All Languages

All Languages

Arsenal Double Club 2018 World Cup Competition

20 March 2018 (Arsenal Double Club)

Calling all modern language teachers! As we look forward to this summer’s 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, Arsenal Double Club are back with yet another FREE languages competition – open to all UK secondary schools – for boys and girls in Year 7 or 8 (S1 or S2 in Scotland).

In small groups, pupils must organise and run a language-themed football match or activity.

Visit the Double Club website for more information and to enter your school by 29 March 2018.


SQA course reports for Higher Modern Languages 2017

16 March 2018 (SCILT/SQA)

We have summarised the Course Reports for Higher Modern Languages. These reports highlight areas where candidates performed well in the 2017 exam and areas where they encountered difficulty. They contain sound advice for both teachers and pupils in the run up to this year's exam diet. They can be found in the Senior Phase section of our website.

The full report for each language can be accessed on the SQA website under the Verification and Course Reports tab.


SQA course reports for Advanced Higher Modern Languages 2017

9 March 2018 (SCILT/SQA)

We have summarised the Course Reports for Advanced Higher Modern Languages. These reports highlight areas where candidates performed well in the 2017 exam and areas where they encountered difficulty. They contain sound advice for both teachers and pupils in the run up to this year's exam diet. They can be found in the Senior Phase section of our website.

The full report for each language can be accessed on the SQA website under the Verification and Course Reports tab.


The article that changed my view…of how bilingualism can improve society

17 February 2018 (The Guardian)

Guardian supporter Emilio Battaglia explains how an opinion piece by Tobias Jones clarified his view of bilingualism’s power to build bridges:

As someone who has dedicated so much of his life to the study and exploration of languages, Tobias Jones’s article 'The joys and benefits of bilingualism' immediately caught my eye. The Guardian is not a paper I know well but it is quite popular in Toronto, and becoming increasingly so. And this piece, written with a huge amount of research and an openness of spirit, seems to sum up so much of what the publication stands for. It made me gain a better understanding of how bilingualism can effect positive change, but it also sparked my appreciation of the Guardian’s journalism more widely.


New competition launched - LinguaChef 2018!

13 February 2018 (SCILT / City of Glasgow College)

We are thrilled to announce that we are working in partnership with City of Glasgow College to host a pilot version of a new SCILT competition called LinguaChef. The competition brings together two of our favourite topics – languages and food! As well as practising linguistic and culinary skills, pupils will work on their wider social, literacy, numeracy and financial skills.

Pupils from P1 – S6 are invited to work in teams of four to submit a recipe for an international dish symbolic of a country where either a language they are learning in school or a language that pupils use at home is spoken. So we are expecting to see some exciting recipes from France, Spain, Germany, South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Poland, Russia, the Middle East or even as far as China or Japan. We are also encouraging pupils to be creative, for example they could incorporate a bit of Scottish ‘fusion’ into their recipe to give it a twist.

Three semi-finalists from each age category will be selected based on their submitted recipes and they will then be invited to the grand finale with a chance to prepare, cook and present their dish in the professional kitchens at City of Glasgow College. An overall winner from each category will be chosen to win a prize for themselves and their school. Their recipes will also feature in the first ever SCILT cook book.

There are four age categories:

o P1-P3

Primary categories to present a
SWEET dish that could be a cake, biscuit, pudding or dessert for example

o P4-P7

o S1-S3

Secondary categories to present a
SAVOURY dish that would be eaten as a main course

o S4-S6

Recipes should include an introduction/explanation of the dish, a list of ingredients and the method. It can be submitted as a video clip (3 mins max) or as a PPT including photos of steps involved and the final dish, and possibly a voice-over too if pupils would like to add audio. Younger primary pupils in particular may find a video clip easier to submit as it does not require writing although if they choose to submit a PPT version we understand they may require some adult help with this.

A costings sheet will also be provided to help pupils with their financial education skills and to stay within budget.

Key dates and deadlines

Friday 9th March - Deadline for teachers to register interest using the online form
Friday 27th April - Submit entries via email to SCILT
Early May (tbc) - Judging of videos/PPTs to select semi-finalists
Friday 22nd June - Grand Finale at City of Glasgow College

After registration closes on 9th March, teachers will receive a further email with detailed guidelines, exemplar entries, costings sheets and an entry form. However, if you have any queries in the meantime then please contact Angela de Britos by email ( ).

Register now via the online form

MTOT 2017-18 winners announced!

9 February 2018 (SCILT)

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate everyone who took part in this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition in Scotland. The poems we received were inspiring, creative, funny and thought-provoking. We were delighted to receive so many entries and had an incredibly difficult time selecting those we felt were most deserving of a place in the 2017-18 MTOT anthology. Thank you to all who participated! 

We are pleased to announce this year’s successful entries as follows:

Mother Tongue





P4 – P6


Julia Wólszczak (Polish)

St James' Primary


Highly commended

Rayan Al-Boushi (Arabic)

St Albert's Primary


Highly commended

Zinaida Benya (Hungarian)

St James' Primary

P7 – S1


Nora Dhanou Rodriguez (Spanish)

West Primary


Highly commended

Bahadar Esakhiel (Pashto)

East Fulton Primary


Highly commended

Mohamad Al Chouhel (Arabic)

Williamsburgh Primary

S2 – S3


Erika Aitkenhead (Russian)

Kirkintilloch High

Senior Phase


Danai Nikitea (Greek)

Graeme High


Highly commended

Sayma Hossain (Italian)

Craigroyston Community High


Highly commended

Anett Ziegler (Hungarian)

Johnstone High 



Su Min Lai (Chinese)

University of Dundee


Highly commended

Yinuo Wang (Chinese)

University of Dundee


Highly commended

Hong Lin (Chinese)

City of Glasgow College


Other Tongue





Early Years


St Bridget's Early Years Class (Gaelic)

St Bridget's Primary

P4 – P6


Ava Stewart (German)

Gartcosh Primary


Highly commended

Kole Murray (Spanish)

Moray Primary


Highly commended

Nathan Decuyper (German)

Gartcosh Primary

P7 – S1


Maria Stewart (Irish)

St Mari Goretti Primary

S2 – S3


Emily McNally (French)

St Margaret's Academy


Highly commended

Ella Blake, Ashley Forrest, Hollie Speirs, Ilari Tsiko, William Wilson (French)

Craigroyston Community High


Highly commended

Harley Ewen (French)

Graeme High

Senior Phase


Maria Dorot (Spanish)

Craigroyston Community High


Highly commended

Simi Singh (French)

Graeme High


Highly commended

Jasmin Jardine (French)

Loudoun Academy

FE/HE Winner Arnault Bembo (Spanish) University of the West of Scotland
  Highly commended Farah Nabila Binti Mohd Zin and Nurul Syakirah Binti Ahmad Ghazali (Japanese and Italian) University of Dundee and University of Edinburgh

Well done to everyone who took part in the competition. It's been a marvellous celebration of the various languages spoken in our communities. You should all be very proud of your work.

To mark participation in the competition, registered schools and institutions will shortly be sent a certificate which can be printed out and presented to pupils who took part. The finalists above will be invited in due course to receive theirs at the MTOT celebration event on 17 March.

Thank you all once again and keep writing!

SCILT Christmas webpage now live!

1 December 2017 (SCILT/CISS)

Are you looking for ways to bring the festive season to your languages classroom?

SCILT have compiled a range of online resources for use with your pupils, from songs and games to interactive advent calendars. Find out how Christmas is celebrated in France, Germany, Spain and around the world!


The dos and don'ts of writing a personal statement for languages

8 November 2017 (The Guardian)

Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein may have made a good case for studying languages when he said: “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” But be warned: if you quote him in your personal statement, you may test the admission tutor’s patience.

Students often start by quoting someone famous, says Mike Nicholson, director of admissions at the University of Bath, who thinks it’s a “waste of space” and “just demonstrates that you can copy and paste”. Hilary Potter, a teaching fellow at the University of Leeds, adds that quotes “don’t tell us anything about the student”.

Whether you’re interested in French, Spanish, Arabic or Japanese, your first step will be to impress admissions tutors and convince them you deserve a place on their course. A strong, cliche-free personal statement is a must, but what else should you include? And what mistakes should you avoid?


Will learning a language abroad for a year make you fluent?

27 October 2017 (The Guardian)

There’s no right way to learn a new language; some people prefer poring over books, while others go for apps or traditional lessons with a tutor. Immersing yourself is a surefire way to accelerate the process, though, and a year abroad is an opportunity to do just that. Which is not to say that it’ll be easy. The road to fluency is long and likely to be littered with confusing – and often embarrassing – moments. Here’s a quick guide to help you get there.


The need for a national languages policy and a more holistic approach towards languages in the UK

21 October 2017 (MEITS)

In this podcast Wendy Ayres-Bennett from the University of Cambridge talks to Baroness Jean Coussins, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages, about the need for a national languages policy and a more holistic approach towards languages in the UK.


Inspiring language learning and teaching in the early years – Why it matters and what it looks like for children age 3-12

16 October 2017 (ECML)

With over 40 official languages in the member states of the Council of Europe and more than 70 regional and minority languages officially recognized in addition to a number of languages spoken by migrants, it is important that Europe’s language diversity is recognized and acknowledged.

The reality for many European citizens is that in the course of their lives they will need to develop proficiency, not only in their native language, but in a variety of languages. Demands of study, work, travel, relocation and personal development will also mean that skills in new languages will need to be added to their existing repertoire. Therefore, learning the skills required to learn languages is of paramount importance. Furthermore, language learning and identity construction are closely interlinked.

Recognizing the importance of languages in the lives of Europeans and the benefits that early language learning provides, the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) has launched a two-year project "Inspiring language learning and teaching in the early years – Why it matters and what it looks like for children age 3-12".

The project is focused on early language learning, from 3 to 12 years of age. The innate curiosity and enthusiasm that children bring to learning during this initial period in their formal education makes it the ideal time to introduce, nurture and motivate learners in the area of additional language learning. Strong foundations, built at this stage in children’s development, will facilitate language learning throughout life and openness to, as well as respect for different cultures, values and traditions.

Find out more on the ECML website.


SQA vacancies: Modern Languages Event Verifiers

12 October 2017 (SQA)

Are you looking for CPD opportunities? Become an appointee for SQA – apply to be an Event Verifier in Modern Languages. It's a really worthwhile role and great professional development in relation to building confidence about national standards.

Visit the SQA website for more information and to apply by 29 October.


Languages Lost and Found (Being Human Festival)

12 October 2017 (University of Dundee/UCMLS)

A series of events celebrating languages and cultures across Scotland as part of the UK’s annual Being Human Festival of the Humanities, 'Languages Lost & Found' aims to make visible the often hidden richness and diversity of languages and cultures in Scottish society through community-led workshops and demonstrations.

Events will take place simultaneously on 18 November in a number of locations across Scotland, and activities will vary by location. The event series is organised by the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland with support from Scotland's National Centre for Languages and British Council Scotland and financial support by the AHRC Modern Languages Leadership Fellow funds (Prof. Janice Carruthers).

Visit the website for more information.


GCSE modern languages scheme 'doubles uptake' in some areas

7 October 2017 (BBC)

A scheme to encourage more pupils in Wales to take modern languages at GCSE has reported "significant" success.

More than a third of Welsh schools now have less than 10% of Year 10 pupils studying a foreign language.

But the Welsh Government-funded modern foreign languages (MFL) mentoring project said it had seen uptake double in some schools.

The scheme trains students from Welsh universities to talk to pupils about the benefits of studying languages.


National 5 Modern Languages update

6 October 2017 (SCILT/SQA)

The course specification for National 5 has been updated following the Scottish Government announcement that unit assessments will no longer be mandatory from session 2016-17 at this level. As well as extracting the key points providing an overview of the content and assessment requirements, we now have links to SQA's recording of the National 5 webinar held in April/May and repeated in September/October 2017 on our website.

Other National Qualifications will be reviewed and updated in due course.


Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition 2017-18

22 September 2017 (SCILT/CISS)

Today sees the launch of this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition and we're delighted to announce the addition of a category for students in further and higher education, enabling all Scottish educational establishments to participate.

Whether pupils are learning a language at school, college or university, or whether they speak a native language at home, everyone can get involved in celebrating their linguistic and cultural diversity through creative poetry writing as there are options to enter in either the Mother Tongue or Other Tongue category. Even if you've taken part in the competition before, please note and read the new rules and criteria as only original work will be considered.

For more information about this year's competition and previous events, visit our MTOT website and register to take part! Closing date for registrations is 27 October 2017.


Language Perfect Northern Championships 2017

18 September 2017 (Language Perfect)

The 2017 Language Perfect Northern Championships dates have been announced!

Join schools from the northern hemisphere 7-14 November for a week of online competition, and celebration of language learning!

Visit the website to find out about how the competition works and register to take part.


1+2 approach to language learning: National road shows for the secondary sector - May/June 2017

15 September 2017 (Education Scotland)

This video resource contains the key messages by speakers from the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES), Education Scotland, the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), and SCILT, Scotland's National Centre for Languages, on the 1+2 approach to language learning and the impact of the policy in the secondary sector. The resource also contains key PowerPoint slides.

This resource can be used in modern languages departments, to support discussion around transition, entitlement and effective timetabling for L2 (first additional language) and L3 (second additional language).

Visit the Education Scotland website for more information.



15 September 2017 (eTwinning)

eTwinning offers a platform for teachers to communicate, collaborate, share and develop projects with like-minded colleagues across Europe.

Visit the website to find out more about eTwinning and how being part of the community can benefit you and your pupils.


Languagenut and SCILT exclusive

15 September 2017 (Languagenut)

Languagenut is a professional teaching tool that offers teaching resources across 21 modern foreign languages. 

It is the perfect tool to support the 1+2 approach to language learning, as all audio files are recorded by native speakers. With a range of games, songs and stories, Languagenut supports the four key skills of language learning: listening, speaking, reading and writing. 

In addition, Languagenut offers special integrated tools which allow teachers both create their own classes and content, and also set and track homework, generate certificates and evaluate students’ progress in real time. These timesaving tools help teachers to deliver more personalised teaching and customise lessons to fit each individual.

Accessible at school and at home, Languagenut helps to bridge the gap between classroom and home learning.

We’ve collaborated with SCILT to give Scottish schools free exclusive access to Languagenut for 45 days! Visit the website to register.


ECML Think tank - Language learning pathways

13 September 2017 (ECML)

The aim of the new ECML think tanks is to create a network of expertise from across ECML member states and beyond which can advise the ECML secretariat on how to address a range of key priorities in language education.

The first step in the think tank process is the development of an online questionnaire for each theme which is then disseminated as widely as possible so that a picture of the current state-of-play emerges, revealing both success stories as well as challenges. 

You are invited to share your views and experiences on language learning pathways in the online survey by midnight (CET), Sunday 1 October 2017, and you might be selected to participate in the think tank meeting in January 2018.

Visit the ECML website to find out more about the think tanks.


ALL Language Teacher of the Year Award 2018

7 September 2017 (ALL)

Do you know an inspirational primary or secondary teacher?

The Association for Language Learning (ALL) are now looking for nominations in the two categories for the 2018 awards – which are now open to teachers throughout the UK.

The award scheme aims to support and promote language teaching, recognise the efforts and achievements of language teachers, encourage and disseminate exciting, motivating practice among language teachers and raise the profile of language teaching as a career.

Visit the ALL website for more information about each award and how to make a nomination.


10 of the best language with activity holidays around the world

5 September 2017 (The Guardian)

Spanish and tango? German and skiing? Or even Japanese and manga? Learn a language in the native country and add some extracurricular fun with these holiday courses that offer a skill or some culture, too.


How to improve children’s language awareness at primary school

4 September 2017 (The Conversation)

Young children have a lot to fit into each school day. So making the best use of the little time allocated to learning a foreign language is paramount. In England, state primary schools have been required to offer children aged seven to 11 a foreign language since 2014. This seems to chime with the common assumption, supported by research, that the earlier we start learning a foreign language, the better we will eventually be able to speak it.

Yet the situation is quite different when learners have just a few hours’ exposure each week. In these circumstances – unlike full immersion in a second language – younger is not necessarily better. Large-scale classroom-based research in Spain has shown that after the same number of lessons, students who began learning after age 18 achieved greater success in English than students who started at age eight, 11 or 14.

A likely reason for the different effects of starting age in different learning environments is the type of learning mechanism in operation. Primarily, young children learn implicitly – without effort or awareness. By contrast, adolescents and adults can learn explicitly, with the intention to learn and with conscious effort. Implicit learning only works well if there is ample exposure to language input, while explicit learning can work even with little language input. So having just a few hours a week of language lessons at a young age doesn’t meant a child will learn that language successfully.


Cross-Sector Hub meetings

24 August 2017 (SCILT)

UCMLS, the professional organisation representing languages staff in Scottish universities, is again holding two sets of regional cross-sector meetings during 2017-18, with support from SCILT.

The first round of meetings will be during the week beginning 11 September 2017. We will present our planned events and initiatives for the coming session, including the new Languages Lost & Found events on 18 November.

Language teachers and staff in schools, colleges and universities are warmly invited to attend. For those who live too far to attend in person we are also offering the option of joining us on one of two virtual meetings via Skype.

Please register for your session choice by Friday 1 September 2017.


Slump in foreign language students sparks fear for UK competitiveness

5 August 2017 (The Herald)

FRESH concerns have been raised that not enough youngsters are learning foreign languages, as figures show a slump in applications to study the subject at university.

The numbers of applications for degree courses linked to European languages have fallen by almost a quarter in the past five years, while the numbers for other language courses have dropped by almost a fifth, according to an analysis by the Press Association. At the same time, there has been a decline in the numbers studying languages traditionally offered by schools, such as French and German, to GCSE and A-level.

The analysis indicates Spanish has grown in popularity in recent times along with other courses, such as Arabic and Chinese.

The British Council, which specialises in international cultural relations, warned that if the UK is to remain globally competitive in the wake of Brexit it needs more young people to be learning languages.


These are the languages employers want most - and how much it could add to your salary

2 August 2017 (Birmingham Mail / The Mirror)

A new study has found the most lucrative foreign languages for British workers to learn.

