News View

Scotland would be biggest loser from abolition of Erasmus scheme after Brexit

24 March 2019 (The Herald)

A 30-year-old student exchange programme that faces the axe after Brexit disproportionately benefits students from Scottish universities, according to new figures. 

More students north of the Border choose to study and train in the EU through the Erasmus scheme than in nine other areas of the UK.

The Erasmus programme, which was set up in 1987, allows students to study or acquire skills in another EU country.

The Prime Minister’s Chequers agreement promised to “explore participation” in the scheme, but it was not mentioned in the political declaration on the future relationship with the EU that May negotiated.


Revealed: Prince William Can Speak Five Foreign Languages

24 March 2019 (The Cheat Sheet)

Albeit not a requirement, learning a foreign language is common in the royal family. Even Prince George and Princess Charlotte are already on their way to becoming bilingual — and they have quite the built-in tutor. Prince William is one of the most impressive linguists in the royal family and allegedly knows at least five foreign languages (some of which he is fluent in!). 

Just like his children, Prince William started learning a foreign language at a young age — partly because his father wanted him to be fluent in Welsh before becoming the Prince of Wales. But while some members of the royal family know one or two languages, the Duke of Cambridge has them beat with five (and possibly more). What languages does Prince William speak?  


Doric rules for Matthew during BCHS visit

23 March 2019 (Grampian Online)

Top Scottish author, translator and Scots language champion Matthew Fitt made a marvellous return visit to Moray secondary schools as part of their World Book Day celebrations.

During his two day tour of Moray, March 4-5 Matthew visited five secondary schools (Buckie, Keith, Milne's, Elgin Academy and Forres) and led seven sessions of book talks and Scots language writing workshops with pupils.

His book talks involved him telling pupils about his work as an author and translator of books into Scots. 


Erasmus gave me an opportunity I would never otherwise have had

22 March 2019 (The Guardian)

Joining the tremendously long list of downsides to the UK’s imminent departure from the European Union is the possible loss of the Erasmus programme, an exchange scheme that has given more than 3 million students the chance to study in 37 countries since 1987. Of course, there are many other exchange schemes across the world, but the majority require the student to have several thousand pounds spare for tuition, accommodation and so on.

Losing Erasmus is another devastating blow for the social mobility of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Not only are they about to lose the freedom to live and work in the EU, they have also lost incredible opportunities to immerse themselves in another culture and build invaluable skills, which research has proven sets them up for the world of work much better than their peers who don’t undertake Erasmus placements.


Travels have made me ashamed of being monolingual British

22 March 2019 (The Herald)

After two weeks in South America conversing with a wide range of fellow European travellers, I’ve never been more sheepish when answering the question, “Where do you live?”

The saving grace was my Scottish accent. To a one, all my conversational companions pointed out – kindly, to buck me up – that Scotland had not voted for Brexit.

At a tango class in Buenos Aires my Portuguese dance partner gave quite the impassioned lecture on independence. He could not comprehend leaving the EU.


Building with lingo – can your families help to promote languages?

22 March 2019 (SCILT)

SCILT is inviting families to share how they learn languages together through films or pictures in our Building with Lingo competition. Winners will have their work uploaded onto the SCILT website to inspire other families to learn languages together.

In addition, SCILT will award a family prize and class prize in each category of the competition:

  • Early years
  • P1-P3
  • P4-P7

Further details of the prizes are at the bottom of this page. Many thanks to the organisations who are generously supporting this competition!

How to enter

There are two ways to enter the competition:

  1. Families can create a video, maximum length one minute, demonstrating how they learn languages together. We have included some examples below.
  2. Families can take a photo of some work they have created together, and submit this with a short description of how they learn languages together.

Families should upload their entry onto Twitter and include the hashtag #buildingwithlingo together with the stage they are entering (early years, P1-P3, P4-P7). Videos will not need any further information, but pictures and photos must be accompanied by a description.

Remember the maximum characters allowed on Twitter is 280.

Entries should be uploaded by midnight on 3 May 2019.

Winners will be contacted by SCILT through Twitter after that date.

Twitter accounts need to be ‘public’ for SCILT to view entries. Parents/carers/families should bear this in mind and be comfortable with their children being visible on social media.

