Professional learning

Professional Learning Partnerships

Previous Professional Learning Partnerships (PLPs)

PLPs offer a collaborative and enquiring means of challenging thinking, considering practice and bringing about improvement. Schools, clusters and local authorities work with a SCILT Professional Development Officer over a period of time to improve an aspect of learning and teaching that schools have identified as requiring development. Examining evidence together, engaging in professional discussion and exploring practical ways forward, the partnership aims to effect positive change that impacts on learners.

Over two years, teachers in several West Lothian primary schools chose to focus on strengthening literacy skills across languages. They were supported variously by local authority development officers with responsibility for Literacy, PEF and 1+2 Languages, as well as by SCILT and a bilingual theatre practitioner. In year 1, eight schools considered the needs of their learners and the demands of their school improvement plan before settling on a particular pedagogical approach and/or a selection of resources that they were interested in transferring to the context of teaching additional languages. In year 2, three schools collaborated to produce interdisciplinary learning materials and pupil-led drama activities to support reading and performance in L2. Read the West Lothian PLP Case Study on our website.

Modern Languages and Design & Technology teachers in five secondary schools across three challenge authorities collaborated with staff and students of the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Strathclyde. The result was a highly competitive design challenge for sustainable homes in Latin America.

A Case Study of the project has been produced and is available for schools through the SCILT website.

Moderation templates were created using the benchmarks. These have been uploaded onto the SCILT website and can be found together with all the resources from the project

SCILT now run Espacios Increíbles as an annual competition for schools to take part in with their S2 or S3 learners. Find out how your school can take part.

Modern Languages departments in four secondary schools in West Lothian engaged in a journey of self-evaluation which looked closely at curriculum, pedagogy and learners’ experiences in the broad general education. A coaching approach was employed, with examples of current practice from other local authorities. Middle and senior leaders from schools in these authorities shared how they are currently meeting learner entitlement to languages in the BGE curriculum. Case study coming soon.

Together, the Lead Officer for Family Learning and the 1+2 Development Officer in North Ayrshire and one of the SCILT Primary PDO Team developed a seven-week project focusing on parental engagement and family learning. This project saw parents, grandparents and siblings and cousins learn about the culture and language of France together, complete with treats to win and to eat. 

Subsequently a Spanish version called ‘Arriba Familia’ was developed and the concept was taken up by other local authorities.  Read all about the original Wee Famille PLP.

Involved local authority representatives in Aberdeenshire, Perth & Kinross, South Lanarkshire and West Lothian working together and/or with a SCILT Professional Development Officer for between 6 and 18 months. 

Listen to a podcast about the West Lothian enquiry into learner experience of learning two languages in P7 and S1.

Read more about the Aberdeenshire and South Lanarkshire enquiry into teaching languages in multicomposite primary classes in Issue 33 of the Scottish Languages Review

Learners’ and teachers’ experience of progression in language learning in schools in Perth & Kinross was shared at the LanguageStrathclyde knowledge exchange event in June 2018.  Check out the posters about this enquiry.  


Just beginning in Stirling, a parental engagement project with a languages focus involving the charity Save the Children

There are more PLPs in the pipeline.

If you have an idea for a similar collaborative project, please email SCILT.

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