Apparently, Japanese and the Chinese languages offer average salaries of more than £31,000 for those who can speak them.

Adzuna compiled the study to mark the anniversary of the Brexit vote.

And researchers uncovered the languages most in demand by UK employers, alongside how much they are willing to pay for them.

A growing interest in non-European languages was revealed, with Japanese, Chinese, Arabic and Russian all featuring in the UK's top 10 most wanted languages, according to the Mirror.


From Brexit to Scandi-noir: The Importance of Modern Foreign Languages

31 July 2017 (AHRC)

Many of us will be familiar with the sight of groups of young language students in UK cities over the summer months. Their excitement at being abroad away from their parents often for the first time is obvious. In 2016, he International Association of Language Centres (IALC) reported that there were 2.28 million language students travelling abroad each year, with English language travel making up around 61% of this market.

Whilst these language-learners only represented 0.25% of second language learners across the entire globe, most travelled to English-speaking countries to learn English. If the motivation for learning English in our increasing globalised world is clear, the British often struggle to appreciate the reasons for learning another language.

“The headline news for Modern Languages recently has not been good, with decreasing numbers of entrants at A-level and a number of university departments under threat of closure or severe contraction", said Wendy Ayres-Bennett, Professor of French Philology and Linguistics from the University of Cambridge.

In response to this national concern and its global implications, the AHRC has committed £16m to research in modern foreign languages (MFL) in its Open World Research Initiative (OWRI) project. Its aim is to explore and understand the language learning landscape of the UK, and how it might be transformed.

As part of OWRI, the AHRC has invested in four major research programmes, one of which is Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals, Transforming Societies (MEITS). Alongside her responsibilities at Cambridge, Prof Ayres-Bennett is Principal Investigator for the MEITS project.

“I think that in the current political climate of Brexit and of extensive migration, the need to learn modern foreign languages has arguably never been more important", says Prof Ayres-Bennett.

“I believe that there are huge benefits from being able to step outside a single language, culture and mode of thought", explains Prof Ayres-Bennett. "It enables you to see the world through other people’s eyes".

Prof Ayres-Bennett argues that the ability to speak another language is valuable to many different areas of society. "Whether we think of international relations, diplomacy, security and defence, or areas such as conflict-resolution and peace-building, or, crucially today, business, international trade, and social cohesion, all of these have languages at their heart."

Linguists are needed to provide vital translation and interpreting services. However, the need for direct communication between parties was well demonstrated by the experience of the British military in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Prof Ayres-Bennett also thinks that through reading literature in the language in which it was written, we can begin to see the world through the linguistic categories and worldview of its speakers.

"The gradual opening up of new worlds and the move from incomprehension to being able to make sense of another language and culture can be truly magical ”, says Prof Ayres-Bennett.

Scandi noir dramas have become very popular and one of the biggest hits of the year has been the Spanish language song 'Despacito'. Many young people in Europe improve their English through listening to music and watching films in English so that they no longer need to depend on subtitles.“TV and the internet increasingly provide opportunities for people to view foreign language material and to learn about other cultures.”


Speaking with Smaller Tongues

7 July 2017 (BBC Radio 4)

Penzance-born Rory McGrath writes and performs a Cornish song at the SUNS International Festival - a multilingual alternative to the Eurovision song contest, where English is banned.

Rory talks with fellow performers, and to academics, about how the internet and the spread of English as a lingua franca is threatening to smother small languages. The United Nations predicts that 90% of Europe's 200 minority languages will have ceased to exist by the end of the 21st century.


An open letter to my student peers: why you need to rethink languages

5 July 2017 (TES)

Language learning in school suffers from negative attitudes, cultural issues and an approach to teaching that is too guarded and not ambitious enough, says this Year 12 student.


Coming soon: SCILT Associates

23 June 2017 (SCILT)

New for session 2017/18, SCILT is compiling a database of partners and stakeholders, including teachers from all sectors, who wish to become associate members of the SCILT team.

Throughout the year, we may contact our associates if we are planning either a project or piece of work where we require additional capacity, expertise or advice.

If you think you might like to work more closely with the team and help us enlarge the 'SCILT family', then please keep your eye on the bulletin at the start of the new session when we will be able to give further information and sign up details.

New approach to SCILT/CISS promotional events

23 June 2017 (SCILT/CISS)

SCILT and CISS are currently reviewing their strategy for promotional events. In order to ensure all schools have the opportunity to benefit from our involvement, we are now requesting that you complete an online application form. You will be asked to outline how a promotional event might support your uptake in the senior phase and what other measures you are putting in place to address the Attainment Agenda, National Improvement Framework and Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce.

Please contact us at SCILT ( in the first instance. An application form will be sent to you once finalised.

1+2 FAQS for practitioners: revised and refreshed

13 June 2017 (SCILT)

Following a wide-ranging consultation with the profession earlier this academic session, our 1+2 FAQs for practitioners have been updated and uploaded to the SCILT website.

Sincere thanks go to all the primary and secondary teachers who took the time to participate in our survey.

If you have any further questions about the 1+2 Approach, please contact


New website dedicated to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)

5 June 2017 (ECML)

The CEFR was created in order to provide a transparent, coherent and comprehensive basis for the development of language programmes, curriculum guidelines and teaching/learning materials, as well as to assist the assessment of foreign language proficiency.

The Framework is particularly well-known for its 6-level proficiency scale (A1 < C2), which can be divided into different categories in order to create transparent and coherent language proficiency profiles – a major innovation in the domain of European education.

However the CEFR does not begin and end with the levels, nor is it intended as a standardisation instrument. As a reference tool, its aim is to facilitate transparency and coherence in language education at all levels: curricula, teaching, assessment and teacher education.

The new CEFR website offers a range of different resources, contributed by major European institutions and developed in different research projects and investigations.


In an age of Brexit and closing borders we need to embrace multilingualism

2 June 2017 (The Independent)

Being able to speak to people in their own tongue instantly breaks down hostility and broadens the mind. But in the age of Brexit, the acquisition of other languages has become a political act. Andy Martin wonders was there ever a Big Bang moment when we all understood each other?


Edinburgh International Film Festival 2017

31 May 2017 (EIFF)

The programme for this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) taking place from 21 June to 2 July 2017 has just been published.

The event will showcase films from 46 countries so there are plenty of opportunities to test your language skills!

For more information about what's on offer, visit the EIFF website.


1+2 National Events for Principal Teachers of languages and colleagues i/c timetabling : June 2017

30 May 2017 (Education Scotland/SCILT/ADES/GTCS)

These events will focus on 1+2 in the secondary sector and feature inputs from ADES, ES, GTCS, SCILT and a representative from a local business. Purpose of the day:
  • 1+2 – overview of current developments
  • sharing practice across authorities re implementation in secondary
  • transitions between primary and secondary
  • examining the place of languages in BGE and Senior Phase in secondary schools
Scottish Ministers have a clear message to all stakeholders: that learning languages is a normal part of the curriculum from P1 onwards. These regional 1+2 events for the secondary sector are part of the Strategic Implementation Group’s priority to focus on curriculum such that there is clear and effective design which ensures progress through primary and secondary schooling, and on Career Long Professional Learning to ensure practitioners are equipped, enabled and empowered to deliver high quality language learning in primary and secondary schools. Given the significance of the 1+2 policy for secondary modern languages departments, it is important that all schools are represented at these regional events.

Your LA languages contact (usually DO/QIO) will have alerted you to the event for your region, however if you have not yet received the invitation to attend your local event (two invitees per school – PT languages, plus timetabler- usually a DHT) please contact

Your regional event will take place as per the schedule below:


Event Location

Authorities involved

Tuesday 20 June


Stirling, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire

Wednesday 21 June


North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian

Venue details, timings and a programme for the day will be emailed to you when you register for the event.

Graduate jobs: top 12 degree subjects for getting a job

12 May 2017 (The Telegraph)

Competition for graduate jobs has never been more fierce. With tuition fees and living costs representing financial sacrifices for many, students reasonably demand degree courses that offer them the best value for money in today's tough jobs market.

Languages feature in the list of the top 12 degree subjects.


The Stephen Spender Prize 2017

9 May 2017 (Stephen Spender Trust)

The 2017 Stephen Spender Prize is open for entries. Entrants are invited to submit an English translation of a poem from any language, ancient or modern. As always, there are prizes in three categories – Open, 18-and-under and 14-and-under – and the competition is open to UK and Irish citizens and residents.

Entry deadline is Friday 26 May 2017.

Visit the website for further information and submission guidelines.


EOL network ’Learning environments where modern languages flourish’ - 99 partner schools registered

9 May 2017 (ECML)

The EOL ECML project “Learning environments where modern languages flourish” has already succeeded in recruiting 99 partner schools and teachers in ten different countries; we will continue to accept new partner schools until the end of July 2017.

This European network of project partner schools will not only support one another in developing innovative approaches to establishing language friendly learning environments through an exchange of relevant resources, research and practice, but will have dedicated support from the project team throughout the lifespan of their school projects.

Visit the ECML website for more information and to register to join the EOL network.


MTOT 2016-17 celebration event webpage now live

5 May 2017 (SCILT)

We're pleased to announce the SCILT website has been updated and details of this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition award celebration held at the SEC, Glasgow in March are now available.

Here you can see photos of our winning performers, read the anthology of winning entries, access press articles and see feedback from pupils, teachers and parents.


National 5 Modern Languages Course Specification

4 May 2017 (SQA)

SQA has just published the revised National 5 Course Specification.

This document contains important information about the changes to the Performance of Talking and the new Assignment-Writing.

The document can be accessed on the SQA website.


Business Brunch 2017 events webpage now live!

25 April 2017 (SCILT)

A series of five successful Business Brunch events organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland took place this year where 535 learners from S3-S6 were given the opportunity to hear from a wide range of exciting business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company.

The events demonstrated the relevance of language skills in a work context and aimed to encourage pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education, and beyond school.

Find out more about the events on our new Business Brunch 2017 webpage.


UCMLS 1+2 action plan published!

25 April 2017 (SCILT / UCMLS)

Following our final consultation with stakeholders at the national UCMLS conference in Glasgow on 10 March 2017 we have produced our cross-sector Action Plan in support of Scotland's 1+2 language policy, and it is now available online. Click below for more details but please REFRESH THE PAGE to get the latest version of the webpage!
Marion Spöring, UCMLS chair.


Introduction to Interpreting

25 April 2017 (Heriot-Watt University)

This course, being run by Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, is ideal for anyone fluent in a language but with no interpreting techniques.

As a speaker of a second language, do you find yourself in situations at work where you have to act as an interpreter but have had no formal training? Then this course is for you!

Are you a language student considering a career as an interpreter? Come and join us for a taster course and find out what it means to be an interpreter.

The course will run from 3-7 July 2017 in the university's state of the art interpreting facilities.

Visit the website for more information and book your place by 19 June.


Setting grade standards in A level modern foreign languages

21 April 2017 (UK Government)

Ofqual has today (21 April 2017) announced that it will take action this summer to ensure standards are set appropriately in A level French, German and Spanish.

The decision stems from new research, published by the regulator today, which suggests that awarding should take into account the fact that native language speakers take these subjects. The adjustment to grade standards will be decided in early summer. If the ability of the cohorts is similar to previous years we would anticipate small increases in the proportion of students getting top grades in each subject this August.


Related Links

A-level language grades skewed by results of native speakers - study (The Guardian, 21 April 2017)

The 1+2 Languages Leadership Programme

20 April 2017 (SCILT)

Summer School is on! The national leadership programme formerly known as Train the Trainer has undergone an extensive review over the last year.

Under its new name, The 1+2 Languages Leadership Programme, this flagship national leadership programme will be open for registration from Monday. Invitations will go out to local authority representatives and teacher education institutions. The programme has Professional Recognition accreditation from GTCS and is completely free of charge for educators in the public sector. Beginning with a Summer School which will take place from Monday 3rd to Friday 7th July 2017 at the University of Strathclyde’s city centre campus in Glasgow.

Hosted by SCILT and Education Scotland, The 1+2 Languages Leadership Programme is aimed at those who have, or aspire to have, a responsibility for leading languages and developing colleagues’ capacity to deliver the 1+2 approach to languages.

The revised programme features inputs from a wide variety of speakers with an extensive range of expertise in teaching and leading languages. The inclusion of parallel sessions offers choice to participants, and the content is a balance of theory, policy and practice around language learning and teaching, leadership, personal reflection and professional evaluation.

The themes of this updated Summer School are:
  • 1+2 languages: the national picture and the position of languages in the National Improvement Framework and the Scottish Attainment Challenge
  • Strategic leadership in languages: planning and evaluation
  • Progression in language learning
  • Parental and wider engagement in language learning
  • Raising attainment: practical ways to develop literacy skills across languages
  • L3 – existing models, diversity of languages
  • Inclusive practice in languages
  • Supporting bilingual learners
Interested in participating in The 1+2 Languages Leadership Programme? Contact your local authority QIO.

All Junior Cert pupils to study a foreign language under new plan

19 April 2017 (News Talk)

(Applies to Ireland) All pupils will study a foreign language for their Junior Cert by 2021 under ambitious new plans being announced by the Education Minister.

The strategy also aims to increase the number of Leaving Cert students studying a foreign language by 10%.

Chinese will be introduced as a Leaving Cert subject for the first time, while so-called 'heritage languages' such as Polish, Lithuanian and Portuguese will get a proper curriculum.

Speaking to Pat Kenny, Minister Richard Bruton explained: "We are going to have to, post-Brexit, realise that one of the common weaknesses of English speaking countries - that we disregard foreign languages - has to be addressed in Ireland.

"We need now to trade in the growth areas - and many of those speak Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin. Those are the languages that we need to learn to continue to trade successfully."

On the subject of Eastern European languages, he observed: "We now have many Lithuanians and Polish here, and we can develop those languages.

"We also need to use programmes like Erasmus - we want to increase our participation there by 50%. Clearly it has to become more immersed in the language.

"At the moment if you look at Leaving Cert and Junior Cert, French dominates. French is a lovely language, but we need to recognise that we need to diversify into other languages."


Education Scotland Modern Languages newsletter - April 2017

18 April 2017 (Education Scotland)

The latest edition of Education Scotland's Modern Languages newsletter is now available.


SQA National 5 Modern Languages webinars

31 March 2017 (SQA)

The SQA is running a series of subject-specific continuing professional development (CPD) webinars to help you prepare for the revised National 5 course assessments that are being introduced in session 2017-18. The Modern Languages webinars will take place on Thursday 20 April, Monday 24 April and Thursday 4 May, and will focus on the requirements of the revised assessments.

Further details of the webinars are provided on the SQA's NQ events page. Please note that places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Please note also that the content of Modern Languages webinars is the same, and colleagues need only attend one of the three scheduled.

For those unable to secure a place, recordings of the webinars will be published on the SQA website within six weeks of the webinar date. This will be accompanied by a transcript of any questions and answers discussed during the webinars.

Details of published webinars will be provided in SQA Centre News over the coming months.


Jackie Kay celebrates pupils’ multilingual poetry success

24 March 2017 (SCILT)

The multilingual talents of budding young poets from across Scotland were celebrated at a prestigious award ceremony in Glasgow. Jackie Kay, Scotland's Makar, presented the prizes.

Primary and secondary students from Aberdeenshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Stirling and West Lothian used their language skills to create and share poetry for this year’s Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition. Winners received their prizes on the main Piazza stage at the SEC Glasgow on Saturday 11 March 2017 as part of the wider Languages Show Live Scotland event. Their work is published in an anthology.

Mother Tongue Other Tongue is an exciting project which celebrates linguistic and cultural diversity through creative writing and showcases the many languages which are used by children and young people across Scotland, in school and at home. The competition is organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, based at University of Strathclyde. Jackie Kay is the patron of the competition.

One teacher said of the event: “Taking part in the Mother Tongue Other Tongue poetry competition was a very worthwhile endeavour. Pupils really enjoyed creating poems in another language and interesting language based discussions were generated. The emphasis on celebrating all languages from across the globe was a great message to share with pupils and they especially enjoyed mixing their own language with the languages they are learning at school. We will definitely be taking part again next year.”

Whilst one of the pupils summed up their feelings: “I feel happy, proud and special.”

Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT, says: “Mother Tongue Other Tongue is a celebration of the many languages that are spoken and learned by children and young people across Scotland. The collection of their poems weaves a rich tapestry of voices that honours cultural diversity and pays testament to the wealth of Scotland’s many languages and cultures. We were delighted to see such a high calibre of entries this year, submitted in 35 different languages. Our congratulations go to the winners and to all who took part in the competition.”

Mother Tongue invites children who do not speak English as a first language to write a poem, rap or song in their mother tongue and share their inspiration. Other Tongue encourages children learning another language in school to use that language creatively with an original poem, rap or song in that other tongue. Prizes are awarded in both categories.

Mother Tongue Other Tongue supports the Scottish Government initiative, ‘Language Learning in Scotland: A 1+2 approach’ by allowing pupils to apply their language learning in a creative way. The competition provides children who do not have English as their first language an opportunity to celebrate their mother tongue.

The targets laid out in the Scottish Attainment Challenge are about achieving equity in educational outcomes, with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. One of the key drivers is improved literacy. Through reflecting on poetry in their mother tongue and creating poetry in another tongue, learners are developing their literacy skills.

Mother Tongue Other Tongue is supported by the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland, creative writer Juliette Lee and the Scottish Poetry Library.

Details of the winners and the anthology are published on the SCILT website.
MTOT 2016-17 winners with Jackie Kay


Curriculum for Excellence Benchmarks

23 March 2017 (Education Scotland)

The Benchmarks in modern languages provide clarity on the national standards expected from first to fourth curricular level.

They draw together and streamline a wide range of previous assessment guidance (including significant aspects of learning, progression frameworks and annotated exemplars) into one key resource to support teachers’ and other practitioners’ professional judgement of children’s and young people’s progress.

The Benchmarks will also support consistency in teachers’ professional judgements and will help teachers to ensure that young people achieve the pace of progress they need right across the Broad General Education.

The Benchmarks can be accessed on Education Scotland's National Improvement Hub along with Benchmarks exemplification to support practitioners to use the Benchmarks.