Winners will have their work uploaded onto the SCILT website. Parents/carers/families should bear this in mind and be comfortable with their children being visible on our website.

Entries from bilingual families demonstrating use of their mother tongue will not be eligible. However, families whose mother tongue is not English may demonstrate how they learn English together.


Watch Jennifer count in the video below:

Follow this link to watch this example of Matthew counting garage doors in French.


Many thanks to the organisations who are generously supporting this competition!

Early years class prize

Bilingual puppet session from Le Petit Monde

Goodie pack from KidslingoEarly years family prize

Goodie pack and voucher from Kidslingo
Kidslingo teddy bear, Spanish songs CD, 2 exclusive Kidslingo & My Busy Bots activity packs, Lil'Ollo starter kit of  4 sets flashcards, a colouring bundle (digital) and games guide e-book plus a voucher for a FREE 6-8 week block of Kidslingo classes (subject to location and availability – there is no cash alternative to this prize).

P1-P3 class prize

Bilingual games and songs from SCILT 

P1-P3 family prize

Goodie pack and voucher from Kidslingo 
Spanish songs CD, 2 exclusive Kidslingo & My Busy Bots activity packs, Lil'Ollo A1 world map and map activity kit, bilingual storybook plus a voucher for a FREE 6-8 week block of Kidslingo classes (subject to location and availability – there is no cash alternative to this prize).

P4-P7 class prize

1/2 day workshop from  Theatre Sans Accents

P4-P7 family prize

Place at Articulate Languages Launch Camp (2-day residential) 


Major study of Scots vocabulary being launched by University of Aberdeen

21 March 2019 (BBC)

A major new linguistic survey of the Scots vocabulary is being launched, in a bid to help preserve the language.

Researchers at the University of Aberdeen will lead what they describe as the first comprehensive appraisal of the language to be conducted since the 1950s.

It will cover Scots as well as what is known as Ulster-Scots.

The project - said to be a "huge undertaking" - is expected to take many years to complete.


Go Global! Theatre languages show for primary pupils

21 March 2019 (North Ayrshire Council)

Go Global in North Ayrshire

Take a Culture and Creative Team, a 1+2 Team and a Children’s Theatre Company and what do you get?  ‘Go Global’, a theatre show specifically designed for primary school pupils based on the 1+2 Languages Approach covering phrases in French, Spanish, Mandarin, Gaelic and Scots tongue.

It was all aboard The McDougalls Tour Bus as hundreds of pupils from across North Ayrshire made their way to the Harbour Arts Centre to join Max, Auntie Aggie and a host of magical characters on a globetrotting musical mission to learn the lingo!

From the Highlands of Scotland, to the Mountains of China, from Sunny Spain to a fancy French Cafe, pupils and teachers joined the gang on the trip of a lifetime, packed with original music and some well-known singalong songs.

One parent commented: “That was absolutely brilliant! We need more shows like this, teaching our children about places around the world.”

Creative director Ruairidh Forde said, “We had great fun performing for two weeks at the Harbour Arts Centre. We welcomed early years and school groups who participated fully with the action and adventure. Through working in partnership with the Harbour Arts Centre, we were able to produce a memorable and educational live theatre experience for the young people.”

The musical show is set to tour primary schools in Scotland from April 2019. See the attached flyer for booking information.

Scotland 2019 Tour Dates

East, South and North Ayrshire 15-18 April

North Lanarkshire and East Renfrewshire 29 April - 3rd May

Fife 7-10 May

Inverclyde 13-17 May

East Lothian 19-23 Aug

Highland 26-30 Aug

Dumfries and Galloway 1-4 Oct

Renfrewshire 7-10 Oct

Midlothian/West Lothian/Edinburgh 4-8 Nov

Aberdeen 11-15 Nov

Related Files

Highland tourism businesses embark on innovative programme to cater for Mandarin speaking visitors

20 March 2019 (Press and Journal)

Tourism businesses from across the Highlands are returning to the classroom to improve communication with an increasing number of Chinese visitors.

In total, 15 companies from across the Highlands have signed up to the online pilot teaching course to help their organisations to capitalise on the influx of visitors to the area.

The Instant Mandarin online teaching programme has been supported by some of China’s best known educational establishments and provides one-to-one tuition for users via its online resource.

