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Schools: Fit for the Future with German

9 July 2019 (German Embassy London)

Calling all head teachers in the UK!

The Germany Embassy London is organising a fully-funded information tour to Germany from 22-26 October 2019 titled ‘Schools: Fit for the Future with German’. 

To register interest and receive an information pack, please email

Application deadline is 15 August 2019. 

Brexit 'hitting foreign languages in schools'

3 July 2019 (BBC)

Brexit is causing poorer children to fall further behind in learning foreign languages, says the British Council.

Parents in disadvantaged areas are telling teachers languages will be less useful after Brexit, it says.

It warns that GCSEs and A-level languages in England are seen as being hard subjects in which to get a good grade.

The government said the overall picture for language learning in England was improving.


Related Links

Brexit 'putting pupils off modern foreign languages' (The Guardian, 3 July 2019)

Young culinary and linguistic talents celebrated

21 June 2019 (SCILT)

Thirty-one young learners from across Scotland cooked up a storm on Friday 14 June 2019 at the City of Glasgow College, testing their culinary and language skills in the LinguaChef 2019 competition final. Dunblane High School were crowned as winners in the Secondary category. Glasgow Academy Milngavie were winners in the P1-P4 category, whilst Doune Primary took the honours in the P5-P7 age group.

The competition is a partnership project from Scotland’s National Centre for Languages (SCILT) and City of Glasgow College. It brings together languages and food, challenging primary and secondary school pupils to create an international dish from a country whose language they are learning in school, or which is spoken at home.

Participating schools entered the recipe for the dish, including ingredients and instructions, in both the language of the chosen country and in English. Finalists from each of the age categories (P1-P4, P5-P7 and Secondary) were selected to attend the Grand Final where they prepared, cooked and presented their dish to professional chefs and judges.

One teacher said of the competition: “It was an excellent experience for pupils to see the college facilities and to engage with cooking and language skills.”

A participating pupil added: “I liked that it gave us a chance to have a conversation in French and to work in a team.”

Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT, said: “Food is a fundamental part of any culture and is inextricably linked with language. Much of the vocabulary used in English to describe food originates in other parts of the world. Words from other languages, such as chef, cuisine, pizza, tapas, paella and frankfurter are all commonplace and English speakers feel particularly comfortable with them. It is therefore very fitting to see our children and young people exploring culture and deepening their language skills while developing their understanding of food, its origins and preparation. The competition provides another great example of the cross-sector work going on in the languages community in Scottish schools, colleges and universities and we are thrilled to be working with our colleagues from City of Glasgow College in this initiative.”

As activities heated up in the kitchen, dishes from France, Greece, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and South America were produced, celebrating culinary and cultural diversity.

The pupils got the chance to discuss their dish with the judges, both in English and the target language, and decorated their presentation table with artefacts representing the country and culture.

Winners were selected based on the culinary success of their dish, presentation and table display and the ability to discuss their recipe in the target language. The successful teams were awarded a trophy. All participants at the event received a certificate and goody bag.

LinguaChef is an annual competition that provides pupils in primary and secondary schools across Scotland with an opportunity to have fun with food and languages whilst honing other important skills such as team-work, communication and IT.

Entries were submitted from schools in East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Shetland, Stirling and West Lothian.

Photos from LinguaChef 2019

Find out more about the event and winning recipes on the SCILT website.

OU/SCILT primary languages course

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)

New for 2019-20! SCILT series of professional learning webinars

24 May 2019 (SCILT)

New for session 2019/20, a series of SCILT professional learning webinars.

These webinars offer an alternative to our face-to-face workshops. Practitioners may wish to get together to participate in the live streaming of events which will include opportunities for online discussion. Alternatively, the recorded version can be used as a stimulus for collegiate discussion, in-service days or as part of individual practitioners’ professional development.

Registration will be advertised via the weekly SCILT e-bulletin and on the National Modern Languages Hub prior to these publicised dates.

  • Glow login will be required
  • Recordings will be available to watch again on National ML Hub under the Anytime Learning tab

Keep an eye on our e-bulletin and social media channels for details of how to register for these webinars in the new session. 

Related Files

Book now for 2019-20! SCILT professional learning menu

24 May 2019 (SCILT)

The SCILT professional learning menu 2019-20 is now available for booking online! 

Remember all of our professional learning sessions are free to book by teachers and local authorities. You find a date and a venue and get in touch with us. 

Participants last year said:

  • The presenter was very helpful and answered all our questions. I feel more confident now.’ (Teacher, East Dunbartonshire) 
  • It was succinct and gave teachers opportunities to compare experiences and share ideas about how to teach the course.’ (Teacher, East Lothian)

To request SCILT input in your school or local authority, please complete the online form via the link below.

Additionally, look out for our newly published series of webinars, running throughout the year. 


How does switching between languages impact your body?

18 February 2019 (Euronews)

UAE-based researchers are exploring how switching between languages affects the body and brain.

PhD student Blanco-Elorrieta uses a neuro-imaging technique called Magnetoencephalography to measure how much brain power is exerted when test subjects change between languages.

The areas of the brain predominantly used in language expression are the prefrontal cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex.

Blanco-Elorrieta discovered that when the group naturally alternated between Arabic and English both brain areas showed almost no signs of activity. However, if they were instructed to translate from one language to the other, both cortexes became highly engaged.

The researcher performed tests over two years with about 20 native bilingual speakers.

According to Blanco-Elorrieta, the findings reveal that the brain perceives a specific translation task as ‘harder’ than when the subject instinctively switches language.


Oral Revision Courses: Higher and Advanced Higher French

1 December 2017 (Alliance Française Glasgow )

The AF Glasgow will be running special revision courses for pupils who are sitting their Higher and Advanced Higher French oral examinations in early 2018.


Threlford Memorial Cup 2017 - Call for nominations now open

26 May 2017 (Chartered Institute of Linguists)

Do you know someone who's done something truly amazing for language learning?

Chartered Institute of Linguists is looking for nominations for the Threlford Memorial Cup 2017. The Cup is presented annually to a person, an organisation, or for a project that has inspired others with an original language initiative. The Cup will be presented by Royal Patron HRH Prince Michael of Kent at our Awards Evening in London in November.

The deadline for nominations is Friday 28 July 2017.


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Schools: Fit for the Future with German More...

Brexit 'hitting foreign languages in schools' More...

Young culinary and linguistic talents celebrated More...

OU/SCILT primary languages course More...