Summary of SQA Course Reports for National 5 Modern Languages

23 March 2017 (SCILT)

We have summarised the Course Reports for National 5 Modern Languages and Gàidhlig. These reports highlight areas where candidates performed well in the 2016 exam and areas where they encountered difficulty.

They contain sound advice for both teachers and pupils in the run up to this year's exam diet.

The full report for each language can be accessed on the SQA website under the Verification and Course Reports tab.

The summary reports are attached below and can also be found on the Senior Phase, Essentials for Planning page on the SCILT website under the SQA Qualifications tab.


New job profile on SCILT's website

17 March 2017 (SCILT)

For relevant, labour-market focused career advice on languages, direct from the workplace, read our latest Job Profile from Lynn Sheppard, Masters Student and travel writer, former English teacher, diplomat and civil servant.

Lynn tells how languages have not only helped in all her diverse job roles, but in developing and maintaining personal and professional relationships around the globe. Language skills have given her a cultural insight into how others think and behave.

Teachers, use this resource in your classroom to enhance learning about the world of work.


Language Show Live Scotland 2017

14 March 2017 (SCILT)

Thank you to everyone who came to see us at Language Show Live Scotland at the SEC last weekend! It was a fabulous event and great to meet so many teachers, pupils and language professionals and to find out how we can help support you all in learning, teaching and promoting languages. If you left an enquiry with us, we’re currently working our way through these and you should have a response within the next week or two, if you haven’t had one already.

We were so proud of our Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry winners who came along to the event and recited their poems for us on Saturday morning. Thank you so much to the teachers who took this initiative forward in school and of course to all the pupils who took part. We will be uploading the winners’ anthology and photos from the event to the website in due course, so keep watching the bulletin for updates on this.

If you didn’t make it along, our PDO Lynne Jones provides a flavour of the show in this video:

Teachers ‘ill-prepared’ for primary language strategy

14 March 2017 (The Herald)

Teachers have warned an ambitious strategy to expand language learning in Scottish primary schools lacks direction.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) teaching union said training for school staff was variable and had led to lower confidence levels in some areas.

The criticism centres on the Scottish Government’s flagship 1+2 languages policy under which primary pupils are to be taught at least two modern languages in addition to their mother tongue, starting in the first year of schooling and adding a second foreign language no later than P5.

The government has argued primaries should incorporate as large a pool of languages as possible, including Portuguese, Punjabi, Urdu and Polish.

However, critics say schools and teacher training universities need a much smaller group of languages to focus on to ensure continuity of study and expertise among staff.

In a letter to councils, Andrea Bradley, EIS assistant secretary for education, said information from primary teachers had identified training that was not of a consistently appropriate standard.

She said members had highlighted a “lack of direction” as to which languages would be taught at which stage as well as “variable quality of teachers’ experience of training course delivery”.

She also said there was “inconsistency” in the duration of training courses and therefore inconsistency in “outcomes for our members in terms of their levels of confidence to teach foreign languages”.

She added: “The EIS therefore calls upon all local authorities to work with Scottish Government to address the issues that are raised here, with a view to ensuring coherence of approach and adequate resourcing in order that the worthy aims of the policy can be met.”

The concerns were echoed by Gillian Campbell-Thow, chairwoman of the Scottish Association for Language Teaching.


Related Links

SALT's response to EIS (SALT, 15 March 2017)

SALT schools competition 2017

11 March 2017 (SALT)

There are four categories in this years competition: Primary & BGE, National 5, Higher, and Advanced Higher.

The theme is I love Languages Because and students can submit their entries in any format (PowerPoint, poster, song, poem, etc).

Visit the SALT website for further information and to submit entries by 26 May 2017.


Pupils celebrate success at multilingual poetry competition

9 March 2017 (Renfrewshire 24)

Six bilingual pupils from Renfrewshire have scooped up awards at a national poetry competition for their creative writing talents.

Of the 14 awards up for grabs through the ‘Mother Tongue Other Tongue’ competition run by SCILT – Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, six were awarded to pupils from St John Ogilvie Primary School, St James Primary School and Castlehead High School, who had written poetry in their native tongue in order to share their “other voices”.

Renfrewshire EAL (English as an additional language) teachers helped support bilingual pupils to create a collection of poems written in languages such as; Polish, Hungarian, Chinese, Punjabi, Catalan, Arabic, Greek, Filipino, Korean and Dutch.


From busuu to Babble, language-learning startups adapt to thrive

7 March 2017 (The Guardian)

Language learning is big business. Each year, students coming to study English in the UK contribute £2bn to the economy. It’s also a market suited to the flexibility of mobile learning and, sure enough, language learning apps are seeking to fill the gaps – more than 350 are listed on the Apple App Store alone.

But language tech isn’t an easy space in which to succeed. Rapid changes in technology have meant that its startups have had to adapt to survive, as Bernhard Niesner, co-founder of busuu, can attest.

Originally from Austria, Niesner had always loved languages: he learned Spanish and travelled in Latin America before undertaking an MBA at the IE Business School in Madrid. There he met Adrian Hilti, originally from Switzerland. It was 2008, Facebook was expanding rapidly, and the two wondered if they could combine technology and learning a language with social media.

So busuu, named after a Cameroonian language, was born, teaching users with interactive courses coupled with a social network of native speakers.


“My language learning hurdles” competition

3 March 2017 (Open University)

Make a short video explaining what you consider your biggest hurdles to language learning and you could win up to £150 in Amazon UK gift vouchers.

We want to hear what you find most difficult about language learning, especially when you start learning a new language. We are looking for well thought-out answers with specific examples of your language learning experience, or maybe good one-liners that showcase some of the difficulties that you have faced in the following areas:
  1. Your motivation for learning a new language
  2. Managing your expectations when starting to learn a new language
  3. Coping with grammar and grammatical terminology
  4. Creating (and sticking to) a learning routine
  5. Practising speaking (as a beginner)
  6. Listening (as a beginner)
  7. Learning vocabulary (as a beginner)
  8. Reading (as a beginner)
  9. Writing (as a beginner)
  10. Finding, evaluating and selecting resources to support learning for beginners
  11. Immersing yourself in the language when not in an area where it is spoken
  12. Getting support from others (including online communities
  13. Keeping your motivation going in the medium to long term
Your video must cover only one of these areas, but you are welcome to submit a video for each of the topics that are relevant to you.

Your video must be no longer than 30 seconds and must be in English.

Visit the Open University website to find out more and how to submit your entry by 17 March 2017.


Just 1 Week Until Doors Open on Language Show Scotland 2017!

3 March 2017 (Language Show Live)

Language Show Live, 10-11 March at the SEC, Glasgow.

Europe’s largest event dedicated to language teaching and learning is just 1 week away and new performances are still being announced every day, with salsa classes and an additional Gaelic introduction class added today! Every seminar at this free-to-attend event is fully CPD accredited and packed full of exclusive content. Head online today to claim your free ticket and enjoy all the content that Europe’s premier language event has to offer.

Remember: Alongside our trademark seminar, workshop and panel session line ups we also have our fantastic cultural piazza stage, free language taster classes, over 80 exhibitor and much, much more! Take advantage of our pre-show discount on our Language Plus Classes too. These two hour intensive classes are the only thing at the event that we charge for as we bring in some of the world’s top teachers and charge just £18 for the full two hours. Don’t miss out!

Visit the Language Show Live website today!


Language Show Live Scotland 2017

24 February 2017 (Language Show Live)

There's still time to get your tickets for this year's Language Show Live Scotland event at the SEC, Glasgow!

The event, dedicated to language teaching and learning, is just a fortnight away and all programme details, teaching seminars and language classes are now live online. Every seminar at this free-to-attend event is fully CPD accredited and packed full of exclusive content.

For full programme details and to register, visit the Language Show Live website. Don't miss out!


Do we need modern language graduates in a globalised world?

23 February 2017 (THE)

Six academics offer their views on the state of language learning in a populist climate.


Time to listen to teens on language learning

21 February 2017 (Scholastic blog)

For far too long it seems that media columns have been filled with reports of declining interest of British teenagers in modern foreign languages (MFL).

Take the figures published last summer. The number of children studying French to A-level has fallen by around 50 per cent in eight years to fewer than 10,000. Only around 3,800 youngsters took German. There was also a fall in those studying Spanish, which had previously bucked the anti-languages drift.

The government replied that it has been encouraging pupils to take languages, mainly through the English Baccalaureate – the wrap-around qualification which requires pupils to sit a range of certain GCSEs including a language.

But the problems don’t end there. More university language departments are facing closure if student recruitment continues to decline, and the key problem facing language courses is the drop in the number of students sitting the relevant A-levels that are required for entry. And there is a shortage of MFL teachers.

This ought to worry us – even more so as we head towards Brexit. It has been estimated by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages that our failure to communicate in anything other than English costs Britain up to £50 billion a year in lost trade. Declining numbers of MFL students have led to calls for a joined up strategy where the full contribution of languages to the economy and society is realised, with the National Association of Head Teachers particularly vocal.


Language Rights Need to be at the Center of Global Policy

20 February 2017 (Diplomatic Courier)

Languages, with their complex implications for identity, communication, social integration, education and development, are of strategic importance for people and planet. Yet, due to globalization processes, they are increasingly under threat, or disappearing altogether. When languages fade, so does the world’s rich tapestry of cultural diversity. Opportunities, traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking and expression — valuable resources for ensuring a better future — are also lost.

More than 50 percent of the approximately 7,000 languages spoken in the world are likely to die out within a few generations, and 96 percent of these languages are spoken by a mere 4 percent of the world’s population. Only a few hundred languages have genuinely been given pride of place in education systems and the public domain, and less than a hundred are used in the digital world.

Cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, the promotion of education for all and the development of knowledge societies are central to UNESCO’s work. But they are not possible without broad and international commitment to promoting multilingualism and linguistic diversity, including the preservation of endangered languages.

While the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has signed an agreement with the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) to measure global citizenship and sustainable development education, the persistent marginalization of mother languages worldwide is threatening Goal 4 of the UN for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Agenda 2030 includes seven targets in Goal 4 that aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

The seventh target – Goal 4.7 – obliges the international community to ensure that in the next 15 years “all learners (would) acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development”.

UNESCO relates global citizenship to the empowerment of learners to assume active roles to face and resolve global challenges and to become proactive contributors to a more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and secure world.

But the chances that Goal 4.7 would be achieved are rather bleak unless adequate steps are taken urgently. The reason can be deduced from some important data released by the UNESCO on the occasion of the International Mother Language Day, celebrated annually on February 21.


Agenda: So much to be gained from young people learning modern languages

12 February 2017 (Sunday Herald)

Does language learning have a place in the Scottish curriculum? Yes. Are modern languages and their teachers under pressure in secondary schools? Yes. Has there been a better opportunity for promoting language learning in our schools ? No.

Language learning has a vital place in Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) on a learner journey from 3-18 but in a manner that does not see it as the preserve of the secondary school.

It has always baffled me that traditionally in Scotland, given its place in Europe, we started language learning so late in a child’s development.

The earlier we expose children to learning languages, the better their chance is of seeing this as something that is just part of their culture.

From a child development point of view, there’s much research to confirm that children are more receptive educationally and emotionally to language learning from an early age.

They soak it up and acquire language skills at a great pace. We know that bilingualism not only helps the cognitive development of the child but also that children who are in bilingual education such as Gaelic Medium Education also attain and achieve at least as well as, in many cases better, than their monoglot peers. They are fluent in two languages and are learning a third by the age of 11. In addition, there is another plus to early exposure to acquiring additional languages; most parents like it, understand it and support schools that promote it.

The Scottish Government-led 1+2 languages programme is a long-term policy commitment started in 2011 due to run until 2021, aimed at making it normal for all children and young people in Scotland to learn languages from primary one.


New Content Announcement for Language Show Scotland 2017!

10 February 2017 (Language Show Live)

Language Show Live, 10-11 March at the SEC, Glasgow

Europe’s largest event dedicated to language teaching and learning is just 1 month away and the teaching seminar, TEFL forum and language class line ups have all been announced and are now live online! Every seminar at this free-to-attend event is fully CPD accredited and packed full of exclusive content. Head online today to claim your free ticket and enjoy all the content that Europe’s premier language event has to offer.

Remember: Alongside our trademark seminar, workshop and panel session line ups we also have our fantastic cultural piazza stage, free language taster classes, over 80 exhibitor and much, much more!
Language Show Live Scotland logo


UCML and others send Brexit letter

10 February 2017 (UCML)

This letter has been written by a number of heads of UK modern languages and linguistics subject associations, including UCML, and endorsed by several others. It will be sent to the media and a number of leading UK politicians.


MTOT 2016-17 winners announced!

10 February 2017 (SCILT)

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate everyone who took part in this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition for schools in Scotland. We had a wonderful variety of entries and appreciated the creative effort that went into the submissions.

Selecting the finalists for this year's anthology was incredibly difficult for the judges. However, after considerable deliberation, we're pleased to now be able to announce the winners in each category along with highly commended entries which will also feature in the MTOT anthology of poems.

Mother Tongue





P1 – P3


Jan Piwowarczyk (Polish)

St Benedict’s Primary


Highly commended

Kacper Jodelka (Polish)

St John Ogilvie Primary

P4 – P6


Laith Kabour (Arabic)

St John Ogilvie Primary


Highly commended

Ashley Li (Mandarin)

St James’ Primary


Highly commended

Amira Shaaban and Aidah Abubaker (Swahili)

St Rose of Lima Primary


Highly commended

Caroline Rotimi and Joolade Adekoya (Yoruba)

St Maria Goretti Primary

P7 – S1


Miriam Espinosa (Catalan)

St James’ Renfrew



Highly commended

Lemuel Pascual (Filipino)


St James’ Renfrew


Highly commended

Noemi Dzurjanikova (Slovak)

St Rose of Lima

S2 – S3


Stefan Benyak (Hungarian)

Castlehead High


Highly commended

Éva Tallaron (French)

Royal High

Senior Phase


Boglarka Balla (Hungarian)

Graeme High


Highly commended

Ayesha Mujeb (Urdu)

George Heriot’s


Highly commended

Nadya Clarkson (Russian)

George Heriot’s


Other Tongue





P1 – P3


Julia Gawel (Scots)

Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral Primary

P4 – P6


Nathan Watson and Aiden Wardrop (French)

Johnshaven Primary



Highly commended

Jack Shaw (German)

Gartcosh Primary



Eva Campbell (German)

Gartcosh Primary

P7 – S1


Rosalind Turnbull (French)

Doune Primary


Highly commended

Samuel Kassm, Theo Wilson, Emma Cullen and Darren Campbell (French, Spanish, Italian, Urdu, Scots)

Battlefield  Primary

S2 – S3


Simi Singh (French)

Graeme High


Highly commended

Ciara Wilkie (French)

St Margaret’s Academy

Senior Phase


Jordanna Bashir (French)

Shawlands Academy


Highly commended

Holly Mincher (Spanish)

St Andrew’s


Highly commended

Rachel Cairns (French)

Graeme High

Well done to everyone who took part in the competition. It's been a marvellous celebration of the various languages spoken in our communities. You should all be very proud of your work.

To mark participation in the competition, registered schools will shortly be sent a certificate which can be printed out and presented to pupils who took part. The finalists above will be invited in due course to receive theirs at the MTOT celebration event on 11 March.

Thank you all once again and keep writing!

Join the EOL network

9 February 2017 (ECML)

Do you feel passionate about the learning and teaching of languages? Do you believe that your learners will benefits from acquiring language skills? Would you like to improve your school environment in relation to language teaching and learning? Are you interested in working with the ECML (European Centre for Modern Languages) of the Council of Europe?

Then why not join the EOL network? The EOL project team is delighted to work with all stakeholders in education in order to develop learning environments where modern languages flourish. More than 40 schools are already involved in the EOL project.

To find out more about the project and to join, visit the ECML website.


Why multilingualism is good for economic growth

3 February 2017 (The Conversation)

'If your strategy is to trade only with people that speak English that’s going to be a poor strategy.'

Top US economist Larry Summers recently tweeted this in relation to America’s focus on its so-called special relationship with the UK. And he’s right. The economic impact on the US – or any other country – that closes off its trade barriers with countries that are different to it would be enormous.

Language matters on a large-scale national level and at the level of smaller businesses.


New and inclusive!

3 February 2017 (SCILT)

Content for the ‘Languages for all’ area of our website is now up. The blog has launched. Pointers to professional learning opportunities are there. Links to relevant materials already on SCILT are listed.

We promise even more to come in the months ahead, so check back regularly for updates.

We’re also very interested to hear your comments about your experiences of inclusive practice in languages. To contact the group, please email SCILT or tweet @Lynne_SCILT using the hashtag #langs4all.


Rescuing and reviving the curriculum is not enough to restore modern foreign languages to their rightful position

28 January 2017 (TES)

It's not enough to grandstand the fact that languages have been introduced at primary school and leave it at that, writes this veteran journalist.

I can remember my first German lesson at school only too clearly.

The first two phrases that I was taught were "Mutti bleibt zu hause" and "Vater geht zu arbeit". For the uninitiated, that means "mother stays at home" and "father goes to work". 

Apart from giving a rather forlorn view of the state of society in the early 1960's, it also shows how mind-bogglingly dreary were the German textbooks of the day.


Language Show Scotland – Free event + 20% discount on language classes!

24 January 2017 (Language Show Live)

Scotland’s biggest and most prestigious event dedicated to all things language is back at the SECC in Glasgow on the 10th – 11th of March 2017. Officially sponsored by Education Scotland and the Scottish Government this free to attend event is a must for anyone interested in learning or advancing their languages, exploring job opportunities in the language industry, considering teaching or working abroad, enjoying a fantastic range of international cultural performances and much, much more!


Sample our extensive free seminar programme, meet over 100 top exhibitors like the European Commission, the Chartered Institute of Linguists and the British Council, meet language professional recruiters, enjoy our fantastic array of cultural performances, free language classes and more.

Find out more and register for free today.

Our trademark intensive 2 hour Language Plus classes are also now available online at a heavily discounted early bird rate (over 20% off the standard price!) of just £18. These optional add-ons can be purchased at the end of the free registration process and are certain to add a productive language experience to your day!