Kevin Diao, Instant Mandarin’s founder, said: “We are looking forward to working closely with Scottish businesses to help them to easily learn and understand more about the world’s most widely spoken language.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to bring some of the world’s most qualified Mandarin teachers directly into the homes and workplaces of those who engage with Chinese tourists on a daily basis, improving both the visitor experience and ultimately business performance with one of the world’s fastest-growing consumer markets.”


Bawbag, bam and hee-haw added to Oxford English dictionary

20 March 2019 (The National)

From arts to science, from culture to food and drink, Scotland has made an indelible mark on the world.

Scottish languages, too, have contributed to our unique cultural heritage.

And now the charm of the Scots language is being brought to a wider audience as the Oxford English Dictionary adds an array of words to its latest edition.

A range of Scots words, including bawbag, bampot and hee-haw, are being added to the principle historical dictionary of the English language.

Among some of the other words in the latest update are fantoosh (an adjective used to portray someone who is flashy, stylish, fashionable and exotic, often used disparagingly, implying ostentation or pretentiousness); bide-in or bidie-in (a person who lives with his or her partner in a non-marital relationship); baffies (meaning slippers, bealach, meaning mountain pass, bosie, used to describe a person’s bosom or a cuddle, hug) and coorie (often used alongside down or in and meaning to crouch, stoop or keep low or to snuggle or nestle).


Children who live in bilingual environment show better attention control

20 March 2019 (Devdiscourse)

According to a recent study, children who live in homes where two languages are spoken have shown better attention control than kids in a monolingual family. Infants who sense more than one language show better attention control than the infants who hear only one language. This proved that exposure to a bilingual environment can be a significant factor in the early development of attention in infancy says the study published in the journal Developmental Science.

"By studying infants, a population that does not yet speak any language, we discovered that the real difference between monolingual and bilingual individuals later in life is not in the language itself, but rather, in the attention system used to focus on language. "This study tells us that from the very earliest stage of development, the networks that are the basis for developing attention are forming differently in infants who are being raised in a bilingual environment. Why is that important? It's because attention is the basis for all cognition," said Ellen Bialystok, co-author of the study.


Why French Will Remain The "Other" Global Language

20 March 2019 (World Crunch)

According to the projections of The International Organization of La Francophone, the language of Molière will retain its status in the next half-century thanks to the demographic growth of Africa.

Molière would be happy. Fifty years from now, French will be spoken by 477 to 747 million people around the world, according to estimates from the annual report of The International Organization of La Francophonie (OFI), published this month. The forecast is a major jump from the 300 million French speakers today, thanks to the growing population of the African continent, who make up two-thirds of the planet's francophones.

French would thus remain behind English as the second truly global language in the world — spoken on four continents (North America, Europe, Africa, Oceania) — if one takes into account that Chinese is primarily spoken in one country, and that Spanish is practiced on two continents, and that many different languages are spoken within the Arabic federations. Today, French is the sole official language in 14 countries and co-official language in 17 other countries. Its status as the dominant language in education, public administration, media, or trade in some 50 countries provides a significant advantage to businesses within Francophone countries, since they have an advantage over their competitors faced with a language barrier.


Pupils who learn lessons in Gaelic come top of the class

20 March 2019 (The Herald)

An ever-present amongst the top schools in Scotland over the past few years has been the Glasgow Gaelic School.

This year is no exception with the school coming top for council-run state schools in Glasgow and tenth overall after 68 per cent of school-leavers secured five or more Highers.

Although located to the west of the city centre, the school is unusual because its catchment area covers the whole of Glasgow and all lessons are taught through the medium of Gaelic.

When the secondary opened in 2006 it only had 33 pupils, but there are now 343 and numbers are growing.

Donalda McComb, the school’s headteacher, said the bilingual nature of the education on offer helped boost attainment and provided a special atmosphere.


News Release: New Grammatical Guidance for Gaelic

19 March 2019 (Bòrd na Gàidhlig / University of Glasgow)

Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the University of Glasgow have today (19 March 2019) published new grammatical guidance to help aid Gaelic speakers, including teachers, broadcasters and other Gaelic professionals.

