Resources to help parents and learners understand the importance of languages and enable parents to support their children in their language learning

For parents

Parents have the greatest influence on the achievement of young people through supporting their learning in the home rather than supporting activities in the school. It is their support of learning within the home environment that makes the maximum difference to achievement.

- (Harris and Goodall, DCFS (2007))

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Languages in a nutshell

Explains how the 1+2 Approach will be put into practice and why learning languages is so important. Suggests ways parents can support their child’s language learning.

Produced by SCILT in partnership with The National Parent Forum of Scotland.

Click on image to download as PDF.

Language learning in Scotland

The Scottish Government's Report 'Language Learning in Scotland: A 1+2 Approach' was published in May 2012. Local authorities and schools are now implementing the recommendations of the report. The aim is to enable children and young people to study two languages in addition to their mother tongue in all Scottish primary and secondary schools.

You can find out how educational establishments are responding to the recommendations in 'Language Learning in Scotland: A 1 + 2 Approach' by viewing the case studies on our website:

Should you have further questions about the approach please visit our FAQ section for parents/carers.

Languages in Curriculum for Excellence provides an overview of language learning in Scotland. From Education Scotland.

Parents may be interested in the Experiences and Outcomes for Modern Languages, which detail what children should be able to achieve by the end of each curricular Level. Scroll down the page to reach Modern Languages.

Supporting your child's language learning

Showing a positive attitude to other languages and cultures will go a long way to keeping your child interested in learning languages. Here are some other ideas to try:

  • Ask your child to teach you what they’re learning in school
  • Encourage your child to have fun with languages – read comics and books in another language, look at interesting language websites, or learn a song in another language.
  • Challenge each other to find words in your first language that come from other languages.
  • Look for words that come from other languages used in advertising and packaging or in magazines.
  • Watch films and television shows in other languages with subtitles.
  • Play simple games in another language eg. dominoes, bingo, treasure hunts
  • Learn the language alongside your child – there are lots of ways to learn a new language (or refresh one you learned in school) without digging out the old grammar books.
  • Discuss the benefits of language learning when your child is considering study or career options.

Six passionate S6 language learners from across the country took part in SCILT’s first ever Digital Internship programme. From August 2018 - May 2019, they used social media to engage 16-25 year olds with positive messages about language learning and share their experiences of learning other languages.

Bilingual families come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing they all share is the desire to do the best for their children. This area of the SCILT website is aimed at both parents and practitioners. By working as partners, we are able to ensure better academic success and improved social and emotional development.

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Moorfoot Primary and Garvel Deaf Centre in Gourock support parents of deaf and hearing children with learning BSL. In conjunction with Education Scotland, SCILT produced a case study which highlights how BSL features greatly within the school, in addition to the other languages taught and engages parents with their children's learning. Parents, pupils and staff share their experience of using and learning BSL and emphasise the value, significance and importance of all language learning and the impact it can have locally and beyond.

Capability Scotland's Corseford school in Kilbarchan in Renfrewshire supports children and young people with complex health, education, movement and communication needs aged 5-18 to achieve their potential. Children in the primary and secondary classes have the opportunity to learn Spanish. In 2015, Corseford won the ‘Making Languages Come Alive (Primary) category at the Scottish Education Awards. For additional information, see the SCILT case study of Corseford’s language provision.

Into Film puts film at the heart of the educational and personal development of children and young people across the UK. They have produced teaching resources with SEN focus to accompany films in a variety of languages:

British Dyslexia Association: Is it possible for someone who is dyslexic to learn a foreign language?

Fact sheets for parents on autism and language learning. The site contains online and printable versions of the leaflets in 10 different languages.

Research on bilingualism and autism. Project research carried out by Bilingualism Matters charting the impact of bilingualism on development in children with and without autism spectrum disorders.

Can you raise an autistic child to be bilingual – and should you try? This article looks at a study illustrating this dilemma which affects many families around the world. It asks is it possible to raise a child with autism or other neurodevelopmental disorders to be bilingual? And, if so, does it help or hinder the autistic experience?

Resources to welcome young people and their families from Ukraine to Scotland.

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Resources to use with your child.

Visit SCILT's home learning page for a large collection of resources for parents to use with their children to support language learning at different stages and for a range of languages.

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Discover opportunities to develop your own language skills.