Language Show Live Scotland 2017 logo


Cuts forcing schools to axe language and science exams

19 January 2017 (The Herald)

Schools are having to cut the number of subjects they offer to pupils as a direct result of cuts, teachers’ leaders have warned.

An education union said current budgetary pressures meant courses such as extra languages and sciences could not run unless at least ten pupils were interested.

The concerns were raised at a meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s education committee which is examining the roll-out of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) reforms.


Why making languages non-compulsory at GCSE is a step backwards

17 January 2017 (The Telegraph)

I am nervous as I take my seat in front of the Head of Languages; it is GCSE choices evening and the school gym has been transformed, criss-crossed by rows of tables and chairs with eager parents and their offspring gathered around harried-looking teachers.

“I'd like to do Triple Language,” I say, “French, Spanish and Italian.”

She regards me over the top of her sheet full of names, in front of her.

“Oh no, I don't think so. You could do Spanish, maybe, but you'll find three too difficult.”

Seven years later and I am on the brink of successfully completing my undergraduate degree in, you guessed it, languages. And whilst I look back on that exchange now with a certain degree of victorious pride, I still can't help but wonder what prompted her to turn a perfectly capable student away from her course.

In this performance-obsessed climate where a pupil's grades are often put before their education, it is unsurprising that even some of the best teachers find themselves advising students against courses which are deemed too challenging. But we must do away with the notion that languages are an elite subject if we are to improve the dire situation in which we now find ourselves.


United Kingdom Linguistics Olympiad 2017

17 January 2017 (UKLO)

UKLO is a competition for students who are still at school (or equivalent college) – any age, any ability level – in which they have to solve linguistic data problems. Thanks to our generous academic supporters, it’s completely free to both competitors and schools.

The UK Olympiad also enters at least one team in the International Linguistics Olympiad.

The United Kingdom Linguistics Olympiad (UKLO) for 2017 will soon get underway with round 1 taking place from 6-10 February.

If you are interested in finding out more about the competition and registering your school to take part, visit the UKLO website.


Regional Cross-Sector Hub Meetings, Round 2

13 January 2017 (SCILT / UCMLS)

UCMLS (University Council for Modern Languages Scotland) is again holding a second round of regional cross-sector hub meetings during January and February.

Participants will have the opportunity to meet with university colleagues to discuss current and future collaborative events in support of the Scottish Government's 1+2 language policy. Comments will feed into the UCMLS cross -sector action plan in support of 1+2, due to be launched on Friday 10 March 2017 at Glasgow City Chambers.

  • Central Hub: Saturday 14 January 2017, 10-11.30, University of Dundee, Dalhousie Building, Room 2G13 (Registrations for the Central Hub meeting have now closed but if you wish to attend please send an email to
  • North Hub: Wednesday 1 February 2017, 4-5.30 pm, University of Aberdeen, Sir Duncan Rice Library, Top Floor, Room 1. Please register by 25 January
  • West Hub: Thursday, 2 February 2017, 5-6.30 pm, City of Glasgow College, Cathedral Street, Glasgow. Meet in Cafe Zero. Please register by 27 January
  • East Hub: Friday, 24 February 2017, 2-4 pm, Open University, 10 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh. Room tbc. Registration will open once room details have been confirmed so please look out for the update!

How to save MFL? Paint a brighter global future…

6 January 2017 (TES)

As students flee modern foreign languages in droves, Alistair McConville says that we should stop talking about the earning potential of subjects and instead appeal to pupils’ youthful sense of social empathy – especially at a time of political upheaval around the world.

The full article can be accessed on TES online, 6 January 2017 (subscription required).


SQA Course Reports

15 December 2016 (SQA)

SQA has now published the Modern Languages course reports for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher.

These contain helpful information on candidate performance in the 2017 examinations as well as providing invaluable advice to centres. Teachers may find the information particularly useful in the run up to prelims.

To access the reports for all Modern Languages visit the SQA website and choose National 5, Higher or Advanced Higher.

The course reports can be found under the tab Verification and Course Reports at the bottom of the page.

SCILT will summarise the key messages and publish them on the website early in the New Year.


1+2 languages Development Officers’ conference

15 December 2016 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland, SCILT and UCMLS ran a joint DO conference on Tuesday 29 November with a focus on sharing good practice in implementation strategies for 1+2 languages.

The morning session was given over to a presentation by Professor Angela Scarino, University of South Australia, architect of the Australian languages policy. You can now view Professor Scarino's presentation online.


UCMLS - Second round of regional cross-sector hub meetings

15 December 2016 (SCILT / UCMLS)

We are holding a second round of regional cross-sector hub meetings in January/February where we are seeking your views in preparation for the UCMLS action plan in support of the 1+2 language policy (Launch date: 10 March, in Glasgow!).

Dates for Central and North Hub are already decided, those for East and West Hub will be announced in the New Year.

First up, though is the Central Hub meeting, which will be held at the University of Dundee (Dalhousie, Room 2G13) on Saturday 14 January 2017, 10-12 (Registration from 9.30). The North Hub meeting will be at the University of Aberdeen, on Wednesday 1 February (Library, top floor).

Please check for updates on the SCILT website.


Learning a second language still matters

10 December 2016 (Times Higher Education)

The Brexit vote sent shock waves through the UK’s modern languages community.

Already shaken by the closure of modern languages departments at the universities of Ulster and Northumbria, a continuing downward trend in undergraduate enrolments, and the loss of Higher Education Funding Council for England funding for the Routes Into Languages programme, the vote seemed to many to be symptomatic of a lack of understanding of the value of languages both nationally and internationally.

Part of the problem derives from the widespread misconception that speaking English is enough and that monolingualism is the norm.


The best places to study for a degree in Europe

8 December 2016 (The Guardian)

Studying abroad is a fun way to grow up. You travel. You meet new people. You get out of your comfort zone. It shows you’re willing to get out, leave your home town, and go see the world. 

As it stands, some European countries enable Brits to study without paying tuition fees or incurring anywhere near as much debt as they would in the UK. Living costs can also be cheap. Many learn a new language and experience a different teaching style. Some stay on and find jobs. Others fall in love and life takes a different direction altogether. Whatever comes of it, studying in Europe is worth considering. Here’s a roundup of our top destinations.


A map showing how many foreign languages children study at school in different European countries

3 December 2016 (The Independent)

Learning foreign languages is key to getting ahead. The UK used to be much better teaching languages in schools, but in recent years we've been outdone by our fellow Europeans.

Recently data from Eurostat was transformed into a map by linguist and cartographer Jakub Marian.

Based on their most recent data from 2013, it shows what European countries teach foreign languages to their young populations.


SCILT Christmas webpage now live!

2 December 2016 (SCILT)

Are you looking for ways to bring the festive season to your languages classroom?

SCILT have compiled a range of online resources for use with your pupils, from songs and games to interactive advent calendars. Find out how Christmas is celebrated in France, Germany, Spain and around the world!


Arabic? Polish? Dutch? Your views on the languages schools should teach

1 December 2016 (The Guardian)

What languages should we teach children in schools, and why? The question came to the fore on Monday after the Polish prime minister, Beata Szydło, called on Theresa May to introduce Polish classes in British schools.

With 831,000 Poles living in Britain – they make up the largest immigrant group in the UK – introducing the language certainly could help communities feel more integrated.

Traditionally in secondary schools in the UK, the most widely taught languages have been French, Spanish and German, according to data from the British Council in collected from 2013 to 2014. In 2010 the government also decided to train 1,000 Mandarin teachers to work in secondary schools in England thanks to China’s increasing influence on the global economy.

How should we select languages for the curriculum? Should we choose those that are spoken the most in Britain? What languages have been most helpful to you? We asked our readers these questions and this is what they said.


Making teaching more conversational could help tackle languages crisis

18 November 2016 (TES)

Foreign language teachers should teach more commonly used words and conversational subject matter to engage pupils in their subjects, a report published today recommends.

The Teaching Schools Council argues that such changes would help more students persist in studying foreign languages, which the research described as being in “crisis” beyond GCSE.

The council's Modern Foreign Languages Pedagogy Review report points out that fewer than half of pupils take a GCSE in a language. It recommends that the "vast majority of young people" should study a modern foreign language up to age 16 and take a GCSE in it.

The report, designed to provide advice for secondary school languages teachers, suggests some language teaching uses vocabulary that is too specialised because it sticks with set themes, such as "free-time activities" and the "environment".


'Now More Than Ever’ - Why The UK Needs To Make More Time For Language Learning In The Run Up To Brexit

17 November 2016 (Huffington Post)

'Language skills matter now more than ever’ - that is the resounding message coming from the British Council’s latest piece of research on language learning in the post-Brexit landscape. But with language uptake low in schools - and the majority of us admitting our own linguistic skills are rusty at best - what can be done to make sure languages get the recognition they deserve as the UK prepares to leave the EU?

Well the good news is that the majority of us recognise the vital role that languages have to play in the current climate. Out of the 2,000 UK adults surveyed by Populus in our new poll for International Education Week, 63 per cent saw the ability to speak other languages as being essential if the country is to remain “outward looking”. 61 per cent said they were more vital than ever if the UK is to remain “open for business” in light of the result of the EU referendum.


Language skills ‘more vital than ever’

15 November 2016 (British Council)

Language skills are ‘more vital than ever’ if the UK is to remain ‘outward looking’ and ‘open for business’ in the run up to Brexit, new British Council research has revealed.

In a survey of over 2,000 UK adults, the majority saw the ability to speak foreign languages as being essential if the UK is to successfully reach out to other countries (63 per cent) - and guarantee continued trade and investment (61 per cent) – in light of the result of the EU referendum.

Over two thirds of those surveyed (67 per cent) believed that as a country, we currently don’t encourage enough young people in the UK to learn other languages, with a similar number (63 per cent) stating that schools need to make more time than ever before for language learning as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.


News Exclusive: The Arsenal Double Club

14 November 2016 (Arsenal Football Club)

With a total of seven languages in his armoury, Petr Cech is by far the most lingual member of Arsenal’s squad, now that Mikel Arteta, conversant in nine tongues, has left the club. Earlier this year, Steve Eadon, Languages coordinator for the Arsenal Double Club, interviewed Cech about his experience with languages.

“Before I do these interviews, I have a little time with the players off camera,” explains Steve, who has also interviewed Hector Bellerin and Gabriel on the same subject. “I asked Petr how many of these languages he is actually fluent in. He said that he was fluent in all of them. So we tested him and, needless to say, he was telling the truth!”

Cech voluntarily learned Spanish and Portuguese when he arrived at Chelsea due to the proliferation of Spanish and Portuguese speaking players in the Blues’ defence. Cech revealed earlier this year that he uses three different languages to communicate with the Arsenal defence.


Make Time for Languages! - International Education Week 2016

8 November 2016 (British Council)

A reminder that this year's International Education Week (IEW), taking place from 14-18 November, has a focus on languages.

Find out how you can get involved by visiting the British Council's IEW website.


Scots Makar, Jackie Kay, supports MTOT

4 November 2016 (SCILT)

We are delighted to have Jackie Kay, the national laureate, as patron for this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition for schools in Scotland.

Hear Jackie's message supporting the aims and values of the competition in the video on our MTOT webpage.


Lords debate on Brexit impact for HE funding and research

3 November 2016 (They Work For You)

The motion was raised in the House of Lords on 3 November 2016 that the House takes note of the potential impact of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union on funding for universities and scientific research.

During the debate, Baroness Garden of Frognal raised the importance of increasing and improving the UK's ability to communicate with the world in languages other than English following withdrawal from the EU.

The full debate can be accessed online.


Interactive map reveals the cost of mastering the world’s top 20 languages

3 November 2016 (Daily Mail)

Whether it’s the winter weather or the global political flux that has set your wanderlust in motion, it’s hard to resist the idea of one day living overseas.

Indeed some 323,000 Brits left the UK for foreign climes last year, but if you’re tempted to pack up and book a ticket, it’s worth considering the cost and time it takes to learn a new language, because it's more than you think.

An interactive map of the world's top 20 languages has revealed that Mandarin is the most expensive language to learn, averaging £66,035 to become fluent. Francophiles will be delighted to discover that French is the easiest language to grasp - taking just 550 hours and £14,000 to learn.


Business Brunches 2017

28 October 2016 (SCILT)

For the third year in succession SCILT, in partnership with University Council for Modern Languages (UCMLS) will be hosting a series of Business Brunch events across Scotland in January and February 2017. These will take place in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness.

Aimed specifically at S3 - S6 pupils, these events will demonstrate the relevance of language skills in a work context with the intention of encouraging pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education.

Registration is now open for the Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen events. (Edinburgh and Inverness will open soon).

To find out more and to register by 21 November, visit our Business Brunch 2017 webpage.


Erasmus+ 2017 deadlines announced

21 October 2016 (Erasmus+)

All the deadlines and information on the types of activities you can apply for are contained in the 2017 Call for Proposals document and the 2017 Programme Guide both of which you can download from the Key Resources page of our website. The Call for Proposals is an overview document containing all the deadlines for 2017, while the Programme Guide contains all the detailed information on how to apply for Erasmus+ funding. You will need to read both documents when planning an application.


'It's a crying shame': teachers on scrapped A-level subjects

21 October 2016 (The Guardian)

There has been an outcry this week over minority A-levels that are being cut from the curriculum, with news that archeology and history of art will no longer be offered to sixth-form students.

Suzanne O’Farrell, Curriculum and assessment specialist for the Association of School and College Leaders discussed modern languages.

O’Farrell fell in love with languages at school. She studied French and German at A-level, then at degree level and went on to teach modern languages in schools for 28 years. This year her son started his A-levels but there was no longer an option to study either French or German. Now she’s trying to teach him herself.


Plan now to avoid post-Brexit languages crisis, say MPs

17 October 2016 (BBC News)

The government must plan now to avoid a post-Brexit languages crisis, say a cross-party group of MPs and peers.

Trade talks after leaving the EU will need more UK officials with language skills, say the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Modern Languages. There is already a languages skills shortage but currently the UK can rely on other EU nationals "to plug the gap", say the group.

Ministers say their reforms are already boosting language learning in schools.


Our Europe - film competition for schools

12 October 2016 (SEET)

Our Europe 2016-17 is now open for registration!

The film-making competition for S3-S6 pupils is an annual competition run by the Scottish European Educational Trust. Teams of 4 design a storyboard outlining the film they propose to make based on the competition theme. This year the topic is global citizenship, specifically addressing one of the following themes:

  • Travel and Leisure
  • Migration and welcome
  • Trade

As always, films must include the use of at least one language other than English. This year any and all languages will be accepted in entries. All teams have to do is put their ideas into a storyboard and send them to SEET by 8 December 2016.

For more information, visit SEET's Our Europe competition website.


Brexit: Scheme extended to encourage foreign language take up

8 October 2016 (BBC News)

Addressing a serious decline in the number of Welsh pupils learning foreign languages is "urgent" following the Brexit vote, an academic has warned.

There were 700 A-level language entries in 2015 compared with 1,152 in 2009.

A scheme, which sees university students mentoring secondary school pupils, is being extended after making a "clear impact" on class numbers.

Professor Claire Gorrara said the scheme was more important than ever after the Brexit vote.

The Cardiff University professor, who leads the project, said it had led to improvements to the 28 schools involved in the pilot across Wales.


Opinion: Brexit and the importance of languages for Britain #2

7 October 2016 (University of Cambridge Research)

In the second of a new series of comment pieces written by linguists at Cambridge, Dr Heather Inwood, Lecturer in Modern & Contemporary Chinese Literature and Culture, argues that Britain needs to improve its language skills to build trade relations and break through cultural divides.


Related Links

Opinion: Brexit and the importance of languages for Britain #1 (University of Cambridge Research, 26 September 2016)

How a deaf teenager from Congo found her voice in poetry

6 October 2016 (STV News)

For most of her life, it seemed as though Keren Mingole would never have a place to call home.

Forced to escape war-torn country of DR Congo, the 16-year-old has been brought up in Scotland from a very early age. Not only faced with the difficulty of communicating with strangers, Keren also had to learn British Sign Language.

[..] In 2015, an opportunity arose for Keren to explore and draw from her difficult experiences as a child through a multilingual poetry contest.

The Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition explores cultural identity, and allows pupils from P1-S6 to enter creative pieces of work and celebrate the many different languages used in schools throughout the UK.

Pupils from across Scotland are currently participating in the multi-cultural competition, which is officially endorsed by Nobel Peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai. Scottish Makar Jackie Kay is also the official patron.

Keren won the 2015 Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition with her poem 'Who am I?' - a composition of her journey from her native home to her current home, Scotland.


Related Links

National Poetry Day (STV News, 6 October 2016) See Jackie Kay and one of last year's MTOT winners, Keren Mingole, talk about poetry in their lives (the programme is available on iPlayer until 13/09/16 - watch from 28:50).

Language Ambassadors Programme

6 October 2016 (University of Strathclyde)

Now in its 5th year, the Language Ambassadors Programme is offering visits to Secondary or Primary schools (and other formats too). As Language Ambassadors we will talk about our varied experiences as language learners and do our best to encourage your pupils to follow in our footsteps…

Motivation, experiences abroad, transition to First year at university, job prospects, university courses… This is what we can tell them about.

Boost your young learners’ motivation, invite us in!

For more information see the Language Ambassadors website and to organise a visit, simply contact: Cédric Moreau,

Language Ambassadors at Strathclyde photo


Celebrate National Poetry Day!

6 October 2016 (SCILT)

Today is National Poetry Day and the theme this year is 'Messages'. To mark the occasion we've created our own triolet poem in French on this theme.

You can see the poem on the National Poetry Day webpage of our MTOT website. We hope it will provide some inspiration for those taking part in the Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition in Scotland! There are lots of other poetry resources on our website too. So take a look and get creative!


European Day of Languages - SCILT blog

30 September 2016 (SCILT)

How did you celebrate the European Day of Languages 2016? Visit our EDL 2016 blog to hear how schools used cooking, bingo, green screens and Eurovision to celebrate the linguistic diversity of Europe this year!