The 27-page document is the first attempt to draft collaborative grammatical guidance for today’s users with input from Gaelic language professionals, traditional speakers, and academic linguists.

The guidance will benefit all people who are working with Gaelic or learning Gaelic by providing a comprehensive, authoritative source of acceptable usage in modern Scottish Gaelic, and will provide the foundations for future work on a comprehensive grammar of the language.

The new resource, hosted by the University of Glasgow’s Digital Archive of Scottish Gaelic (DASG), covers 11 of the most challenging topics in Gaelic grammar as identified by a survey of Gaelic language professionals and teachers.

It was drawn up in response to a wide-ranging consultation project in 2013 (Dlùth is Inneach) in which Gaelic users and learners identified access to reliable guidance on modern Gaelic grammar as one of their most important needs.


Authors lined up for first Soutar Festival

19 March 2019 (Daily Record)

A stellar line-up of best-selling authors has been announced for a new literary festival in Perth.

Authors Alex Gray, Bernard MacLaverty, Ajay Close and Douglas Skelton will all be part of the line-up for the inaugural Soutar Festival of Words next month.

The weekend-long festival will celebrate Scots language, Gaelic and contemporary Scottish culture at a number of venues across the city, such as AK Bell Library, Perth Museum and Art Gallery and St John’s Kirk.

Running from Friday, April 26 until Sunday, April 28, over 20 events will be held, including poetry slam, children’s events, music and a chance to try out creative writing.


The Future Of Language Learning Is Coming Soon From Volangua

19 March 2019 (PR Underground)

Announcing the launch of Volangua. Created by a collective of professionals from the language education sector, with a mission to make learning a language accessible to everyone, Volangua aims to change the way people access and participate in language courses. 

Volangua is a comparison site at its core, built by professionals from the foreign language industry. It uses advanced refine options and reviews to present objective information on its schools and the ability to book directly from its site.

Volangua will offer direct access to language schools for students around the world. The platform automates the booking process and makes the search and process of enrolling students easier.

Francisco Santos Founder of Volangua said, “Comparison websites are helping millions of people to travel, buy insurance or find their next home, but no one offers comparisons for language course using our tech, despite the popularity of learning a new language. We want to make learning a new language accessible to everyone. We want to bring tech to learning a language, that’s where Volangua sees an opportunity, to connect users with schools and course suited to their needs.”


Spring break revision courses

19 March 2019 (Alliance Française)

There are still some spaces available on the semi-intensive revision courses running 8-12 April for Secondary School pupils and University students who are due to sit their French examinations in 2019.

Visit the Alliance Française website for more information and to register.


Erasmus scheme in chaos as UK students left in limbo

19 March 2019 (The Guardian)

The 17,000 students about to do a year abroad face huge uncertainty over funding and accommodation

For Alice Watkins, a Manchester University student, a year in Paris, then Madrid, as part of her degree was a dream. Now, with the turmoil of Brexit, she is preparing to arrive in France this summer with nowhere to live and no idea whether the money will still be there to support her.

“It’s horrible not knowing,” Watkins says. “We’ve been told to take at least £1,200 of our own cash to cover us for the first six weeks, and that we can’t realistically sort any accommodation before we arrive. Turning up abroad with nowhere to live is a big stress.”

Last Wednesday the European parliament voted to guarantee funding for UK students already studying abroad on the Erasmus+ student exchange programme, in the event of a no-deal Brexit on 29 March. It also promised to continue supporting European students already in the UK on the scheme.

But uncertainty hangs over the 17,000 British students who had planned to study in Europe under Erasmus+ from this September. A technical note, published by the government at the end of January, failed to guarantee any funding for the scheme if Britain leaves the EU with no deal.

Watkins, like many language students, regards a period living and studying in Europe as a crucial part of her degree in French and Spanish. “We are people who plan to live and work abroad in the future. We were too young to vote in the referendum and we are the ones whose future is being affected. It’s all such a mess,” she says.


Higher Gaelic (Learners) @ James Gillespie’s High School Learn Scotland’s oldest living language in the heart of Scotland’s capital

19 March 2019 (James Gillespie's High School)

James Gillespie’s High School has long been a centre of excellence for Gaelic Medium Education in Edinburgh, and is now delighted to offer Gaelic (Learners) Higher to school pupils in the senior phase across Edinburgh and Lothian in the travel column for Session 2019/20. James Gillespie’s High School staff, in a supportive, yet immersive and intensive environment, will deliver this course.

