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N5 Gaelic (Learners) course

20 May 2019 (eSgoil/SCILT)

Would your pupils like to learn Scotland’s oldest living language with like-minded pupils from across Scotland?

eSgoil, in partnership with SCILT, are offering a course specially designed for Senior Phase pupils across Scotland who do not currently have the opportunity to learn Gaelic in their own school. It will be delivered in real-time by a qualified teacher, using the browser-based VScene web-conferencing platform.

The Nat 5 Gaelic (Learners) Course is an exciting opportunity to learn Scotland’s native language in an innovative way.

More information is available in the attached flyer.  Register through the link below by 31 May 2019.


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Student mentors help pupils say ‘si’ to GCSE languages

18 May 2019 (The Guardian)

It is a question arguably more fiendish than mastering the French subjunctive or the thousands of characters in Mandarin. How can schools halt – and even reverse – the swift decline of languages at GCSE and beyond?

Now a pilot project may have found the answer. A report published today finds that numbers of pupils choosing to take a foreign language can be dramatically increased by mentoring from undergraduates who have chosen to specialise in the subject at university.

Independent analysis of a government-funded pilot in 10 Sheffield secondary schools found that more than half of participating pupils said they would take a language GCSE as a result of mentoring by undergraduates. The study showed that the programme also boosted take-up among pupils who were not mentored: GCSE entries this year for languages across schools in the Sheffield pilot are up 43% on 2018.


Applications to train as language teachers up by a fifth

17 May 2019 (TES)

The number of applications from people wishing to train as language teachers has risen by 22 per cent in a year, according to the latest data. 

Applications for Spanish teacher training were up 21 per cent this April compared to the same time last year, from 1,400 to 1,700, according to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

And applications for French teacher training rose by 14 per cent, from 1,610 to 1,840, while German teacher training applications rose by 16 per cent from 770 to 890. The number of people wanting to become trainee Mandarin teachers also rose – from 120 to 320.

(Log in required to read full article)


Scottish Languages Employability Award consultation

16 May 2019 (SCILT/CISS)

SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages is seeking the opinion of all key stakeholders regarding its planned Scottish Languages Employability Award.

The Scottish Languages Employability Award is planned to supersede SCILT’s successful Business Language Champions programme and provide an accredited award for innovative schools and employers working in partnership to develop and strengthen the links between languages and employability in Scotland.

SCILT would like to hear from teachers at all stages, employers, parents and any other interested stakeholders, about their thoughts and suggestions on the planned Award through a quick on-line survey.

A consultation draft of the Award and its criteria is available to view within the survey. You can access the survey and the draft via the link below.

The consultation finishes on Tuesday 28th May.


Itchy Coo to translate Matilda into Scots

16 May 2019 (The Bookseller)

Roald Dahl’s Matilda will be translated into its 50th language this summer after Itchy Coo, an imprint of Black and White Publishing, signed a Scots language deal. Campbell Brown, m.d. of Black and White, acquired world Scots language rights from Allison Cole at David Higham Associates and the book will be translated by Glaswegian author Anne Donovan. Publication is set for July.


Posted in: Primary, Scots

‘French for Families’ Case Study is now live!

14 May 2019 (SCILT)

In the second case study focused on engaging parents and families, read about the collaboration between Fife Council and PowerLanguage to develop and pilot an online course for children and their families in nine schools.


New sign language manual launched – complete with dialect words

14 May 2019 (The Shetland Times)

A new manual to help children and adults with communication difficulties has been launched for the isles.

“Signalong” is a key word-signing system, based on British Sign Language, in which adapted signs are used alongside speech to support communication.

This new manual has been developed to provide an image bank of over 250 signs, many of which have a Shetland flavour, including new signs for puffin, ferry, knitting, fiddle and Up-Helly-A’.

The manual has been developed by Signalong tutor Susie Fox, an additional support needs (ASN) teacher at Bell’s Brae Primary School in Lerwick, who has worked closely with the national communications charity.


Survey on parental engagement

14 May 2019 (SCILT)

At SCILT, we recognise the key benefits of engaging parents and families in their child's language learning. We would like to gather and share examples of the different approaches taken by schools to engage with  families to support and  encourage language learning  in school and at home.