If you would like to feature in our EDL blog then send some colourful photos and a description of your activities to


SQA news

29 September 2016 (SQA)

The following news items from the SQA may be of interest to language teachers:

Removal of Higher exemplar question papers

Exemplar question papers (EQPs) were created as a revision resource for learners during implementation of the new Higher and Advanced Higher National Qualifications. As we now have two years' worth of past papers for new Higher as well as a specimen question paper for each subject with an exam, the EQPs will be removed from SQA's open website in the week commencing 24 October 2016. Associated guidance documents and guidance on the use of past papers documents will also be removed at this time.

The Advanced Higher EQPs and associated guidance will remain for session 2016-17 and will be removed from the website in July 2017.

Marker opportunities 2017

Are you an enthusiastic and committed teaching professional looking for a new challenge? Do you want to gain valuable insight that will benefit your students? SQA markers are at the heart of our examination operations, gaining valuable insight into assessment and quality assurance processes.

We are currently recruiting markers across all subjects and levels for the 2017 examinations.

Please note that applicants must have at least two years of teaching experience at the level they wish to mark.  Find out more about becoming an SQA marker.

European Day of Languages - ideas and blog

23 September 2016 (SCILT)

The European Day of Languages takes place on Monday 26th September and we're delighted that so many schools around the country are celebrating this year. If you need any last minute inspiration for your class there are lots of ideas and links on the SCILT EDL webpage.

Let us know how you celebrate we will feature you in our EDL 2016 blog. If you include some colourful photos your article could even appear in our next newsletter!


Languages 'Beyond School'

16 September 2016 (SCILT)

As the UCAS application process gets underway, make sure any pupils thinking of continuing their language studies checks out the Beyond School section of our website.

This section contains useful information to help senior pupils decide on the different language courses and options available once they have left school, at college, university or as part of a gap year. There are links to courses available in Scotland and across the UK.

Pupils, parents, guidance and careers staff should all find this section of our website useful.


MTOT - Free creative poetry workshops for teachers

9 September 2016 (SCILT)

Once again, we are delighted to be able to offer FREE poetry workshops for primary and secondary teachers at four different venues across Scotland.

Teachers will work with Juliette Lee, a poet and creative writer, for a half-day workshop to develop their own creativity, explore poetry and the impact of language we use. We hope that teachers will leave inspired and able to take back some ideas and examples to work with their own pupils who will then submit their poems/rhymes/raps/songs into the MTOT competition.

Teachers do not have to attend one of the workshops to register their school for the MTOT competition although the workshops are a fantastic opportunity to develop your skills in teaching poetry, languages and to gather ideas to take back into the classroom. Due to the creative and interactive nature of these workshops, places are limited to 15 teachers at each venue, therefore we advise you to book your place early.

Details of the workshops are as follows. Click on the appropriate workshop link below to register for the event.

  • Saturday 24 September, 10.00 – 12.30; Dundee University, Dundee (deadline for registration Friday 16 September)
  • Friday 30 September, 13.30 – 16.00; The Open University in Scotland, Edinburgh (deadline for registration 6pm Monday 26 September)
  • Saturday 1 October, 10.00 – 12.30; Inverness College - UHI, Inverness (deadline for registration 6pm Monday 26 September)
  • Saturday 8 October, 12.00 – 14.30; University of Strathclyde, Glasgow (deadline for registration Friday 30 September) PLEASE NOTE EVENT NOW FULL!
For more information about the competition visit the MTOT page on our website and register your school to take part!


ALL Language Teacher of the Year Awards 2017

5 September 2016 (ALL)

Calling all head teachers, heads of department, language coordinators and ALL primary hub leaders!

Do you know a very special primary or secondary language teacher?

If you know a teacher who inspires pupils through superb teaching and supports colleagues by sharing their expertise and ideas, then why not nominate them for an Association for Language Learning (ALL) Language Teacher of the Year Award 2017?

Now open to teachers throughout the UK.

Visit the ALL website for full details and submit your nomination by Friday 21 October 2016.


MTOT 2016-17 launch!

2 September 2016 (SCILT)

We're delighted to announce the launch of this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition and are thrilled to welcome the new Scots Makar, Jackie Kay, as the competition's patron.

Whether pupils are learning a language at school, or whether they speak a native language at home, everyone can get involved in celebrating their linguistic and cultural diversity through creative poetry writing as there are options to enter in either the Mother Tongue or Other Tongue category.

We are in the process of finalising poetry workshops for teachers, which will take place towards the end of September/beginning of October. Further details will follow soon.

In the meantime, you can find out more about this year's competition and previous events on our MTOT website and register your school to take part!


European Day of Languages 2016

19 August 2016 (SCILT)

The European Day of Languages (EDL) is celebrated across Europe on the 26th of September every year. It aims to promote the rich linguistic diversity of Europe and raise awareness of the importance of lifelong language learning for everyone.

SCILT is helping schools across Scotland to celebrate by distributing materials developed by the ECML. These resources are free to order and act as excellent prizes and rewards.

Visit our European Day of Languages 2016 webpage for information on how to order packs, for ideas on how to celebrate, and to find out how your school could feature in our EDL2016 blog.


New SCILT/CISS Professional Learning Menus for 2016-17

10 June 2016 (SCILT / CISS)

It’s Launch Day! The brand new professional learning menus for SCILT and CISS are out now!

The focus of both CLPL menus is on supporting teachers and making connections between languages and other high profile aspects of Scottish education such as the Developing Young Workforce, raising attainment and parental engagement agendas.

As always, our CLPL comes to local authorities for no charge. Nada, zilch, gratis!

There are both sector specific and cross-sector workshop options to choose from. In addition, we are also happy to develop bespoke inputs to match your particular professional learning needs, just get in touch.

Don’t hang about though! Bookings have already started coming in and calendars at SCILT and CISS are filling up fast. Please contact with your request in writing.

P.S. Remember to keep a look out on the bulletin for other professional learning opportunities that will be taking place at SCILT HQ and on Glow during the year. If you don't already receive our weekly e-bulletin, make sure you don't miss out on updates and subscribe now!


MOOC: Multilingual Learning for a Globalised World

3 June 2016 (Future Learn)

This free 3-week online course, commencing 13 June 2016, will explore multilingual education and how it can impact and improve education and even wider society.

Our languages are an essential part of who we are as human beings. They are instruments of communication and are often a source of dignity and of human pride. Our life experiences and views of the world are bound up in our languages.

In week 3 you can hear about the Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition, where school pupils are invited to express themselves either in the language they speak at home or in one they are learning at school, and which will be run again in Scotland by SCILT in the new term.

For more information about the course and to enrol, visit the Future Learn website.


SQA Modern Languages update - May 2016

31 May 2016 (SQA)

The SQA has recently published their National Qualification update for Modern Languages.


The benefits of teaching languages outdoors

24 May 2016 (Innovate my school)

In the beginning, human beings were not designed to spend hours each day surrounded by brick walls. They were naturally programmed for survival, for the great outdoors with its unpredictability, and each day provided naturally occurring learning opportunities which were a necessity if our ancient ancestors were to survive. 

[..] Combining language learning with being outside, enjoying nature and teaching the use of natural resources and the local environment around learners makes for a stimulating, enriching opportunity. This is relevant to the context of a school or community, and which can be developed and linked to a much wider global context. One very effective way to do this in Scotland, and beyond, is by combining language learning with the John Muir Award.


The value of languages: Ideas for a UK strategy for languages

23 May 2016 (UCML)

What value should we put on languages in the UK? Why do they actually matter (if the world is learning English...)? What strategies do we need as a country in respect of languages? This excellent report draws out some of the current evidence, illustrated by excellent case-studies and then makes several strong recommendations about a way forward.

The report, published in May 2016, follows the high level cross-departmental workshop held in autumn 2015 which brought together language academics, lobbyists and civil servants and was chaired by Baroness Coussins, co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Languages.


University guide 2017: league table for modern languages & linguistics

23 May 2016 (The Guardian)

Use the Guardian's 2017 league table of modern languages and linguistics taught at UK universities to help with course choices.

A link to the guide can also be found on the Beyond School area of the SCILT website under the Language courses, UK universities section.


Film producer aims to raise questions about language in the classroom

11 May 2016 (The Herald)

There are 72 indigenous languages spoken in Zambia. In the classroom, however, pupils are taught in none of them. As a new Scottish film, The Colours of the Alphabet, reveals, English is the language of education in the country.

Current estimates suggest that nearly 40 per cent of the world’s population lack access to education in their own language. It is a problem that is increasingly felt in Scotland too as the country becomes increasingly multicultural.

In Zambia, the film’s Scottish producer Nick Higgins points out, teaching in English is something of a colonial hangover. It also is a result of an impoverished education system that can’t afford to produce material in indigenous languages. But he hopes the film will also raise questions about our own attitudes towards language in schools in Scotland and beyond.


MTOT 2015-16 Celebration Event held at Language Show Live

29 April 2016 (SCILT)

The celebration event for MTOT 2015-16 saw 20 award winners receive their prizes on the main Piazza stage at the SECC on Saturday 12 March 2016 as part of the wider Language Show Live Scotland event.

Pupils took the opportunity to perform their poems and rhymes to the audience, showcasing the many languages used by children and young people both in school and at home. The event drew in a huge crowd, with passers-by stopping to also see and hear their work.

Find out more about the day on our MTOT Celebration Event webpage, where you can also find links to the list of winners, pupil videos and recitals, the anthology, press articles and photos from the event.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone again for their support and participation, which helped make the competition and celebration such a success. We hope to run MTOT again next year, so make sure you sign up to our e-bulletin for updates, or follow us on our social media sites Twitter or Facebook.


The Languages Trends Survey 2016

18 April 2016 (British Council / Education Development Trust)

Teachers have expressed 'deep concerns' about the current state of language learning in schools in England, according to a new report from the British Council and Education Development Trust.

The Language Trends Survey 2016 - now in its fourteenth year - identifies numerous challenges currently facing language teaching in England and highlights that teachers and school leaders see the exam system as one of the principal barriers preventing its successful development.

[...]The Language Trends Survey 2015/16 is the 14th in a series of annual research exercises, charting the state of language teaching and learning in schools in England. The research is based on an online survey completed by teachers in 492 state secondary schools, 556 state primary schools and 132 independent secondary schools across the country. This year, case studies from both primary and secondary schools have been included to provide a more detailed picture of what is happening on the ground.


Stem and languages specialists 'more likely to go to top universities'

29 March 2016 (TES)

A level students focusing on science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) subjects or languages are more likely to go to Russell Group institutions, according to research.

And the study finds that students who specialised in "applied" or "expressive" subjects – such as accounting, law, music and performing arts – were more likely to go on to study at less prestigious newer universities.


FREE! Euro 2016 challenge for secondary schools

16 March 2016 (Arsenal Double Club)

In celebration of the European Championships in France this summer, the Arsenal Double Club team are launching an exciting, free-to-enter language challenge for all UK secondary schools.

The challenge is to create a language activity for primary school children aged 9-11, in a language of your choice, about any aspect of France or French culture.

The best overall group, as decided by the judges, will receive the Arsenal Double Club Euro 2016 trophy and have their language activity adapted and published as an official Arsenal Double Club teaching material!

This competition is open to all UK secondary schools and you do not need to be an existing Double Club school to participate.

Deadline for entries is 6pm on Tuesday 10 May 2016.

Visit the Arsenal Double Club website for more information and how to register to take part.


Mother Tongue Other Tongue 2015-16 finale!

15 March 2016 (SCILT)

Our Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition came to its finale at the Languages Show Live at the SECC, Glasgow on Saturday 12 March. Pupils, parents and teachers celebrated the children’s creativity at the event which gave the opportunity for the children and young people to perform their poems to the audience.

The event drew in a huge audience, with passers-by stopping to also hear their poetry and see them being presented with trophies and prizes from Atta Yaqub, SFA Equity Officer and actor, and Juana Adcock, bilingual poet and translator. The MTOT 2015/16 anthology was also launched, with children and teachers taking home copies containing their wonderful poems.

With over 400 children participating, the hardest task was to decide upon our winners and highly commended entries from each category. Our award winners are as follows:




Mother Tongue



P1 - 3 (Winner)

Simon Paulicek (Czech)

St Paul’s, Shettleston

P1 - 3  (Highly Commended)

Emili Harris (German)

Preston Street Primary

P4 – 6 (Winner)

Daniel Homstol (Norwegian)   

Bishopton  Primary

P4 – 6  (Highly Commended)

Milmante Dzisevic (Russian)

St Fergus  Primary

P4 – 6 (Highly Commended)

Andras Poszmik (Hungarian)

St Anne’s  Primary

P7 – S1 (Winner)

Weronika Jargielo (Polish)

Douglas Academy

P7 – S1 (Highly Commended)

Blanka Szopa (Polish)

St Paul’s  Primary

P7 – S1 (Highly Commended)

Nina Bourdarias (French)

Inveralmond Community High

S2 – 3 (Winner)

Keren Mingole  (BSL)

St Roch’s Secondary

S2 – 3 (Highly Commended)

Solange Becquart (French)

Ellon Academy

Senior (Winner)

Lin Meng  (Mandarin)

Ellon Academy




Other Tongue



P1 – 3 (Winner)

Freya Mole (BSL)

Preston Street Primary

P4 - 6 (Winner)

Khadidja Chaher (French)

Netherlee Primary

P4 - 6 (Highly Commended

Avelon Mungersdorf (French)

St Ninian’s Primary

P7 – S1 (Winner)

Ailbhe Murphy (Gaelic) 

Glasgow Gaelic School

P7 – S1 (Highly Commended)

Maggie Lawson (French)

Douglas Academy

S2 – 3 (Winner)

Gregor Murray (Spanish)

St Margaret’s Academy

S2 – 3 (Highly Commended)

Aimee Campbell (French)

Inveralmond CHS

Senior (Winner)

Ronan McCart (Spanish)

St Margaret’s Academy

Senior (Highly Commended)

Eleanor Pain (Italian)

George Heriot’s School


Once we have published photographs from the day and the on-line version of the anthology, we will post via the weekly e-bulletin.  If you don't already receive the news bulletin you can sign-up to receive this each Friday during term time.

SCILT at Language Show Live

10 March 2016 (SCILT)

We’ll be at Language Show Live Scotland at the SECC in Glasgow for the 2-day celebration of all things languages this weekend, so if you’re attending come and see us at stand 432. Our CISS colleagues will be based at stand 440 and we’re also running a number of seminars over the course of the event.

See the Language Show Live website for more information. Hope to see you there!


Last chance to book your ticket for Language Show Scotland

9 March 2016 (Language Show Live)

Scotland’s largest language event opens this weekend at 10am! Join us for an incredible celebration of languages and save time on arrival by registering for your ticket now.

At Language Show Live Scotland you’ll find a wealth of language resources, expert advice and networking opportunities to help your professional development.

Top reasons to attend:

  • The best language companies exhibiting on the main show floor
  • Over 30 free CPD certified seminars
  • 1+2 Primary Hub supported by SCILT and Goethe Institut
  • Careers Zone and CV Clinic
  • Gaelic & Scots Festival
  • Networking opportunities

All this and much more on your doorstep this 11-12 March. And here's the best bit: it’s all FREE to attend!

Don't delay! Register in advance for free entry tickets and avoid the queues on the day.

Language Show Live Scotland will take place at the SECC in Glasgow. Visit for more information.


Language Show Live Scotland opens next week!

3 March 2016 (Language Show Live)

Scotland’s largest language event opens next week at the SECC in Glasgow and will bring you the best suppliers and speakers from the language industry all under one roof.

Start planning your visit in advance to make the most of your time at the show. Here’s a few of the highlights we've picked out to get you started: 

  • ‘1+2: A National Overview’ with Louise Glen, Education Scotland 
  • ‘Contextualising Learning in the Broad General Education’ with Julie-Anne Mckenzie, SCILT 
  • ‘Is your Primary Language Teaching Effective?’ with Juliet Park, Yewlands Academy 
  • ‘Using School Partnerships to Support Languages’ with Kate Walker, British Council

This is just a taster of what’s on offer at Language Show Live Scotland. Browse our full seminar programme and discover all the other inspirational sessions we’ve planned.

This is a unique opportunity to meet national and international top industry experts all in one place in Glasgow. Don’t wait any longer and register today to receive your FREE ticket.


Let’s talk about wider cultural dialogue

25 February 2016 (THE)

In the very near future, the Arts and Humanities Research Council will announce the large projects that it will finance over the next four years as part of its Open World Research Initiative.

The scheme seeks to provide “a new and exciting vision for languages research in response to the challenges and opportunities presented by a globalized research environment”. While the individual projects will no doubt be excellent, they will also address a range of broader issues at the heart of the study of modern languages today.

In common with any other subject, modern languages needs to articulate a strong sense of what it stands for (especially considering the national decline in its provision) and why it is important. Equally, in an age that is increasingly defined as post-national and mobile, all research and teaching must confront the reality of globalisation. If one works on a European culture – and I write as an Italianist – then one has, more and more, to explain its relevance in global terms.


1+2 Primary Hub, free seminars and much more at Scotland’s largest language event

24 February 2016 (Language Show Live)

It’s not long now until Language Show Live Scotland opens its doors to Glasgow. Don't miss this incredible celebration of languages and register in advance to secure your free ticket.

Stop by the 1+2 Primary Hub where practitioners from SCILT and the Goethe Institut will be on hand to give you advice on the new 1+2 approach for language learning and delivering languages at primary level.

Elsewhere on the show floor you’ be able attend over 30 free seminars and workshops and be inspired by top industry experts. Plus attend language classes, watch cultural performances and meet the best language suppliers over two days of insight and inspiration from the best in the business.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity and register today for your FREE ticket.

11-12 March • SECC, Glasgow

Language Show Live Scotland 2016: Over 30 free seminars and workshops from top industry experts

18 February 2016 (Language Show Live)

March is just a few weeks away so don’t delay and get your FREE ticket to attend Scotland’s largest language event.

Language Show Live is a unique opportunity to network with colleagues and industry experts while attending educational seminars dedicated to teachers and other language professionals.

Plus you’ll be able to meet the best suppliers from the language world and source the latest products – all under one roof.