Knowledge of Gaelic opens up many opportunities for young people in employment, music, culture and history and allows pupils to progress towards further study at college or university. Previous Gaelic (Learner) students who have travelled to James Gillespie’s High School have gone on to fluency, and gained many awards, including National Gaelic Learner of the Year.

This course may be of particular interest to those pupils who have already studied a language at Higher level, have some prior knowledge of Gaelic, or are involved in traditional music.

If you, or someone you know, would be interested in taking part in this exciting opportunity, contact Jeff Warden, Depute Head Teacher at James Gillespie’s High School.                       

0131 447 1900

Language taster days at King's College London

18 March 2019 (King's College London)

Pupils considering undergraduate study from September 2020 are invited to attend taster events at King's College London. As well as the opportunity to experience what it's like to study at the college, students will learn about the courses, meet current students and lecturers and take part in language taster sessions. Follow the appropriate link below to find out more about each event:

Each option provides a pathway for those already undertaking a language qualification and for those who have no prior knowledge of another language.

Brexit has made me afraid of speaking my native language in the UK

15 March 2019 (Metro)

When I first came to the UK in 2005, I was shocked to see so many people of different backgrounds living together peacefully.

On the first day, when my uncle picked me up at Stratford station, I was crying because I was so overwhelmed. Before I came here, I had never seen a black person or a woman wearing a headscarf. Suddenly, I wasn’t different anymore – I could walk down the street and nobody harassed me.

During my first days in the country, I went into a shop and was greeted with ‘How are you my darling?’. I felt like I was in heaven.


Grants for teacher trainer seminar in Berlin

15 March 2019 (Goethe-Institut)

The Goethe-Institut London offers grants for a Deutsch Lehren Lernen (DLL) course for teacher trainers of German in the UK. Deutsch Lehren Lernen (DLL) is the successful blended learning CPD tool for teachers of German and we are looking for new trainers for the programme.

Applicants should be active teacher trainers in the UK and be willing to train other teachers on the DLL modules and act as DLL ambassadors. Condition for the grant is participation in the course in Berlin from 27 October – 2 November 2019. as well as full participation in the 3-week-online period beforehand.

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information and to apply by 30 April 2019.


Work-shadowing week in Schwäbisch Hall, Germany

15 March 2019 (Goethe-Institut)

We are pleased to announce our call for applications for a work-shadowing week in Schwäbisch Hall, Germany, from 19 October to 26 October 2019.

A number of companies and organisations in Schwäbisch Hall are happy to host students to introduce them to the world of work and help them understand the practical details of a profession. The students will have the opportunity to be part of a team in a small or medium sized company and use their language skills while taking part in the company’s daily operations. Participants will go to the work placement in the mornings, where an expert will accompany them on their introduction to a profession. In the afternoons, a cultural programme will help the participants to discover the local surroundings and to dive into German culture. 

Participants should be 16 or 17 years old with at least GCSE-level German.

Visit the Goethe-Institut website for more information.


Children's workshops and storytelling sessions

15 March 2019 (Puppet Animation Festival)

Le Petit Monde brings you a new puppet-making workshop based on the famous Aesop fable The Fox & The Crow! Aimed at 7-9 year olds, the workshop takes place at two Scottish venues during April 2019.

After a short introduction to the story, participants will make their own puppets out of old socks and then get to manipulate them before practising a few key French phrases from Tania’s own billingual version of the fable and re-enacting the story together. 

This workshop is accessible to non-French speakers. (Please note there is a small charge to attend).

There are other free events for children and young people available at Edinburgh and Lothian's libraries, including Polish Bookbug storytelling sessions.  

Visit the website for more information.


Masters level learning in Gaelic Medium Education (Streap)

15 March 2019 (University of Aberdeen)

Applications are now invited for this 60-credit programme on Gaelic Medium Education.

The programme is delivered by Aberdeen University and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, and is fully-funded by the Scottish Government. It is delivered over an academic year via blended learning, with three face-to-face inputs, telephone tutorials and online support and delivery.

Visit the University of Aberdeen website for more information.