Other language learning opportunities

University of Strathclyde

The Centre for Lifelong Learning (CLL) at the University of Strathclyde offers opportunities to study modern languages as part of its day, evening and summer short course programmes. The languages offered vary from year to year. Languages currently on offer include French, German, Italian and Spanish. Many of the language programmes commence in October and last for 20 or 22 weeks with some classes commencing in January  and June/July. Classes are offered in the evening and/or at weekend. Most languages offer the opportunity to study towards university credit. A wide range of other subjects are also available.

CLL is located on 7th Floor, Graham Hills Building, 40 George Street, University of Strathclyde. For more information, contact 0141 548 2116, email or visit the CLL website.

University of Strathclyde also offer undergraduate degrees in languages (more information) and PGDE course for language teachers (more information).


The University is a centre for the examination in the Spanish Government’s official Diploma in Spanish as a Foreign Language (DELE - Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera). The exams are the official accreditation for the degree of fluency of the Spanish exams. They’re issued and recognised by the Ministry of Education, Culture & Sport of Spain and are organised by Instituto Cervantes and the University of Salamanca. New online preparation courses for the DELE exams are available and are aimed at prospective candidates for the DELE exams.

University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow offers short courses in 15 languages at levels ranging from beginner (A1) to advanced (C1). Languages on offer are: Arabic, BSL, Chinese (Mandarin), Dutch, French, Gaelic, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish. Language classes are interactive and collaborative, with plenty of exposure to the language and many opportunities to practise and learn with their peers. As part of normal classroom teaching, students will also be given the option of doing written homework between classes. All of the courses can contribute credit to the Certificate in Higher Education.

Language courses are worth 10 credits and are benchmarked against the Common European Framework of Languages. Students achieve the credits when, through normal classroom activities and two assessed pieces of work, they demonstrate a minimum level of competence expected for their particular course. Unless otherwise stated all courses run for two hours per week over 20 weeks. Term 1 begins on the first Monday in October. New courses are also offered in January and April each year.

The School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Glasgow also offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in languages.

Goethe Institut Glasgow - Learn German

Learn German with the Goethe Institut for everyday life, personal interest, your job or for university studies. They offer:

  • highly qualified teachers
  • state-of-the-art teaching methods
  • intensive consultation and support
  • a system of course levels applied around the world
  • examinations recognised around the world

More information

Alliance Française de Glasgow - Learn French

The Alliance Française de Glasgow is the official French government’s Language and Cultural centre for Glasgow and the West of Scotland. The Alliance Française de Glasgow is proud to welcome up to 500 students during each term, who all learn French through our communicative approach.

All our teachers are native speakers and are trained to teach French as a Foreign Language. Every new student who is not a complete beginner is assessed before enrolling (a free and friendly meeting with a teacher), in order to establish their level so that they are assigned to the right class.

More information


The Alliance Française is an official examination centre which gives you the opportunity to obtain the official French diplomas awarded by the French authorities and recognized internationally.

More information

Yakety Yak Language Cafés

Originating in Edinburgh in 2010, Yakety Yak's Language Cafés have now been launched in Glasgow.

The Cafés offer people the chance to practise their conversational language skills in a relaxed atmosphere. Sessions are currently available in French, Gaelic, Italian and Spanish.

Check the Yakety Yak Glasgow programme for further information.

The Language Hub

The Language Hub C.I.C. is a non for profit organisation based in Glasgow’s west end. The hub teaches foreign languages to children and adults, provides bilingual support, runs cultural and literacy events and operates a foreign language children’s bookshop on site. We believe everyone can learn a foreign language, irrespective of their age or their academic abilities. Our language courses, for all levels, focus on communication and are very much play based. We aim to provide a maximum of opportunities to practise individual skills in the class room. This gives learners the confidence to use their foreign language skills in real-life situations outside the classroom.

Languages currently available include German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Russian - check the website for availability.

For more information, please visit our website, give us a call on: 0141 258 2700 or send us a message.

Lingo Flamingo

As well as offering language classes for the elderly in care homes, the organisation hosts online classes and face-to-face options in Shawlands. Languages on offer:

  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • Japanese
  • Portuguese 

More information on the Lingo Flamingo website.

Live Language, Glasgow

Live Language provides different levels for group and private courses for the following languages:

  • Arabic
  • French
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Ukrainian

Live Language language courses.