Don’t miss out! Register today for your FREE ticket and avoid the queues on the day.


International Mother Language Day

17 February 2016 (UNESCO)

International Mother Language Day (21 February) was designated in 1999 by UNESCO and is designed to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

The theme of the 2016 International Mother Language Day is “Quality education, language(s) of instruction and learning outcomes.” 

Find out more on the UNESCO International Mother Language Day website.


CPD - Task-based language teaching using ICT

16 February 2016 (UWS - PETALL)

This Continuing Professional Development course will allow language teachers to further develop their knowledge of a range of ICT applications and ICT mediated strategies.

This course is appropriate for teachers of modern foreign languages in primary and secondary
schools in Scotland. 

This course will introduce and explain the principles of Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT)
with specific reference to the work of Ellis, Willis and Nunan. It will introduce participants to the
EU-funded PETALL project including its background, aims and objectives. Particular focus will be
placed on the samples of good practice that teachers can freely access, download and adapt from
the PETALL project website.

The course will be delivered via two face-to-face sessions on 27 February and 26 March as well as online.

More information is available on the attached flyer.

Language barriers may be consigned to history by earpiece gadget

13 February 2016 (The Independent)

"Language barrier" may be a phrase lost in translation to the next generation.

By 2025, when someone speaks to you in a foreign language, an earpiece will be able instantly to translate their words into your native language, Hillary Clinton’s former innovation advisor Alec Ross has written in The Wall Street Journal.

[...] The earpieces won’t necessarily spell the end of foreign language learning, however.

“I can't imagine a time when we don't value the ability to communicate in languages other than our own”, Mr Ross told The Independent. “But I can't help but think that this will have some kind of impact for the future of foreign language learning. Exactly what, I don't know.”


Mind your language! Teacher takes on Government over cuts to foreign language budget

10 February 2016 (Cambridge News)

A petition launched by a Cambridgeshire teacher to save the provision of languages teaching in schools is closing in on its target of 10,000 signatures.

Language teacher Jane Driver is calling on the Government not to cut funding for the Routes into Languages (RiL) organisation, which is due to stop in July.

Ms Driver, of Godmanchester, has said it is vital RiL continues to be funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and her petition has now been signed by 7,500 people.

She said: "Unlike other organisations, they [RiL] work together with schools and teachers to develop collaborative projects aimed at promoting language-learning at GCSE and beyond.

"The ability to speak another language is a skill that is in high-demand by UK businesses, who are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit UK residents with foreign language skills.

"We have a shortage of linguists – businesses are desperate for people with languages. It's not the right time for the government not to re-fund this project."


Join thousands of language teachers and professionals next month!

10 February 2016 (Language Show Live)

It’s not long now until Language Show Live Scotland opens its doors to Glasgow this 11-12 March. Don’t miss this brand new language event taking place in the heart of Scotland and celebrate languages with thousands of other language teachers and professionals.

Taking place for the first year in Glasgow, the show will offer over 30 free CPD certified seminars, support and advice from industry experts and over 80 exhibiting companies – all under one roof!

Don’t delay and book your free ticket today at Language Show Live.

For more information and full seminar programme please visit our website.


Find inspiration and keep in touch with industry developments - Scotland’s biggest language event • 11-12 March, SECC Glasgow

29 January 2016 (Language Show Live)

Join thousands of other language teachers and find the resources you need to keep up-to-date with this fast-paced industry at Scotland’s biggest language event.

We’ve curated an extensive seminar programme to expand your knowledge, develop new skills and keep you up-to-date with industry changes. Highlights include: 

  • ‘1+2: A National Overview’ with Louise Glen, Education Scotland 
  • ‘Contextualising Learning in the Broad General Education’ with Julie-Anne Mckenzie, SCILT 
  • ‘Using School Partnerships to Support Languages’ with Kate Walker, British Council 
  • ‘Is your Primary Language Teaching Effective?’ with Juliet Park, Yewlands Academy 
  • ‘Exciting Projects to take languages out of the classroom’ with Angela Gallagher-Brett, Routes into Languages

All sessions are free to attend and can be counted towards your CPD as well.

Don’t miss out and register online for free tickets at the Language Show Live Scotland website.


Half of schools make big cuts to courses under CfE

22 January 2016 (TESS)

Almost half of Scottish secondaries have significantly narrowed their curriculum at S4, offering just six courses instead of the eight that was typical before the introduction of Curriculum for Excellence, according to figures released today.

Subjects disadvantaged by the new curriculum include languages, business studies, computing, some of the creative and aesthetic subjects, the sciences and social subjects.

See page 6-7 of TESS digital for the full article.  (TES subscription required).


Parents can help, but children take a DIY approach to learning language

17 January 2016 (The Conversation)

Parents can help children develop their language. But when it comes to building the linguistic structure that undergirds the language, new research shows that children would rather do it themselves.

Perhaps one of the oldest debates in the cognitive sciences centres on whether children have an inborn faculty of language. This faculty makes it possible for children to learn the language of their community.

Evidence for its existence comes from the richness of the system that language users come to have as compared to the finite set of sentences that any one learner is exposed to.


Official - Exams in 'soft' subjects really are easier: Board admits pupils are unfairly marked down in courses such as maths as they discuss overhaul of the grading system

13 January 2016 (Daily Mail)

School pupils studying rigorous subjects like foreign languages and maths at GCSE and A-level are being unfairly marked down with lower exam grades than those taking ‘softer’ subjects, the exams regulator has admitted.

Ofqual is now discussing a complete overhaul of the exam grading system to ensure pupils taking ‘tough’ academic subjects are not losing out when they start applying to university.

For the first time, the regulator’s chiefs have conceded that it is harder to get top grades in maths, science and modern foreign languages than it is in so-called ‘soft’ subjects like art.


Dyslexia and Foreign Language Teaching - free online course

12 January 2016 (FutureLearn)

Registration is now open for this online course commencing 18 April.

This free online course is designed for current and trainee teachers of additional languages. It offers you practical tools, as well as theoretical insights, to best accommodate and meet the needs of students with dyslexia in foreign or second language classes.

The course gives an up-to-date overview of current theoretical knowledge about the nature of dyslexia and how it affects the learning of additional languages.

You will learn about a variety of useful techniques, including recent computer-assisted tools, which you can take into your classroom, to help students with dyslexia in acquiring another language.

Sign up on the FutureLearn website.


European Language Gazette (December 2015)

11 January 2016 (ECML)

The latest edition of the ECML's European Language Gazette is now available.

The newsletter provides news about the ECML's events, projects and resources, the Language Policy Unit and other relevant sectors of the Council of Europe as well as their partners. It focuses on national developments in the field of language education in the member states and beyond.

Access French and English versions of the bulletin on the ECML website.


Languages: a world of opportunity – web page now live

7 January 2016 (Scottish Government)

In September 2015, Michael Russell MSP hosted a parliamentary reception, entitled Languages: a world of opportunity. While celebrating language learning in Scotland, the event set out to inspire people to appreciate language skills as valuable, enabling, achievable, career and life-enhancing.

Through real life examples about how stronger language skills are already making a difference, not only in education, but in employment and on a personal level, attendees were invited to consider how to further promote language skills, and an understanding of their value, in the interests of Scotland’s global position.

As an employability skill, Scotland as a whole stands to gain from language skills becoming the norm for us all. This is why Scottish Government is committed to radically enhance language learning in schools across Scotland through Language Learning in Scotland: A 1+2 approach.

This webpage contains information from the event, films about and using language and links to websites of organisations who promote, develop and advocate language learning.


Get your free ticket for Language Show Live Scotland

5 January 2016 (Language Show Live)

We are pleased to announce that you can now register for your free ticket to attend Language Show Live Scotland 2016, taking place from 11-12 March at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) in Glasgow.

Language Show Live Scotland is your chance to join thousands of language teachers, learners, linguists, translators, interpreters and job seekers who love languages as much as you.

The event will bring together 100 exhibitors, free educational seminars, language classes, live forums, careers advice and cultural performances in an incredible celebration of languages.

Register for free tickets


Why these UK school kids love learning languages

29 December 2015 (British Council)

In this video school pupils in the UK share their thoughts about language learning and the benefits it can bring. Actor, Larry Lamb, who is backing the British Council's campaign for Britons to learn a language in 2016 also shares his views.


Five ways to welcome refugee pupils to your school

28 December 2015 (TES)

Scotland’s biggest teaching union, the EIS, is preparing advice for schools on how to welcome refugees and migrants.

The union’s advice on steps to welcome pupils from refugee families includes learning simple greetings in the pupils' first language.


MTOT deadline for submissions – 18 December

15 December 2015 (SCILT)

Last chance to submit entries for this year’s MTOT multilingual poetry competition!  You have until midnight 18 December to get your entries in.

Thanks to all those who have participated. We look forward to seeing all the great work which has been produced and will be in touch again in the New Year once judging has taken place. 

If you still need to submit your pupils’ entries, follow the guidance in the Teacher's Pack within the RESOURCES tab on our MTOT pageOr see the MTOT blog where you can also find submission guidelines.


How short films are encouraging more pupils to study languages

13 December 2015 (TES)

Despite huge demand for employees who speak multiple languages (Baroness Jean Coussins, chair of All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages, stated in 2014 that the UK economy was losing up to £48 billion worth of contracts each year due to a lack of language skills among employees), fewer students are choosing to pursue MFL subjects at A-level or degree level. How can we turn this around?

The BFI suggests the key may be short films. Over the past two years, the charity has run the Screening Languages project, involving 19 schools, 27 teachers and about 800 students.


Govan dementia language project launched

12 December 2015 (BBC)

A new scheme is being launched which helps elderly and vulnerable adults battle dementia by learning foreign languages.

Lingo Flamingo was founded by Robbie Norval who was inspired by his grandmother, who had dementia.

Research has indicated that speaking several languages can delay the onset of dementia, as well as other forms of brain ageing and mental illness. 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is due to help launch the project.


MTOT deadline approaching!

10 December 2015 (SCILT)

Entries have been arriving thick and fast in our inboxes here at SCILT. It is fantastic to see the hard-work and enthusiasm of your pupils in a multitude of languages being creative in such a wide variety of themes from football to holidays, memories of family to recent terrorist events in Paris.

Just a reminder that the closing date for entries is 18 December. All the information and documentation you need to enter pupils' work can be found in the Teacher's Pack within the RESOURCES tab on our MTOT page.  Those of you following our MTOT blog can also find submission guidelines there.


Scottish Education Awards 2016

9 December 2015 (Scottish Education Awards)

Nominations are open for the Scottish Education Awards 2016!

Categories include:

  • Gaelic Education Award - recognising establishments who provide opportunities for children to develop fluency in the Gaelic language and culture
  • Making Languages Come Alive (primary) - recognising establishments who are working effectively to implement the 1+2 policy for language learning

Visit the Scottish Education Awards website for information on all the nomination categories, criteria and to submit your nomination by 15 February 2016.


BB is back!

4 December 2015 (SCILT)

Due to popular demand, SCILT, in partnership with University Council for Modern Languages (UCMLS) is delighted to announce that we will be hosting a series of Business Brunch events (formerly Business Breakfast) across Scotland next year! Last chance to register for all events 4 December (except Edinburgh - 10 December)!

Aimed specifically at S3 - S6 pupils, each event will provide learners with the opportunity to hear from a wide range of dynamic business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth of the success of their organisations and why they compete successfully in a globalised market.
Most importantly, it will give young people the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the variety of careers and employment opportunities that are open to people who can demonstrate language skills on their CV.

In addition, we will highlight the benefits of offering the SVQ unit 'Building your own Employability Skills' from the Languages for Life and Work Award, because it can be an effective stepping stone for the employability context in National 4/5, Higher and Advanced Higher.

To find out more and register interest for these events, visit our Business Brunches 2016 webpage.


1+2 - an update

24 November 2015 (Education Scotland)

If you missed Education Scotland's Glow TV event on 18 November supporting the 1+2 approach to language learning you can view the replay now on the Glow TV Watch Again channel.

Please note, a Glow login is required to access the recording.


Language Show Live is coming to Scotland!

19 November 2015 (Language Show Live Scotland)

Following the continued success of Europe’s longest running premier language event, hosted in London for the past 27 years, Language Show Live is excited to be opening its doors to Glasgow this 11-12 March at the SECC for two inspirational days packed with free educational seminars, language classes, live forums and cultural performances in an incredible celebration of languages.

Language Show Live Scotland is your chance to join thousands of language teachers, learners, translators, interpreters, linguists and job seekers who love languages as much as you.

Applications for the event programme are now open.

If you’re an experienced speaker and would like to be part of the Language Show Scotland programme click on the link to find out more about the several ways to participate and apply.

The deadline to receive all applications is Sunday 29 November.

Visit the Language Show Live Scotland website for more information about the event.


International Education Week 2015

12 November 2015 (British Council)

We know that familiarity with other cultures and modern foreign languages skills are an essential part of preparing young people to work in the increasingly globalised economy - take your work one step further by taking part in International Education Week 2015 (#IEW15) between 16-20 November.

The theme this year is about ‘my international journey’. At the British Council we provide a number of opportunities to support teachers and young people with their international journeys – both inside and outside of the classroom. 

There are plenty of ways you can get involved in International Education Week. Start planning now with our top five activities.  The Homework Challenge contains a range of fun activities such as creating a song in a modern foreign language or trying new cuisines from different cultures.

See the British Council website for more information and use their attached press release template to get your IEW activities covered by the local press.


Related Files

Modern Languages: Assessing progress and achievement in significant aspects of learning

6 November 2015 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has published a revised format of the professional learning paper ‘Assessing Progress and Achievement in Modern Languages’ on their website.

The work in progress on significant aspects of learning was reviewed in June and July 2015
in the light of feedback from practitioners, schools and education authorities and in the
context of developments in national education policy. This has led to a number of changes
both in the overarching paper and in each of the papers related to an area of the

Practitioners are encouraged to use this document to support professional dialogue through quality
assurance and moderation activities. It may be used by individuals to inform reflection on practice
and plan for improvement in approaches to supporting learners in their progress and achievement.


Human languages could have evolved to suit natural habitats in which they were originally spoken, says study

4 November 2015 (The Independent)

Human languages may have evolved to suit the natural habitats in which they were originally spoken according to a study of the different sounds used in vocal communication around the world.

Languages that originated in the dense forests of tropical regions are more likely to use low-frequency sounds and vowels compared to languages that evolved in more open habitats where high-pitched sounds and consonants are more easily understood, scientists said.


SQA National Qualifications Update - Modern Languages

30 October 2015 (SQA)

SQA has published its Course Reports for Modern Languages containing the key messages from the 2014-15 diet.

Read the document on the SQA website.


No bad language from Gala pupils

23 October 2014 (The Southern Reporter)

A recent careers event highlighted the importance of language skills to Galashiels Academy pupils.

S3 pupils participated in the event held in the school on September 23.

It aimed to demonstrate the value of language skills for Scotland’s future workforce and to encourage pupils to consider the relevance of languages for their personal development as well as for further study and future career opportunities.


Availability of past papers for all Modern Languages qualifications

21 October 2015 (SCILT/SQA)

We have been advised by the SQA that there are no plans to remove 'old NQ' materials out with the SQA retention policy. That is that all past paper materials on the site is available for 5 years after the examination - so from now 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011 materials are available.

SQA only clears copyright for the years the materials are published and therefore centres should not store materials out with that period.

There has been no specific communication to centres on this matter as there has not been a change to policy or practice.

Past materials can be found on the SQA website.


We need to make more of our children multilingual

19 October 2015 (The Telegraph)

Applies to England

In 2012, the Minister of Education announced that from September 2014 it would be compulsory for children aged 7 to 11 years to learn a foreign language.

This ambitious plan, a product of Michael Gove’s term in Office and endorsed by his successor as Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, was intended to close the gap between the British education system and school systems abroad, as well as the yawning gulf between state and independent schools in their language provision.

The rationale was, and is, self-evident, as Nicky Morgan explained:

"We want our young people to have the best possible start in life – that is why, as part of our plan for education, we want every child to learn a foreign language. It doesn’t just help them to understand different cultures and countries, it opens up the world."


All pupils to learn two foreign languages by high school

13 October 2015 (Edinburgh Evening News)

It's the pioneering programme aimed at making ­language learning as easy as un, deux, trois.

Every pupil in the Capital will receive lessons in at least two foreign languages by the time they leave primary school under radical plans aimed at helping them keep pace with peers across Europe.

City bosses have confirmed they want to introduce the new scheme, called 1+2, by the start of 2017 – three years ahead of a national deadline set for 2020.

Youngsters will be offered classes in core languages including French, Spanish and Mandarin, as well as Gaelic, Scots and “heritage” tongues such as Polish and Farsi.

The Edinburgh roll-out is part of a Scottish Government-led initiative which will see all children learn a second language from P1 and have experience of a third from P5 at the latest.

Parent leaders in the city have hailed the development and said it would help prepare youngsters for the modern world.


MTOT 2015 blog

2 October 2015 (SCILT)

Our Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) blog is up and running again for the 2015-16 competition!

Take a look at the first post and images from the creative poetry workshop which took place at the University of Strathclyde on 19 September.

There are also links to the 'Creative Bag of Tricks' series of blogs from last year.

Don't forget we have a wealth of resources on our MTOT 2015 webpage.  The latest addition in the resources tab is a powerpoint presentation showing examples of Mother Tongue Other Tongue poetry.


EDL 2015 blog

2 October 2015 (SCILT)

How did you celebrate the European Day of Languages 2015? Visit our EDL 2015 blog to hear how schools used language cafés, Bollywood dancing, calligraphy and singing to celebrate language learning in Europe this year!

If you would like to feature in our EDL blog then send some colourful photos and a description of your activities to


New Languages and Literacy leaflet available from SCILT!

2 October 2015 (SCILT)

Hot off the press! SCILT has just developed a new leaflet for parents that promotes the positive connections between language learning and literacy skills. The leaflet Developing Literacy Through Language Learning: a guide for parents gives an interesting insight into language learning in Scottish schools and demonstrates how learning additional languages can play an important role in helping children and young people develop their literacy skills in their mother tongue.