Inviting nominations for the German Teacher Award 2019

14 March 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: 10 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.


‘We spoke English to set ourselves apart’: how I rediscovered my mother tongue

14 March 2019 (The Guardian)

While I was growing up in Nigeria, my parents deliberately never spoke their native Igbo language to us. But later it became an essential part of me.

[..] None of us children spoke Igbo, our local language. Unlike the majority of their contemporaries in our hometown, my parents had chosen to speak only English to their children. Guests in our home adjusted to the fact that we were an English-speaking household, with varying degrees of success. Our helps were also encouraged to speak English. Many arrived from their remote villages unable to utter a single word of the foreign tongue, but as the weeks rolled by, they soon began to string complete sentences together with less contortion of their faces. My parents also spoke to each other in English – never mind that they had grown up speaking Igbo with their families. On the rare occasion my father and mother spoke Igbo to each other, it was a clear sign that they were conducting a conversation in which the children were not supposed to participate.


Worldwide Napier magazine - Issue 3

13 March 2019 (Edinburgh Napier University)

The latest edition of the Worldwide Napier magazine is now available online.

The publication is designed to promote the study of modern languages and showcases articles written by students at Edinburgh Napier University on a range of topics relevant to young people. This not only makes the articles ideal for sharing with pupils in the language classroom, but for each edition the magazine editorial team invites secondary school pupils to submit contributions in Spanish, Italian, French or German on subjects they have an interest in. 


Why learning another language is still a sign of privilege

13 March 2019 (The Conversation)

There is a class divide in language education in England. Young people from working-class backgrounds in socially deprived areas are far less likely to choose, or have the opportunity, to study languages at secondary school, than their more affluent peers.

Foreign language learning is at its lowest level in UK secondary schools since the turn of the millennium – recent BBC analysis shows a drop of between 30% and 50% of students taking GCSE language courses in the worst affected areas in England.

But this is not a new claim. Researchers started to highlight a class divide emerging just after the Labour Party changed languages from being compulsory to optional at GCSE in 2007. Once languages no longer needed to feature on league tables, many schools dramatically reduced the number of students sitting language exams.

The Language Trends 2015 report found direct correlations between socioeconomic disadvantage and restricted access to languages. It was found that the schools in the most socially deprived areas excluded 17% of pupils from language study in key stage three (11-14 years-old) and 44% of pupils at key stage four (14-16 years-old).

Recent findings suggest things haven’t improved – 76% of students in selective schools sat a GCSE in a language compared with only 38% in sponsored academies. There is also a geographical divide appearing, with young people living in London and the south-east more likely to take a language at GCSE. All other areas in England have recorded a decline – and the north-east has been the worst affected.


Brexit: Why Scotland faces a slow decline

13 March 2019 (The Scotsman)

Brexit will not be a cliff but a long decline, with a steady trickling away of energy and vibrancy from Scotland, a country with closer cultural ties to Europe than you might think, writes Alistair Heather.

[..] More than genetics, more than common names bind us to our European neighbours. The very words in our mouths indicate our shared past and common present. The Scots language has common words in the Scandinavian language – such as ‘bairn’ for child and ‘braw’ for good – and in Ireland, our near European neighbour, Ulster Scots retains some vibrancy. Our own Scots Gaelic started life as the Ulster dialect of Irish, the shared languages evidence of endless Hiberno-Scottish relations. 

[..] There are many tens of thousands of new Scots who are absolutely European, and no vote will change that. The Polish, Baltic state, Romanian migrants and their children, many Scottish born, who make up chunks of our population are and will remain European. Their next generation will likely be at least bilingual, with one modern European language as a mother tongue. Much as the great Irish migrations have redoubled the connections between Scotland and Ireland, so too will the legacy of the more recent eastern European migrations culturally tether future Scots to those countries.

This is not an article in defence of the EU. This is an article in favour of open borders, of knowledge sharing, and of cooperation.


What Foreign Languages Are Members of the Royal Family Fluent In?

13 March 2019 (Cheat Sheet)

Albeit not a royal rule, learning a foreign language is highly recommended in the royal family. After all, much of their job involves traveling to different parts of the world, hosting world leaders, and giving speeches outside of the United Kingdom. And while many royal family members know enough of a foreign language to get by, some are full-on fluent.