Speech Bubble Languages, East Kilbride

Just outside Glasgow in East Kilbride, SQA accredited language school Speech Bubble Languages offers classes in French and Spanish.

Speech Bubble Languages courses

University of Edinburgh

The Centre for Open Learning offers courses in languages to all adult learners from 16 years old.

Courses are 20 hours over 10 weeks from September to December, January to March and April to June and over 4 weeks in July and in August.

Languages currently offered: Arabic, British Sign Language, Chinese, French, Gaelic, German, Italian, Japanese, Modern Greek, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Turkish and Ukrainian.

Find out more about the languages and levels on offer via the short course website.

The University of Edinburgh also serves as a centre for students wishing to sit the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), the internationally recognised qualification for learners of the Japanese language.

Access Programme

Our part-time Access Programme offers a route into degree study for those returning to education after a break or for those without traditional qualifications. With the part-time Access Programme it's never too late to learn! This key addition to the University of Edinburgh's prospectus allows successful Access students to progress to a language degree in Edinburgh or in other universities.

Institut français d'Écosse - Learn French

Institut français d'Écosse offer a large range of courses:

  • Adult classes
  • Kids & teens classes
  • Private tuition
  • Corporate classes
  • Online courses
  • International French Diploma DELF/DALF
  • International French tests TEF & TCF

IFE can also provide training for teachers so they too can become accredited DELF examiners. This can prove interesting for teachers of French as a foreign language, encouraging them to discover and use the action-based approach in class to further stimulate the students.

More information


The Institut français d’Écosse is an official exam centre for DELF and DALF, official diplomas awarded by the French Ministry of Education to certify foreign candidates’ proficiency in French.

More information 

Edinburgh College

Edinburgh College offers a range of courses in BSL, French, Gaelic, German, Italian and Spanish. Whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced learner wishing to gain a qualification in modern languages, there's a course suitable for you. Qualifications range from the new National 2s up to Advanced Higher level. They also offer a range of the Diplomas of Spanish as a Foreign Language (DELE) as well as their Institute of Linguistics Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) part-time course.

The college offers a range of delivery times and modes for their modern language classes to suit different lifestyles. These can be as part-time day, evening or flexible open learning. Full details of the courses available can be found on the course programme link below, selecting Modern Languages in the subject area dropdown:

Edinburgh College courses

Italian Cultural Institute

Courses in Italian language and culture available at various levels.

Yakety Yak Language Cafés

Improve or maintain your foreign language conversation in local cafés around Edinburgh in small groups with an experienced native tutor. We offer French, Spanish, Italian, German, Mandarin, Portuguese, Gaelic, Japanese and Greek.

Visit the YaketyYak website for more information.

SALT Edinburgh

SALT (Spanish Academy Language & Translation) is the first centre dedicated exclusively to the teaching of Spanish courses in Edinburgh. SALT’s team also have a wide range of additional knowledge in film and media, translation, interpretation as well as examinations which they incorporate into the services provided.

Visit the SALT Edinburgh website for more information.

University of Dundee

Language courses by distance learning from the School of Humanities. These courses are delivered over the internet, using Blackboard, the University of Dundee “virtual learning environment”.

Intensive Courses - Our 25 week Intensive Courses are intended for those wishing to jump-start a language.

Revision Courses - If you already have some knowledge of a language (e.g. a rusty Higher) then our 10 week Revision Courses are for you.

Graduate Diploma Courses - These aim to provide the challenge of an undergraduate curriculum in the relevant practical language, they carry a rating of 120 SCOTCAT points (SCQF Levels 9-10).

Please visit University of Dundee website for more information.

The university also provides their Languages for all programme, which offers everyone the opportunity to learn a language, whether for personal or professional reasons.

Classes are taught in the evening and you can choose from a range of languages (BSL, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish) many of which are available at different levels.

The emphasis in their language classes is on:

  • fostering communicative competence
  • linguistic knowledge
  • intercultural awareness

Discovery Languages Ltd

Formerly Tayside Language Centre, Discovery Languages Ltd offer courses in a wide range of languages at all levels (French, German, Italian, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese, Polish, Dutch, Korean, Arabic and Swedish), including Saturday clubs for children as well as tailor-made courses for businesses and refresher courses for Primary teachers.