To order copies of Developing Literacy Through Language Learning: a guide for parents for your school visit the Learners and Parents pages of our website where you will find a range of SCILT resources. Download and complete the order form and email it back to us at

Although these products are free of charge, we would ask in return that you briefly explain how you intend to use them in your establishment.


SQA events - Understanding Standards, National 1-5 and Higher

30 September 2015 (SQA)

SQA are hosting a series of Understanding Standards events for a selection of Courses, Awards and Units at National 1 - 5, and for Higher Course assessment.

The National 1 - 5 events began on 28 August 2015 and focus on the standards and assessment of the relevant Course/Award/Unit.  The event covering Text for Scots Language Award takes place in Glasgow on 27 January 2016.

The Higher events began on 7 September 2015 and run until January 2016. They are for subject specialists who wish to develop their understanding of the standards required in the Course Assessment at Higher.  The Higher modern languages event takes place in Stirling on 3 December 2015.

Full programme details and how to book your place can be found on the SQA website.


Call for contributions to an e-book 'Employability for Languages: A Handbook'

25 September 2015 (LLAS)

We are planning the publication of a selection of case studies showcasing the excellent and inspiring work of language teachers, academics and practitioners in the area of employability for language graduates. This collection will form a snapshot of good practice and show the outcomes of recent projects and debates in the area of employability. Case studies will accompany articles from invited contributors describing a variety of personal experiences in the area.

This open access e-book will be freely available for download and will be aimed at practitioners in secondary and tertiary education. The focus of the book will be around practical experience ‘in the field’ and reflective practice, rather than research.

Expressions of interest in contributing to the book are invited.  Deadline 5 October 2015.  More information can be found on the LLAS website.


EDL 2015 - not long to go!

17 September 2015 (SCILT)

It's now only one week until the European Day of Languages 2015, how is your school celebrating?

If you are still looking for ideas there are plenty for primary and secondary classes on our EDL webpage, along with links to websites and other resources.

Let us know how you celebrate and we will feature you in our EDL 2015 blog. We will even pick some of the most innovative events to highlight in our next newsletter!

Email with a short blurb and some colourful pictures from your event, ensuring you have the relevant photo permissions. 


The Language of Modern Football

15 September 2015 (Sanako UK)

"In essence, being a football coach of a multi-national team of individuals requires as much ability to communicate as it requires actual coaching knowledge and experience. There is no point in
knowing what you want to say if you can’t get your point across."

Ian Burchnall, 32, is assistant manager at Viking FK and has been the same at Sarpsborg 08 in
the Norwegian top division. He has worked for Leeds United and Bradford City's academies
and, before moving to Norway, was head coach at Leeds University

Read this article in Sanako's autumn newsletter giving his views on how language skills provide a distinct advantage in the world of football.


Language study beyond school

11 September 2015 (SCILT)

Do you have students looking to further or develop their language learning on leaving school? Make sure they know about the Beyond School section of the SCILT website. With useful information on different language courses and options available here in Scotland, there are also links to UCAS and language courses UK-wide to help their selection process and the transition from school.

The section includes advice and information on:

  • The benefits of language learning for you and your career 
  • Undergraduate language courses at Scottish and UK universities 
  • Options for combining languages with other degree subjects 
  • Beginner and refresher language courses and modules at Scotland’s colleges 
  • The gap year – opportunities to study, work or volunteer abroad 
  • The student voice – blogs, advice, hints and tips from those who’ve been there

The site also outlines the support Scottish universities can provide to teachers and schools in their language teaching and staff professional development.

So please make your language teaching professionals, pupils and guidance staff aware of the ‘Beyond School’ website. It’s got their language needs covered!


Help Refugees in 28 Languages Using This Crowdsourced Phrasebook

8 September 2015 (Good Magazine)

In German, it’s Ich will Ihnen helfen. In phonetic Arabic, of course, it sounds very different: Biddi sa'dak. In Dari, a Persian variant spoken in Afghanistan, it’s Mekhaayam shoma ra komak konam. In English: I want to help you.

That’s according a developing online phrasebook for refugees, being painstakingly put together by German volunteers. The volunteers met on a Facebook group for Germans who wanted to find a way to help with their country’s ongoing migrant crisis. So far, they’ve collected over 300 sentences in 28 languages, Urdu, Turkish, French, Icelandic, and dialects of Kurdish among them.

The easily accessible phrasebook—divided into three sections for general, medical and juridical needs—provides useful language for both refugees and those who want to help them. The entries themselves give a peek, at turns hopeful and disturbing, into the lives of the estimated 366,000 refugees who have crossed into Europe via the Mediterranean Sea this year.


Lesson 1: How to get cracking in languages

4 September 2015 (TES)

Teaching a new language class this year? Don't begin at the beginning, writes Dr Heather Martin.


MTOT - Free Creative Poetry Workshops for Teachers

4 September 2015 (SCILT)

In taking MTOT to a national level this year, we are delighted to be able to offer FREE poetry workshops for primary and secondary teachers at four different venues across Scotland.

Teachers will work with Juliette Lee, a poet and creative writer, for a half-day workshop to develop their own creativity, explore poetry and the impact of language we use, including our Mother Tongue and also experimenting with poetry in an Other Tongue too. We hope that teachers will leave inspired and able to take back some ideas and examples to work with their own pupils who will then submit their poems/rhymes/raps/songs into the MTOT competition.

Due to high levels of interest for the competition in general, we have decided to leave registration for schools open until Friday 9 October. Teachers do not have to attend one of the workshops to register their school for the MTOT competition although the workshops are a fantastic opportunity to develop your skills in teaching poetry, languages and to gather ideas to take back into the classroom.

Spaces are still available at the following workshop:

  • Friday 9 October, 13.30 – 16.30 ; Open University, Edinburgh (deadline for registration Friday 2 October)

Register by completing the MTOT workshop registration form on the SCILT website.

For more information about MTOT and to register your school to take part in the competition visit the MTOT 2015-16 page of our website.


SLF 2015 - “A 1+2 approach to language learning - where are we now?“

1 September 2015 (Education Scotland)

At this year’s Scottish Learning Festival, the Education Scotland modern languages team will host a seminar on “A 1+2 approach to language learning - where are we now?“ where practitioners and local authority representatives can find out about the picture of implementation of the 1+2 policy across the country. The team will also provide information about the support and resources on offer from Education Scotland as well as the latest advice and guidance from HMI. Additionally, representatives from two local authorities will share their approaches to upskilling primary school staff in modern languages.

In our conversation slots “ 1+2 - Time2talk ” the modern languages team will engage practitioners in a professional dialogue about all aspects of the 1+2 approach to language learning including answering questions on L3 ( the second additional language) and the primary and secondary contexts of the policy.

SLF 2015 takes place on 23 and 24 September at the SECC, Glasgow.  Find out more about this year's SLF on the conference webpage.


MTOT 2015-16 registration extended

1 September 2015 (SCILT)

Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) 2015-16 has launched in Scotland!

The multilingual poetry competition celebrates linguistic and cultural diversity through creative writing. Mother Tongue encourages children who do not speak English as a first language to share a remembered poem from their mother tongue. Other Tongue encourages children learning another language in school to write an original poem in that other tongue.

The competition was successfully piloted in Glasgow last year and we're delighted to now offer all primary and secondary schools in Scotland the chance to participate.

Take a look at our MTOT 2015-16 webpages for full details about this year's competition. You'll also find a section on previous events and testimonials from those who took part, as well as links to the MTOT blog and a host of other useful resources, including the teacher's pack containing the categories, criteria and rules.

During September and October there will be some Saturday workshops available for teachers from schools registered for the competition. There will be a limited number of places which will be allocated on a first come first served basis, so watch for more details about these soon and ensure you don't miss out!

Register your school for MTOT now*! Deadline extended to 9 October 2015.

*Some schools are reporting an issue with accessing the online registration form. If your authority is also blocking the page, we would suggest registering from a home PC or emailing us to be registered manually.


What’s Your Story?

31 August 2015 (The Story Is)

We’re looking for 10 young people in Scotland, aged 14-17, with stories to share and a passion for discovering how to tell them.

We’re not just talking novels and poems, we’re talking video games, blogs, fanfic, slam poetry and spoken word, TV, movies, comic books, journalism, illustration, zines, song lyrics, web serials and anything you’d like to write!

The application process is in English but your creative work sample does not have to be. Plenty of creative people in Scotland make work in other languages and everyone who meets our application criteria is welcome to apply. We will get your work translated so that we can consider it.

Gaelic applicants, please note that there is one place specifically intended for a person working in Gaelic, but that does not necessarily mean that only one person working in Gaelic will be selected.

For more information visit The Story Is website.


EDL 2015: Ideas to celebrate in your school

28 August 2015 (SCILT)

This year SCILT's European Day of Languages packs have been more popular than ever! We are now officially out of stock, having sent materials to over 70 schools and posting out more than twice as many packs as last year.

However, there are still lots of ways to celebrate EDL in your school and SCILT has put together great ideas to support you in your celebrations. We have grouped them into primary and secondary ideas and provided a suggested timeframe for each activity.

Visit our EDL 2015 webpage to download our suggestions and to find many more ideas and resources.


Mother Tongue Other Tongue 2015-16 launch

21 August 2015 (SCILT)

Today sees the launch of Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) 2015-16 in Scotland!

The multilingual poetry competition celebrates linguistic and cultural diversity through creative writing. Mother Tongue encourages children who do not speak English as a first language to share a remembered poem from their mother tongue. Other Tongue encourages children learning another language in school to write an original poem in that other tongue.

The competition was successfully piloted in Glasgow last year and we're delighted to now offer all primary and secondary schools in Scotland the chance to participate.

Take a look at our MTOT 2015-16 webpages for full details about this year's competition.  You'll also find a section on previous events and testimonials from those who took part, as well as links to the MTOT blog and a host of other useful resources, including the teacher's pack containing the categories, criteria and rules.

During September and October there will be some Saturday workshops available for teachers from schools registered for the competition.  There will be a limited number of places which will be allocated on a first come first served basis, so watch for more details about these soon and ensure you don't miss out!

Register your school for MTOT now*!  Deadline 31 August 2015.

*Some schools are reporting an issue with accessing the online registration form.  If your authority is also blocking the page, we would suggest registering from a home PC or emailing us to be registered manually.


More migrants taking modern language GCSE in native tongue

20 August 2015 (The Telegraph)

The number of migrants taking foreign language GCSEs in their native tongue is expected to be on the rise as traditional languages see further declines.

Entries for those taking languages such as Urdu, Polish or Mandarin are expected to increase slightly to around 32,000 today based on a growing push by parents and schools wanting to boost pupils’ performance.

Those taking these foreign languages are three times as likely to get an A* than those who study the traditional foreign languages, like French and German.

The other modern languages category at GCSE regularly has the highest A* percentage for any of the 48 GCSE subject categories – 35.8 per cent in 2014 and it is likely to be just as high this year.
This may indicate they are taken by those for whom they are the mother tongue, experts have said.
Those with some of the biggest increases in pupils sitting GCSE exams will include Portuguese, Arabic and Persian.

However, French and German are expected to see drops, in line with a continued decrease in popularity in recent years. The number of pupils taken French and German this year is expected to drop by around 6 per cent and 11 per cent respectively. And Spanish is expected to see the first drop in entries in roughly two decades.


European Day of Languages 2015

13 August 2015 (SCILT)

The European Day of Languages (EDL) is celebrated across Europe on the 26th of September every year. It aims to promote the rich linguistic diversity of Europe and raise awareness of the importance of lifelong language learning for everyone.

SCILT is helping schools across Scotland to celebrate by distributing materials developed by the ECML. These resources are free to order and act as excellent prizes and rewards.

Visit our European Day of Languages 2015 webpage for information on how to order packs, for ideas on how to celebrate, and to find out how your school could feature in our EDL2015 blog.


Choosing your university course during Clearing: pick a passion

10 August 2015 (The Guardian)

“You must choose a subject you enjoy. You’re going to do it for at least three years and pay an awful lot of money for it,” says Tracey Griffin, head of sixth form at Bournemouth and Poole College, who has helped hundreds of young people choose what to study at university.

[...] Many UK universities now offer an optional year overseas (usually the third year) through the European Union’s student exchange programme, Erasmus. However this isn’t offered on all courses, so if you think you might be interested in a year abroad, it’s worth checking out which courses offer it before you start applying.

[...] Almost 80,000 undergraduates study languages at UK unis, and this year’s overall best five are Cambridge, Oxford, Leicester, Durham and Sussex. While all offer the likes of French and Spanish, you’ll need to hunt around if you’re keen to go beyond the mainstream.


From geocaching to language learning - four creative ways to keep children learning over the summer holidays

27 July 2015 (The Guardian)

It’s time for students to kick off their school shoes and pack up their textbooks because school’s out for summer. But the arrival of the holidays doesn’t mean learning has to stop – in fact, it can provide many opportunities to broaden young minds.

From family trips to museums, new literature or fun experiments in the kitchen, it’s not about following a rigid curriculum but rather discovering ways to get young charges excited about learning.


More than 300 different languages spoken in British schools, report says

24 July 2015 (The Telegraph)

More than 300 different languages are now spoken in British schools with English-speaking pupils becoming a minority in hundreds of classrooms, a new investigation has revealed.

There are 1.1 million children who speak 311 dialects and in some schools English speakers are the minority, the inquiry revealed.


How teaching English on my year abroad improved my French

13 July 2015 (The Guardian)

Students planning their years abroad might worry about teaching English. It seems counterintuitive – you go to another country to learn the language and end up speaking your mother tongue.

But in my experience, it can be a rewarding job and is perhaps even the best way to immerse yourself in another culture and learn the language.


Scottish Equity Partners backs language app

9 July 2015 (The Herald)

Scottish Equity Partners has spearheaded a $22 million (£14.3m) investment round into Babbel, the language learning app.

The backing is aimed at maintaining growth of the company, which has been profitable since 2011, while allowing it to invest in new product development.

[..] Babbel, whose mobile app is seeing up to 200,000 downloads per day, allows users to learn 14 languages, available for display in seven languages.

The subscription-based app, whose courses are available for iOS, Android, desk top and Apple Watch devices, is aimed at people outside the formal education system.


The case for foreign languages as an aspiring lawyer

7 July 2015 (The Guardian)

If you want to work in the competitive legal profession, having foreign language skills can help to set you apart.

The relative lack of foreign language skills among the UK population is well-documented. A recent Guardian survey revealed that 39% of young native English speakers were put off learning a foreign language because “most people speak English”, and 14% by the idea that “most other languages are not useful”.

But for students hoping to enter the legal profession – which is increasingly global in outlook – being able to speak a foreign language is useful, and ever more desirable to employers.


Win £4000 to get more of your students to aim higher!

19 June 2015 (British Academy / SCILT)

British Academy Schools Language Awards (BASLA) 2015

The deadline for applications is now approaching!  You have until 30 June to apply for the 2015 Schools Language Awards.

As part of its programme to support and champion the learning of languages, the British Academy is again offering a series of Awards to schools and colleges throughout the UK for the encouragement of excellence in language learning. This year the Awards focus on activity which encourages more students to take language learning to a higher level.

The Awards are intended to encourage schools to find imaginative and effective ways of improving take up and enthusiasm for language learning into S5, S6 and beyond, which build partnerships and address the social imbalance in the profile of language learners at higher levels.

The Awards are open to all secondary schools and colleges and cover all languages other than English, including those learnt as community languages. A total of 15 Awards of £4000 each will be made to schools throughout the UK and at least one Award will go to a winning proposal from Scotland. One outstanding project from across the UK will receive an additional £2000.

Supplementary education

The British Academy are also offering Awards for innovative and exciting projects throughout the UK that encourage larger numbers of supplementary school students to take language learning to a higher level – the sort of level where they can use the language in the workplace and their future careers to benefit others. Schools could win £4,000 or more to put their ideas into action.

The deadline for applications for both awards is Tuesday 30 June 2015. See the attached document or visit the British Academy website for more information and to apply.


Related Files

Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition going nationwide in 2015-16!

19 June 2015 (SCILT/CISS)

Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) is an exciting multilingual poetry project which celebrates linguistic and cultural diversity through creative writing, and showcases the many languages which are spoken and learned by young people in school and at home. After a very successful pilot of the competition in the Glasgow area last year, SCILT are excited to announce the roll-out of MTOT across the country from August 2015. 2015/16 will build on the success of last year’s initiative and see the competition go nationwide allowing all pupils from P1 – S6 to participate in collaboration with our partner universities.

The winning poems, as well as a wider selection of commendable entries, will be compiled and published in a Mother Tongue Other Tongue anthology. There will be additional prizes, so start thinking now about how you might get involved.

September will see the official launch of the competition with poetry and creative writing workshops for teachers taking place at our HE partner institutions across the country (dates and venues tbc). Registration to take part in the competition and to attend the teachers’ poetry workshop launch events will open in August 2015. More information on how to register and book a place on a workshop will be available to schools early in the new school year.

Why not visit our MTOT 2015-16 webpage where you'll find all the information you need, including links to our poetry resources page, where we have collated a number of downloadable poetry and language materials as well as links to useful websites. You could also read the 2014 winning poems featured in our anthology for some further inspiration and find out about last year's competition and celebration event, or take a look at the MTOT website from Routes into Languages North West and Manchester Metropolitan University to see how the competition ran in England and Wales last year.


Just how effective are language learning apps?

12 June 2015 (The Conversation)

Around 70 million people – including Bill Gates – have signed up for the language learning app Duolingo. The app has received plenty of media attention, and its creators claim that it can help anyone with a smart phone learn a new language.

The app is free, and promises all kinds of cutting edge features, such as adaptive algorithms to suit users’ learning speed, as well as gamification to boost motivation. They also claim that this app can provide members of poorer communities with access to language learning that would otherwise be denied them; a worthy aim indeed.


Do you see what I see? Children exposed to several languages are better at seeing through others’ eyes

30 May 2015 (The Economist)

Human beings are not born with the knowledge that others possess minds with different contents. Children develop such a “theory of mind” gradually, and even adults have it only imperfectly. But a study by Samantha Fan and Zoe Liberman at the University of Chicago, published in Psychological Science, finds that bilingual children, and also those simply exposed to another language on a regular basis, have an edge at the business of getting inside others’ minds.