Here are the languages members of the royal family have mastered. 


Modern languages and Gaelic hit by narrowing curriculum

12 March 2019 (Press and Journal)

A reduction in the range of subjects studied by secondary pupils has led to fewer children studying science and languages including Gaelic, it has been claimed.

Parents and teachers suggested the narrowing of the curriculum at S4 was a “catastrophe”, which harmed attainment and resulted in pupils making subject choices “too soon”, reducing the range of their education.

Submissions made to Holyrood’s Education Committee criticised a new three-year senior phase that has resulted in many schools cutting subject choices from eight to either six or seven.

Scotland’s national Gaelic centre Sabhal Mor Ostaig on Skye blamed narrowing of the secondary school curriculum for the language’s “severe” decline.


These are the benefits of learning a second language

12 March 2019 (World Economic Forum/European Sting)

There are many advantages to learning a second language. Some are fairly obvious. If you find yourself lost in a foreign country, being able to express yourself clearly could help lead you to your destination. Similarly, if your job requires you to travel you may find it easier to vault language and cultural barriers.

But there are other benefits that are not so immediately apparent. For example, learning another language could improve your all-round cognitive ability. It could help hone your soft skills, and even increase your mastery of your mother tongue, too.

Some studies have apparently identified a link between being multilingual and fending off the onset of dementia. Others indicate that being able to speak more than one language can help you become better at multitasking in other aspects of your daily life, too.


‘How learning a foreign language changed my life‘

12 March 2019 (Hanahan Herald)

The number of teenagers learning foreign languages in UK secondary schools has dropped by 45% since the turn of the millennium.

The reaction to the research was mixed. Why learn a foreign language when English is spoken by hundreds of millions of people worldwide, some people wondered.

Others questioned the need for a second language when translation technology is advancing so quickly.

But many speakers of foreign languages extolled the benefits. Four native English speakers tell how making the effort to learn a second language is important – and how it changed their life.


Making the case for multilingualism – a timely reminder

9 March 2019 (The Spectator)

English as the world’s lingua franca isn’t going anywhere. Why, then, should we Anglophones bother to learn another language? What’s in it for us? And what, more seriously, are the implications if we decide not to bother?

Digging deeply into these questions, Marek Kohn’s book asks what it actually means to have some mastery of another language (is that the same as being ‘fluent’, or being able to ‘speak’ another language?), and looks at language acquisition, at how the language we happen to speak can alter perception, whether there are cognitive benefits to multiple language use, and what roles the state can play in determining how languages are valued or stigmatised.


Espacios Increíbles project

22 February 2019 (SCILT)

Espacios Increíbles – Our learners need you!

You might have seen our tweets with the #getgeorgetothefinal #espaciosincreíbles but what is it all about?!

What is the project?

For the project ‘Espacios Increíbles’, based on the TV show ‘Amazing Spaces’, our young people will be designing ‘un espacio increíble’ in either Bolivia or Chile with whom the department of architecture at the University of Strathclyde run exchange programmes for undergrads. Through this project learners will be researching and finding out about both countries using the internet, looking at photos taken by students at the University of Strathclyde whilst on their exchanges abroad and reading and listening activities which have been developed specifically for this project. When they have completed their research they will design their ‘espacio increíble’ in either Bolivia or Chile and present their final design to their class in Spanish. A winning team from each of the 5 schools will attend a final at the university and present their project to an audience of their peers and a panel of judges.

Who is involved?

SCILT have been working in partnership with the department of architecture at the University of Strathclyde and with teachers across 2 subject areas, languages and design and technology, in 5 schools across 3 challenge authorities to develop this cross-sector interdisciplinary project;

  • St. Peter the Apostle  (West Dunbartonshire)
  • Clydebank High School   (West Dunbartonshire)
  • St. Thomas Aquinas (Glasgow)
  • St. Margaret Mary’s (Glasgow)
  • St. Matthew’s Academy (North Ayrshire)

What role have the schools had in the partnership?