French summer courses for children and adults

13 May 2019 (Alliance Française Glasgow )

Registration for French summer courses for children and adults is now open!

Early Bird discount until 23 May 2019.


The Stephen Spender Prize 2019 and Polish Spotlight 2019

13 May 2019 (Stephen Spender Trust)

The 2019 Stephen Spender Prize for poetry in translation is open for entries. The categories for the main prize are 14-and-under, 18-and-under and Open (adult).

We are also delighted to be running our 'Polish Spotlight' for a second year, with a special prize for translation from Polish in the categories 10-and-under, 14-and-under and 18-and-under.

The entry deadline for both competitions is Friday 12 July.

Follow the appropriate link below for more information about each of the competitions and how to enter.

Modern language teaching ‘under threat from tough exams’

11 May 2019 (Guardian)

The exams regulator in England, Ofqual, is “killing off” modern languages by failing to address the excessive difficulty of language GCSE and A-level exams, according to more than 150 academics.


Highland 1+2 BSL Introductory Pack

10 May 2019 (Highland)

A pack that has been developed by the Highland Deaf Education Service as part of Highland’s 1+2 L3 programme.

The pack takes the form of a USB sick and contains Lesson Plans, resources, video clips, activities, board items etc. It is designed to be used by staff who are not fluent signers and there are lots of teaching pointers contained in it. We believe it is the first of its kind and we have not seen anything like this for BSL.

We have had incredible feedback from schools in Highland. We piloted it in 2017/18 and rolled it out to schools who had taken up the training  in 2018/19. Staff say the resource is extremely easy to use and their pupils are loving it! The  appeal is so widespread some secondary schools are also using it.

More information is available in the attached flyer. Please note there is a cost for the pack and for associated training.

Related Files

Supporting Japanese language and culture in Scottish schools - survey

10 May 2019 (Japanese Language Group)

The Japanese Language Group has been meeting for a number of years and has been instrumental in organising two youth conferences in Aberdeen and in Fife. In collaboration with the Japan Foundation, Edinburgh University and The Japanese Consulate in Edinburgh we have managed to organise numerous events and promoted many more, e.g. teacher CLPL and cultural events.

We are looking for a clear steer in what people are looking for in our small group and where and what we can organise to help others promote Japanese language and culture and would like to gather feedback from schools through the link below.

For further information, please contact Petra McLay.



The lack of languages in Curriculum for Excellence undermines Scotland's claims to internationalism

10 May 2019 (Holyrood)

If the worst thing anyone said about my Swedish pronunciation was that it sounded a wee bit stilted, I’d be very happy.

Yet when Spiked editor Brendan O’Neill recently criticised teenage climate campaigner Greta Thunberg for having a “monotone voice”, he failed to notice that, apart from having Asperger’s, she is also speaking a foreign language.

And speaking it very well indeed. Her English, which she is brave enough to use publicly, conversing with world leaders, on stages in front of huge crowds and on TV, is impeccable.

And while the extent of Thunberg’s public platform is not normal, her second language ability is.


Bilingualism Matters Newsletter

10 May 2019 (Bilingualism Matters)

Read the latest Bilingualism Matters Newsletter:

  • Information of the Bilingualism Matters annual event
  • Latest research
  • Blog posts


Posted in: Bilingualism

French Pop Video Competition - shortlist announced

10 May 2019 (Francophonie UK)

Congratulations to the regional winners of the French Pop Video Competition and to all the participating schools for their talent and hard work! National winners will be announced by 3 June 2019. Watch the shortlisted entries through the link below, including Carrick Academy's entry, 'Je suis'.


National event marks commitment to BSL

9 May 2019 (Scottish Funding Council)

For the first time all Scottish colleges, universities and specialist institutions have published British Sign Language (BSL) plans, ahead of the October 2019 target set by Scottish Ministers in the 2017-23 BSL National Plan.

BSL plans set out how institutions will support students who use BSL, with clear and measurable commitment to improvement where necessary. The plans are reviewed annually by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) to make sure inequalities are addressed.


First as journal publishes university research in Scots

9 May 2019 (The National)

Aberdeen University has achieved a first in modern academia by submitting scientific research in the Scots language.

The move was praised by The National’s Scots columnist Alistair Heather, pictured, who said the university is leading the “Scot-language renaissance”.