More information - Discovery Languages Ltd

University of Aberdeen

The Language Centre has a 35-year history of providing Language Training and support for students, staff and the wider community.

The Centre's evening course programme in Modern Foreign Languages is designed for anyone interested in learning a new language or improving existing language skills. The courses are open to University of Aberdeen staff, students and the general public.

Bespoke, tailored courses can also be offered for businesses and organisations to meet their specific needs.

Languages offered are:

  • Arabic
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish

The following online courses are available for those in a customer facing role who wish to learn Gaelic for the workplace:

The Open University

The Open University offers a range of Languages courses at various levels in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Welsh. The OU also offers courses in English for Academic Purposes online and in Professional Communication Skills for Business Studies.

Whether you’re a complete beginner, want to brush up existing skills, or are looking for a degree in languages, the OU can provide a flexible, step-by-step way of achieving your learning goals in a way that allows you to fit round other commitments in your life with the support of a personal tutor. You’ll develop proficiency in all four skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. Some OU language courses also offer a week at a residential school in a country where the language is spoken.

For further details visit the OU website.

Free online language resources

The Open University also offers a wide range of free online resources in languages which could be useful to language learners and teachers.

Future Learn (MOOCs)

Future Learn provides a portal for educational institutions around the world to host their online MOOCs. A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is an interactive step-by-step course aimed at reaching an unlimited number of participants worldwide to create a community of lifelong learners. The courses are free and generally last between 4-6 weeks.

Future Learn currently offers a variety of language-related MOOCs.

University of Glasgow and Islamic University of Gaza

Online Arabic from Palestine for beginners

The course will be of interest to anyone wanting to learn, or promote the learning of, Modern Standard Arabic with a Palestinian ‘flavour’ for work, to communicate with Arabic speaking ‘new Scots’, or simply for the pleasure of learning such an important language.

More information


Comhairle nan Eilean’s eSgoil is offering National 5 and Higher Gaelic (Learners) via computer - these will be open to school pupils and adult learners anywhere. All you need is a computer with internet access.

More information on the eSgoil website or contact Angus Maclennan or Catriona Currie at

Po polsku po Polsce

If you are looking to learn some Polish, this self-directed e-learning course might be for you. Jointly supported by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Jaggiellonian University in Krakow, this interactive course supports learners to reach a level of A1 in Polish language. For each lesson, there is a cultural element that links to the language lesson. The language lessons are in Polish with sound files to support and there is a Language Bank, also in Polish, to help.

More information

Please note: many of these are paid resources. SCILT does not endorse any of the following commercial products.

The Superprof Blog - Superprof is a leading web platform that matches tutors with students for a range of subjects including languages. Many offer the first lesson for free. There's also lots of useful content for learners seeking to explore and discover the culture as well as the language of a country.

High Five French - Learn French with Emma and Mathilde. Aimed at primary learners. The resources in this playlist are samples from the full Radio Lingua course.

Language for Work - European Council for Modern Languages website with advice and information to support work-related second language development, particularly the linguistic integration of adult migrants.

Chatterbox - Online and in person language tuition delivered by highly skilled refugees from academic, professional, and industrial backgrounds.

TLC Pack - The project pack, originally developed primarily for use by migrant workers entering different parts of the care sector, can still be used for teaching and learning English or German, Italian, Spanish, Greek or Dutch in a range of contexts.

Berlitz - Online classes in various languages. This promotes the Berlitz method of language learning where students (adults and children/teens) can gain language skills, cultural understanding and confidence.

busuu - Learn languages for free online - Learn languages online with interactive language courses and lessons - join the community for free.

Study abroad - Europe - Website listing volunteering, studying, teaching & interning programmes across Europe, with ratings/reviews and more.

iTunes Education Apps - Browse the iTunes store for apps to help you with your language learning.

The Michel Thomas Method - The Natural Way to Learn a New Language - Audio learning technique. Languages include French, German and Spanish.

Rosetta Stone - Learn a Language Online - Rosetta Stone aimes to make learning a new language second nature through their software products.

Duolingo - quick, bite-sized lessons to progress in a wide range of languages.

Gaelic courses - The Learn Gaelic website has compiled a list of Gaelic courses available throughout Scotland.

Discover opportunities to develop your own language skills.

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