In 2018 SCILT was approached by the 1+2 Development Officer
and QIO with responsibility for languages in West Lothian Council. They had identified the need to make
connections between literacy learning and learning additional languages at
primary level. The aim was to
demonstrate how skills and activities could be transferable in learning both
English and additional languages. In doing so primary teachers, children and
their families would come to a deeper understanding of how learning and using more than one language supports the development of literacy skills across the board, including in a child’s home language.
The idea was to win hearts and minds among primary teachers
and families, by making explicit connections between literacy skills
development in home and taught languages. Following meetings over several months, it was decided to undertake a
Professional Learning Partnership (PLP). PLPs are a means of challenging thinking, considering practice and
bringing about improvement through collaborative and enquiring approaches.
Schools, clusters and local authorities work with a SCILT Professional
Development Officer and other relevant partners over an extended period of time
- typically an academic session - to improve an aspect of learning and teaching
that schools have identified as requiring development.
Listen to Lynne Jones, SCILT Professional Development
Officer explain what a Professional Learning Partnership is.
Year 1 of this particular PLP was 2018-19, during which a
group of seventeen primary teachers from different schools met six times. The
group were supported by the authority 1+2 Development Officer and QIO with
responsibility for languages, the WLC Literacy Development Officer, WLC Language
Centre Lead, SCILT Director and one SCILT Professional Development Officer. PLP Project Outline.
In a mix of face-to-face and virtual sessions, together partners
explored and narrowed down:
- the focus of the approach, activity or resource that each of the schools use
- who would be involved - pupils, colleagues, families
- the intended outcomes and what success criteria would be
- what evidence would be gathered/reviewed
- the timeframe for the process and sharing
Teachers from schools with a similar focus were encouraged
to buddy up, communicate and share with each other in and between the PLP
catch-up meetings. Of the original
eleven schools that joined the project, the following primary schools completed
the collaborative development process Howden St Andrew’s PS, Linlithgow PS, Southdale PS, Springfield PS, St John
Ogilvie’s PS, St Mary’s PS (Bathgate), St Ninian’s PS, Windyknowe PS and
Explore some examples of the school project summary
- Example 1: P5 transferable storytelling skills
in English and L2
- Example 2: P7 Word Boost in Spanish and English
- Example 3: whole school L2 phrase of the
fortnight, shared with families
- Example 4: a daily menu of short French
activities in P1 and P3
The Year 1 PLP experiences were shared by the teachers or by
the 1+2 Development Officer on their behalf at the annual WLC 1+2 Conference
for lead language learners in May 2019.
The stories shared were well received by colleagues across
Then, in Term 1 2019-20, the new local authority 1+2
Development Officer, who had been involved the previous year as a teacher and
cluster languages lead, proposed an extension to the PLP that would build on
learning from Year 1.
In Year 1, schools worked on self-contained projects under
the umbrella theme of strengthening literacy skills across languages. In Year 2, schools closely collaborated on
one project that developed reading and performance skills in the target
language with an element of pupil leadership.
Three of the schools involved in Year 1 worked together in
the Year 2 project. French was the
additional language taught in all three. This time, to establish parameters
from the outset, a PLP agreement document was drawn up between all partners
outlining the roles, responsibilities that each partner could commit. This became a working document that was
revisited and amended as necessary during the project.
Anonymised PLP agreement.