Could refugees help to solve the post Brexit language skills deficit?

8 May 2019 (Forbes)

Brexit unquestionably demands that Britain builds its linguistic prowess in order to maintain present levels of international trade and cooperation. As an island of monoglots, losing the wealth of language skills and cultural knowledge currently possessed by our EU citizens as they predictably abandon or avoid our country in future is likely to make us poorer in both monetary and non-monetary terms.

Recruiters already predict that finding candidates with the language skills necessary to conduct business with the EU, our largest trading partner, will be more difficult after Brexit. Britain's dire lack of European language skills is so acute that the government was recently unable to accurately translate its own Brexit proposal into German.


Teachers ‘lack understanding’ of the benefits of learning languages

8 May 2019 (TES)

It is a 'myth' that British people are just bad at languages and that MFL subjects are more difficult, MSPs are told.


Can you learn a language playing video games? What the research says

8 May 2019 (The Conversation)

Online gaming has become a concern for some parents in the past few years and there are worries children might become addicted, with negative effects on their socialisation. This has led some parents to think of creative ways to reduce gaming, including rationing the time children spend online.


Creating an inclusive school environment

25 April 2019 (British Council)

Teachers interested in creating an inclusive school environment should download British Council's new free resource.


Beyond the Panda resources

25 April 2019 (RZSS)

Beyond the Panda's website has supporting material for the China Mobile Library 'panda packs', containing information on how to play the games; answers, follow-on materials, mini course and much more.

The first part of the website provides general information and lesson plans on the giant panda project - Project History; Planning for Pandas and Meet the Panda team. The second part is Mandarin related - China Mobile Library; Endangered Species; Panda Pass It On; Zoo Fun with Mandarin and Additional Resources. All of these are free to download and now include sound files for all the associated words, phrases and sentences within the primary resources. (The secondary sound file vocabulary will follow later in year.) Please see the Beyond the Panda website.

There is also a premium section which gives you access to download the actual panda pack games and activities. Primary access is £30 and Secondary also £30. 

For primary there are expert visits, which is an outreach related to the games in the panda pack, and these are free of charge. Contact Sandie Robb, RZSS Language Project Coordinator to book or for further information. 


French classes in Glasgow

23 April 2019 (Alliance Française)

The Alliance Française in Glasgow is now taking enrolments for their summer classes taking place between June and September. Click on the relevant link below for more information and to register.

For more information about the organisation's activities, visit the Alliance Française website. 


The Unuhi Short Story Writing Competition 2019

15 April 2019 (Unuhi)

Calling all school children around the world! Write a short story and become a published author on Unuhi.
Closes 7 June 2019
Enter as a class or an individual

We are inviting primary school classes worldwide to enter our short story writing & illustrating competition where the winning story will be translated, professionally illustrated and published on the Unuhi app for the world to read!

The competition is open to all primary school aged (5-11years old). Entries are accepted from anywhere in the world via primary schools only.

Entries will be reviewed by our panel of judges who will select the winning story based on creativity, plot, originality, enjoyment and how well the story lends itself to illustration and translation.

Unuhi is a new bilingual books app for children. Launched in late 2018, the app offers short stories and flashcards for children aged 2 -10 years. Twenty languages are supported and the app displays any two of these on screen at the same time in a child friendly bilingual eBook format. Native audio narration is currently available in English, Spanish, French and German.

At Unuhi we love original content and we are always looking for a new story to add to the app for the world to enjoy.

Unuhi Story Competition Rules 202019


Inviting nominations for the German Teacher Award 2019

7 May 2019 (German Embassy)

If you know a truly outstanding German language teacher at your primary or secondary school – make sure that their dedication and excellence get the recognition they deserve!

The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany is pleased to invite nominations for the annual German Teacher Award, now in its 16th successful year. 

Visit the German Embassy website for more information and the nomination form. Submission deadline extended to 21 May 2019.

Please note that headteachers must nominate the German teacher; unfortunately applications by German teachers submitted by themselves and applications submitted by pupils cannot be accepted.


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.


Latest News

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N5 Gaelic (Learners) course More...

Student mentors help pupils say ‘si’ to GCSE languages More...

Applications to train as language teachers up by a fifth More...

Scottish Languages Employability Award consultation More...