborating effectively with a team to demonstrate your love of languages and where they can take you.  This is an excellent opportunity for the right person to experience a professional work internship and enhance their sixth year at school.

Please note that interns will be home-based and the opportunity is open to young people across the country. This is an unpaid internship.

Successful applicants must attend a training day in Glasgow. Please note that the application documents state that the training day will be held in June. We now intend to run this training day in August 2020

Application details

Please download and read the Information Pack. It includes the Job Description and Person Specification.

Please download and complete the Application Form. Applications must be submitted with a letter of reference from your Faculty Manager or Principal Teacher of Modern Languages.

Completed applications must be returned to by Friday 24 April 2020.

Wondering whether to apply? Here’s what some of our previous interns have said about the experience:

  • “My highlights were getting to work with other people I hadn't met before, representing a national organisation, creating our own content and deciding ourselves how we wanted to run our social media accounts.”
  • “I loved producing high quality content and collaborating with the other interns. It was really exciting later on in the year when we started to get more interaction on Twitter.”
  • “Meeting new people who share my same passion for languages and coming together to create something valuable was a high point for me.”

6 March 2020 (Education Scotland)

The German Embassy is looking for nominations for the German Teacher Award 2020.

Scottish schools have been notable by their absence from this competition, but thanks to the new German Consul General in Scotland, we are now firmly placed to have our fabulous German teachers in the running for this!  

So if your primary or secondary school has an outstanding German teacher who deserves recognition, visit the German Embassy's website or see the attached flyer for more information about the award and how to submit a nomination by 10 April 2020.


28 February 2020 (SCILT)

Applications are still being taken for this programme with the intention of it running as planned in session 2020/21. Please get in touch if you have any questions.
SCILT is now inviting schools to register their interest in taking part in the Language Linking Global Thinking project for session 2020-21. 
The project links students on their year abroad with primary and secondary schools. Students communicate with a designated class in their partner school during the course of the year to illustrate how enriching it is to spend a year abroad using a language other than English. 

While the student is abroad they keep in regular contact with the partner school using blog posts, emails and other resources. The correspondence between student and class brings the language alive for pupils and shows them the real relevance of learning a language. New for this year - you can now be linked with a CISS scholar spending a year in China! Just complete the registration form with 'Mandarin' as your preferred language for a link. 

Key points for teachers

  • Please note this is a two-way correspondence, and schools are expected to reply to blog posts, submit questions, and fully engage with their link student. 
  • A representative from the school, ideally the class teacher using the link, must attend the training afternoon on 12th June in Glasgow. 
  • There is no cost for schools to participate in the programme, however schools will need to cover travel costs for teachers attending the training session. Students are expected to visit their link school before they go abroad, and schools may wish to help with the travel costs for that visit.

Visit the LLGT webpage for more information on Language Linking Global Thinking, and to read some of the student blogs from previous years.

Please note places are limited. Please email to request a registration form. 


6 February 2020 (Scotland-China Association)

Open to all pupils in P5, P6 and P7 in Scottish schools, this year's competition from the Scotland-China Association asks students to design a kite.

Kites have been made and flown all over the world for thousands of years, and are very popular in China. The aim of the competition is to inspire the creativity of Scottish primary school pupils and to encourage them to learn more about Scotland and China. Entries should explore ideas which demonstrate understanding of links between Scotland and China through the design for a kite. We are working in partnership with RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, where the prize giving will be held.

Individual or group entries are welcomed and should take one of the following forms:

  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Craftwork (for example an actual kite)
  • Writing
  • Photography
  • Video/media/film (no more than 10 minutes long)
  • Embroidery/stitching/textile

See the attached flyer for more information and the entry form, which must accompany all submissions. The deadline for entries is 15 May 2020.


31 May 2019 (SCILT/OU)

We are happy to announce that registration is now open for the OU/SCILT primary languages course, which will be running again from October 2019. In light of positive feedback and popularity of the first year of the course, we are now also delighted to offer a second year, post-beginners’ course. The latter would be suitable for those who have successfully completed year 1 and wish to continue their studies, or for those who are looking to begin studying at a more advanced level.

  • The courses will run from October 2019 to July 2020, and will develop language and pedagogy skills; language learning is provided by the Open University and pedagogy is provided by SCILT.  The courses are aligned to the Scottish curriculum and support the 1+2 languages approach.
  • Both courses are delivered online with two opportunities to attend face-to-face day schools. 
  • Learning is very flexible and participants can study at a time and place of their choosing.
  • Each course carries a fee of £252, reflecting the input and student support for the language and pedagogy strands from both organisations.

Funding may be sponsored through your school or Local Authority who can register on your behalf.   Initial registration information must be submitted to the OU by Monday 17 June 2019 and LAs should contact  
Students also have the option to fund the fee themselves. In this case, an interested teacher should contact the OU directly at

Here is some further information:

Beginners level

  • will be offered in a choice of four languages - French, German, Spanish and Mandarin plus study of primary pedagogy with direct application in the classroom.
  • takes students to the end of the equivalent to level A1 of the Common European Reference Framework for Languages.
  • allows students to gain 15 university credits for the language study.
  • also gives students the option to gain GTCS recognition for the pedagogy study; all students will receive a certificate on successful completion from SCILT.
  • study hours will be approximately five hours per week, including time spent on the direct application of the new skills in the classroom.

Post-beginners level

  • teachers who have started studying one language in the beginners level of the course would need to continue studying the same language at post-beginners level.
  • teachers who already have some basic knowledge in one of the four languages can directly enrol on the post-beginners level course to further develop their skills in that language and learn about primary languages pedagogy (without having to have studied beginners level).
  • will follow the same format as the beginners level course and will be offered in the same four languages (French, German, Mandarin and Spanish).
  • will teach primary languages pedagogy in more depth and cover:
    • the skills of writing and reading,
    • IDL with a special focus on outdoor learning as well as links with other key subject areas through CLIL,
    • learning and teaching of languages in multilingual contexts/communities.
  • will have the same:
    • number of study hours,
    • assessment structure,
    • accreditation with 15 university credits,
    • optional GTCS recognition for the pedagogy strand, as above ;
  • in their language study, students will reach the equivalent of the end of level A2 of the Common European Reference Framework for Languages (end of post-beginner level).
  • after completing both courses, students would then be in a good position to go on to study one of the standard language courses at the OU should they want to improve their knowledge of the language even further.

Course codes are as follows:

Beginners level

LXT192 French

LXT193 German

LXT197 Mandarin

LXT194 Spanish

Post-beginners level

LXT191 (language choice will come as a second step once students have registered)

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