Teachers in the participating schools have led on the development of lessons, resources and activities for the project whose inspiration came from @MrGeorgeClarke programme ‘Amazing Spaces’. Through their participation there has been inter-authority moderation taking place to ensure that all resources developed meet with national benchmarks at level 4 for languages and technologies. The project has also sought to ensure that our young people ‘make well informed choices about learning opportunities and pathways and relate these to possible future careers’ (HWB 4-20a) by giving them an insight into other further education pathways which exist and are not exclusively language based.

How you can you help our learners?

Our learners need your help in this pilot to #getgeorgetothefinal @MrGeorgeClarke. As part of a social media campaign to encourage Mr Clarke to attend our final as a judge at the University of Strathclyde on 24th April learners will be tweeting the various stages of their project via twitter with our hashtags. It would be great if George could attend but we appreciate he is a very busy man so even a video message for the final would be gratefully received. Please follow the hashtags below and retweet your support for our learners

#getgeorgetothefinal #espaciosincreíbles

What’s in it for you?

At the end of the project all resources, lessons and activities will be made available via the SCILT website for you to use in collaboration with design and technology departments in your own context. This is a full unit of work which can be used when doing the topic of town with your own learners.

If you wish any further information about this project please contact via email at or twitter @Louise_SCILT

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.


Register your interest now! The 1+2 Languages Leadership Programme 2019

15 February 2019 (SCILT)

SCILT and Education Scotland are accepting applications to attend the flagship national leadership programme that has been running since 2014 and was recognised at GTCS Excellence in Professional Learning Awards in both 2017 and 2018.

The 2019-20 programme comprises a 4 day Summer School in July 2019 with further optional elements in Spring and Summer 2020 that lead towards completion of learning activities on SCEL’s Framework for Educational Leadership and/or the award of GTCS Professional Recognition: leading learning in languages. This year the Summer School will take place from Monday 1st to Thursday 4th July 2019 at the University of Strathclyde’s city centre campus in Glasgow. 

This Masters level programme supports schools, clusters and local authorities to build leadership capacity and is completely free of charge for educators in the public sector. Altogether up to 50 places will be available to post-probationer teachers or teacher educators who have, or aspire to have a role in leading languages education for young people, families and colleagues in and beyond their own workplace.

Before submitting your application, we would encourage you to discuss with your headteacher/line manager which should focus on how you might make the most of this professional learning in your context in the future.

Visit the registration page for more details and how to register your interest to this programme. Applications close at 5pm, 26th April.


Registrations now open for Language Linking Global Thinking 2019-20

8 February 2019 (SCILT)

SCILT is now inviting schools to register their interest in taking part in the Language Linking Global Thinking initiative in session 2019/20. 

The project links students on their year abroad with primary and secondary schools. Students communicate with a designated class in their partner school during the course of the year to illustrate how enriching it is to spend a year abroad using a language other than English. 

While the student is abroad, the partner school receives regular contact from the student through blog posts, emails and other resources. The two-way correspondence between student and class brings the language alive for pupils and shows them the real relevance of learning a language. 

Visit the LLGT webpage for more information on Language Linking Global Thinking, and to read some of the student blogs from previous years.

For further information and to request a link for 2019/20 please contact SCILT. Please note places are limited.


French pop video competition

1 February 2019 (Institut français)

French Pop Video Competition

The Institut français du Royaume-Uni, with the support of Francophonie UK, is organising a French song video contest for all primary and secondary students in the UK school systems of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, and the Channel Islands. Teachers can submit their students’ video clips in 3 age-categories before 5 April 2019. In May, local juries in 9 geographical areas (including 5 in England) will award qualified laureates with £100 worth of book tokens per winning entry. Local laureates will automatically enter the National final, and the UK grand winners, announced in early June, will be invited to attend the Francophonie UK School Music Awards as part of a special-guest concert on Friday 28 June at the Institut français in London (travel expenses paid!). Visit the website for more information and free registration or see the attached flyer.

Teaching French through Music CPD tour, from 25/02 to 02/03

As part of the French Pop Video Competition, the Institut français du Royaume-Uni will be offering a UK-wide teacher training tour from 25 February to 2 March to learn how to teach French through music. FREE Workshops led by the prestigious international French training centre CAVILAM will be delivered for secondary teachers of French in London, Jersey, Cardiff, Manchester, Edinburgh, and Belfast. Visit the website or see the attached flyer for more information and register before 15 February.


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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