ECML website relaunched

30 May 2015 (ECML)

The European Centre for Modern Languages website has just been relaunched with a new look and a series of new features.


Over the coming months we plan to further develop this area on an ongoing basis with new resources from the Centre’s current projects as well as news, related research, videos, interactive materials and details of activities, conferences and experts.

A new video on the homepage explains in 2 minutes how the Centre operates and what it can offer to professionals involved with education and in particular language education. The clip was developed through the project ECML publications for plurilingual and intercultural education in use (PIU) and is now available in English, French and German.


How to learn 30 languages

29 May 2015 (BBC)

Out on a sunny Berlin balcony, Tim Keeley and Daniel Krasa are firing words like bullets at each other. First German, then Hindi, Nepali, Polish, Croatian, Mandarin and Thai – they’ve barely spoken one language before the conversation seamlessly melds into another. Together, they pass through about 20 different languages or so in total.

Back inside, I find small groups exchanging tongue twisters. Others are gathering in threes, preparing for a rapid-fire game that involves interpreting two different languages simultaneously. It looks like the perfect recipe for a headache, but they are nonchalant. “It’s quite a common situation for us,” a woman called Alisa tells me.


Promoting modern languages in the Senior Phase

28 May 2015 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has grouped together a number of case studies, identifying the key features common to modern languages departments, where languages are continuing to flourish beyond the Broad General Education (BGE). A number of schools took part in conversation days hosted by Education Scotland in 2014 followed by this set of case studies, which highlight a variety of approaches to encourage uptake in the senior phase.

The case studies can be accessed on the Education Scotland website.


SALT Modern Languages Competition 2015

26 May 2015 (SALT)

Learners in all Scottish schools are invited to design a poster on the subject of food and healthy eating. You can create your entry using any form of media you prefer as long as it’s written in the language you’re learning.  Closing date for entries is 25 June 2015. 

For more information visit the SALT website.


The 2015 Junior Language Challenge

19 May 2015 (EuroTalk)

The Junior Language Challenge is an annual online competition for primary school children in the UK. Entrants should be aged 10 and under on 1 September 2015. If you’re a teacher, you can register a school group, or if you’re a parent you can register your child individually. Registration opens from 19 March with round one closing 19 June 2015. A small entry fee applies which will be donated to Onebillion, a charity that works to bring basic education to children in some of the world’s poorest countries.

For more information and to register for this year’s competition, visit the Junior Language Challenge 2015 website.


Related Links

Vacancies: Professional Development Officer (2 posts)

12 May 2015 (SCILT)

SCILT requires two Professional Development Officers to support secondary schools as they continue to develop their strategy for the implementation of the 1+2 languages policy. This is an exciting opportunity to work at national level and drive forward the strategic languages agenda in Scotland. The Professional Development Officers will be responsible for developing and delivering a broad range of support measures for teachers of languages. This would include, for example, leading professional learning workshops and managing projects, national awards/competitions and other promotional events. It is expected that the post holders will support practitioners to turn policy into practice to create a positive impact on learners. This will be based on identification of practitioners’ needs, with particular reference to the aims of Curriculum for Excellence and the implementation of the 1+2 languages policy.

For the full job specification and how to apply visit the Stathclyde University vacancies webpage.

Closing date for applications is 25 May 2015.


Edinburgh International Book Festival - Baillie Gifford Schools Programme

4 May 2015 (Edinburgh International Book Festival)

Tickets are now on sale for the Edinburgh International Book Festival Baillie Gifford Schools Programme, with lots of exciting events running from 24 August to 1 September 2015.

This year the programme has a real focus on languages and internationalism, featuring authors with stories from afar; events about translation and adaptation; and an exploration of the different ways that stories can be told. We’ve also got some language-themed CPD events running throughout the Festival.   Find out more through the following links, or visit the website to see the programme and booking details.

CPD events:

  • The Gift of Bilingualism 
    Thursday 20 August, 7.00pm – 8.00pm
    How can bilingual families be supported and each mother tongue acknowledged and respected?
  • Poetic Translation with the Scottish Poetry Library
    Thursday 27 August, 5.00pm–6.00pm
    Think you can’t translate a poem from one language into another? This event will prove you wrong. Piloted in Edinburgh schools, this is a flexible approach to primary school language learning and creative writing with fun, fast-paced exercises.

Event for primary schools:


Into Film Festival 2015

28 April 2015 (Into Film)

The Into Film Festival is a free and annual celebration of film and education for schools and young people across the UK.

The Festival, formerly known as the National Youth Film Festival, takes place from 4–20 November 2015. It aims to help educators bring learning to life for 5-19 year olds by inspiring young people to watch, make and understand film in new and creative ways.

There will be a series of foreign language films to choose from (with English subtitles) with dates and locations to be announced closer to the event.  In the meantime, teachers can register interest now on the Into Film website and be informed as soon as bookings are possible.


How the language you speak changes your view of the world

27 April 2015 (The Conversation)

Bilinguals get all the perks. Better job prospects, a cognitive boost and even protection against dementia. Now new research shows that they can also view the world in different ways depending on the specific language they are operating in.

The past 15 years have witnessed an overwhelming amount of research on the bilingual mind, with the majority of the evidence pointing to the tangible advantages of using more than one language. Going back and forth between languages appears to be a kind of brain training, pushing your brain to be flexible.

Just as regular exercise gives your body some biological benefits, mentally controlling two or more languages gives your brain cognitive benefits. This mental flexibility pays big dividends especially later in life: the typical signs of cognitive ageing occur later in bilinguals – and the onset of age-related degenerative disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s are delayed in bilinguals by up to five years.


1+2 learning events - registration now open!

24 April 2015 (SCILT)

To support the 1+2 language learning model SCILT and Education Scotland are offering the following learning events during May/June for language practitioners in Scotland.  Click on the appropriate link for further information and to register your attendance.

Senior phase learning events 

L3 learning events 

Radio Edutalk

7 April 2015 (Radio Edutalk)

This Radio Edutalk podcast was taken at a recent meeting of the Practitioner Enquiry Network in West Lothian.

Jane Keegan, 1+2 Development Officer and Lynne Jones, Professional Development Officer at SCILT talk about the first phase of a small scale collaborative research project investigating attitudes to learning languages before and after the transition from primary to secondary.

Access the podcast on the Radio Edutalk website.


Primary Modern Languages Programme stopped in Northern Ireland

31 March 2015 (BBC News)

Tuesday was the final day of funding for the foreign languages programme for primary schools.
The Primary Modern Languages Programme has been scrapped as part of Department of Education's cuts for the new financial year.

Four hundred and thirteen schools in Northern Ireland have had staff come in to teach Spanish, Irish or Polish. Eighty-six teachers are employed under the scheme, most working in a handful of schools for a few hours at a time.

The Department of Education said the decision was regrettable but necessary, given the budget cuts they are facing and the fact that the scheme cost £900,000 a year.


Learning events coming soon!

27 March 2015 (SCILT)

Senior phase learning events

Recommendation 16 of the ‘1+2 Report’ states: ‘The Working Group recommends that schools provide all young people with flexible opportunities and encouragement to study more than one modern language to the level of a National Qualification Unit or course, in the senior phase, whether in their own school or through cluster arrangements with other schools.’

Would you like to:

  • expand provision in the senior phase? 
  • boost the number of young people continuing with a language beyond the broad general education? 
  • hear what others are doing and have an opportunity to discuss possibilities with colleagues?

If so, you may find inspiration at the senior phase learning events in May. Each event will have three different speakers talking about the courses they offer in the senior phase. They will say what they do to attract young people to study languages. There will be an opportunity to ask questions and engage in discussion with colleagues and representatives from SCILT and Education Scotland.

The dates are:

  • Saturday May 9 in Aberdeen 
  • Saturday May 16 in Dunfermline

Venues to be confirmed. Each event will last a morning. The opportunity to register for one or both of these events will be available soon.

L3 learning events

Recommendation 4 of the ‘1+2 Report’ states: ‘The Working Group recommends that a second additional language (L3) be introduced for pupils at a later stage in the primary school. The time for introduction of the L3 language would be…….no later than P5.’

Recommendation 11 states: ‘The Working Group recommends schools develop language learning for L3 during the broad general education, choosing from a range of approaches………’

As one would expect, schools and authorities are at different stages in their preparations for L3. Further guidance on L3 has been produced by Education Scotland and is available on their website and the SCILT website - 'A 1+2 approach to language learning - Further guidance on L3 within the 1+2 policy' under the Guidance tab. A range of approaches to the delivery of L3 in both primary and secondary schools is described in the guidance. Understandably, L3 remains the area where most schools and local authorities are still at the planning stage or are at the early stages of delivery.

There will be two learning events for L3.

  • Saturday 30 May in Glasgow - L3 in the primary school 
  • Saturday 6 June in Stirling - L3 in the secondary school

Venues to be confirmed but both events will last a morning and will take place in the central belt. Each will involve three presentations where speakers describe how they have begun working on L3 in their school or local authority. Much of this work is relatively new and some is at the trialling stage. Each speaker offers a different approach.

There will be dedicated time to ask questions and to engage in discussion with colleagues. Each event will be supported by representatives from SCILT and Education Scotland. The opportunity to register a place for one or both of these events will be available soon.

MTOT Celebration Event

19 March 2015 (SCILT)

SCILT was delighted to have received over 100 entries to the first ever Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) competition in Scotland! 

On Saturday 7 March our MTOT stars were invited to a special celebration event in the Burns room of the Mitchell Library.  Many of our MTOT stars took to the stage to read or sing their poems and songs before being presented with their own copy of the MTOT Anthology by Jim Carruth, Glasgow's Poet Laureate.

Visit our MTOT Celebration Event webpage to find out more about the event, see the photos and read the winning poems.


World Poetry Day – 21 March

19 March 2015 (UNESCO)

In celebrating World Poetry Day, March 21, UNESCO recognizes the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind.

One of the main objectives of World Poetry Day is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.

There is a strong connection between the aims of World Poetry Day and those of our own multilingual poetry competition, Mother Tongue Other Tongue.


Digital European Language Portfolio (ELP)

19 March 2015 (SCILT)

We have now created a digital version of the European Language Portfolio enabling primary pupils to record their language learning journeys electronically.  You can find the ELP on the primary section of the SCILT website.


'Difficult climate' for language teaching, study finds

18 March 2015 (BBC News)

(Applies to England) Language teaching is facing a "difficult climate" in England's schools, researchers say.

A report by the CfBT Education Trust and the British Council highlights low uptakes of language GCSEs and A-levels as particular concerns. It found that language teachers felt attracting pupils to study languages after the age of 16 was a "challenge".

The Department for Education said the number of pupils taking languages at GCSE was increasing.

This year's Language Trends Survey is the 13th annual research exercise to measure the condition of language teaching and learning in schools in England.


British students should venture farther than two hours away from home

16 March 2015 (The Guardian)

Many British students study at universities relatively close to home. As an international student, I wonder whether they may be missing out.


Multilingual families: 'Even our dog uses three languages'

13 March 2015 (The Guardian)

No matter what your family’s heritage, parenting has a common lexicon: brush your teeth, look up from that screen or stop bashing your brother can be found in most family phrasebooks.

But what if the language you were born with differs from the one your kids use daily at school, or if you and your partner each have different native languages?

Today almost one in five children in UK primary schools now has a mother tongue other than English. According to Professor Antonella Sorace, director of the Bilingualism Matters centre at Edinburgh University, the demand for information and advice on how to navigate the challenges of bilingual parenting is now “enormous”.


Creating a climate for innovation in language learning

11 March 2015 (British Council)

If you weren’t able to join the British Council's online workshop to explore what we might do to promote new ideas in language learning you can see the replay now on YouTube.


Learning the Duolingo – how one app speaks volumes for language learning

8 March 2015 (The Guardian)

Bill Gates, the billionaire philanthropist, can lay claim to a lifetime of achievements, but confessed earlier this year that a foreign language was missing from his CV.

During an online chat, the former Microsoft chairman and world’s richest man said he feels 'pretty stupid' that learning a foreign language had eluded him.

In an attempt to tackle the problem, he rejected using some of his $79bn wealth to hire a private tutor. Instead he joined the 70 million people around the world who have logged on to Duolingo, the free online courses that aims to democratise the teaching of languages to anyone with a smartphone, tablet or laptop and an internet connection.


Feel the beat: how rhythm shapes the way we use and understand language

6 March 2015 (The Guardian)

Stress-timing and meters aren’t merely the stuff of poetry – their everyday use in conversation and song reveals a fundamental pattern in language skills.

Do you feel the rhythm? Or a French rythme, Spanish ritmo, Swedish rytm, Russian ритм (ritm) or Japanese rizumu? Is there a difference? Perhaps one way to find out is to have a French conversation, German konversation, Spanish conversación, or Italian conversatione? Doing so will of course reveal many differences, but languages of the world also share much, just as these words demonstrate.


Would you like to contribute to our cross-sector discussion on the 1+2 language policy?

6 March 2015 (SCILT / University of Strathclyde)

In order to support the Government’s commitment to the 1+2 language policy the Cabinet Secretary for Education has asked the Scottish Funding Council “to consider the relevant recommendations in the SG Language Working Group Report and develop with the sector a strategy for growing the number of graduates with practical language skills”. You can read the full Letter of Guidance for 2015-16.

Our joint SCILT/UCMLS event on 6 May will give you the opportunity to make your views known and help shape the development of the strategy. For more information and to sign up for this event, visit the website.


Good news for language learning: UCML and AULC publish the annual report on take-up of Institution Wide Language Programmes

2 March 2015 (UCML/AULC)

Each year the Association of University Language Centres in the UK and Ireland conduct a survey to explore the take up of Institution-Wide Language Programmes (for credit and not for credit) in UK universities.

UCML co-publishes this report with AULC and support from the Higher Education Academy. The report from this year's survey (conducted in autumn 2014) is now published.

It includes analysis of various trends (by language, by balance of credit and not etc) across the sector.

It is clear from this report that the trend continues to be for increasing demand for language learning in HE alongside the study of other disciplines.


Modern Languages: Oral answers to questions in the House of Commons

2 March 2015 (They Work For You)

Question from Nigel Evans, Conservative MP to ask what steps are being taken to encourage pupils to study modern languages.


Studying languages: Shout louder

28 February 2015 (The Economist)

The last time she was recruiting for her export-sales team, Sarah Grain hired a Lithuanian who speaks Russian, Polish and German. Her two previous hires for Eriez Magnetics, which makes industrial equipment in South Wales, were an Italian who also speaks French, and a Venezuelan who speaks Spanish and Portuguese. All of them speak fluent English. “There were no British applicants who had the requisite language skills,” she says.

Ms Grain’s conclusion is not unusual for a British company. In 2012 a European Commission survey tested the foreign-language proficiency of 54,000 students aged 14 and 15, in 14 nations. Sweden came top, with 82% of pupils reaching an “independent” or “advanced independent” standard. The average for all 14 states was 42%. England came bottom, with just 9%.


#DigiLearnScot - Have You Got the 1+2 Factor?

27 February 2015 (Education Scotland / SCILT)

Next week, as part of Digital Learning Week, sees the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning launch 1+2 Factor, an exciting new competition which aims to showcase the learning and teaching of languages in schools across Scotland. Individual classes, schools or clusters are invited to use any of the tools within Glow to create a learning space which will help with the implementation of 1 + 2.

On the 1+2 Factor site within GLOW you can find important dates, useful links and documents to help create your learning experiences.

Join us on Glow TV on Wednesday 4th March at 12:30 PM to find out how to get involved in this nationwide event for Scottish education establishments.  Register on the #DigiLearnScot - Have You Got the 1+2 Factor? webpage

So what are you waiting for? Create, Collaborate, Innovate.

Please note, Glow login required to access.


Quiz: Which foreign language should you learn?

26 February 2015 (The Washington Post)

One excuse for being indecisive about choosing to study a foreign language is that there are so many options. In order to facilitate you the decision-making process, we have prepared an easy seven-step multiple-choice test that shouldn't take longer than one minute to complete.


International Mother Language Day

21 February 2015 (Taylor & Francis Online)

It's not too late to celebrate International Mother Language Day!  International Mother Language Day is an observance held annually on 21 February worldwide to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. It was first announced by UNESCO on 17 November 1999.

Access a collection of journal articles online, free until the end of March 2015.

The collection features articles covering topics including:

  • Language and Education 
  • Identity 
  • Language Attitudes 
  • Language Policy 
  • Multilingualism


Language linking, global thinking! - register interest

20 February 2015 (SCILT)

SCILT is inviting schools interested in taking part in the Language Linking Global Thinking initiative in session 2015/16 to register now. 

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 keeps in regular contact with the student by emailing, sending postcards 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. 

This initiative has been piloted this year in three local authorities, and SCILT is now extending it to schools across Scotland. 

If you would like to take part in this project for session 2015-16, please email SCILT. Places are strictly limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Schools who took part in the pilot are invited to register interest in the same way if they wish to continue the project into a second year.

More information on Language Linking Global Thinking 2014-15.

Some of the students have used blogs to facilitate their contact with the schools. Read the student blogs.

Building one community in a school where 38 languages are spoken

15 February 2015 (The Guardian)

Leading a school with a diverse cultural mix has its challenges, says headteacher Becky Ingram, but we all want the same things for our children.


Dating in a foreign language – an illustrated guide

14 February 2015 (The Guardian)

Dating can be confusing enough in your mother tongue, let alone when your date speaks a foreign language. From dealing with embarrassing mistakes to surviving arguments, Erica Buist shares some tips on how to get by.


Dramatic decline in number of university students taking modern foreign languages

14 February 2015 (The Telegraph)

The number of students taking foreign languages at university has dramatically declined over the past seven years, according to new figures. 

Entrants for modern foreign language degree courses fell by 16 per cent between 2007/08 and 2013/14, Higher Education Statistics Agency's latest (HESA) data shows. 

The statistics will spark fresh concerns about the future of language study, amid reports that some university departments are being forced to cut back or close down due to a lack of demand.


Language learning in Scotland: A 1+2 approach – further guidance on L3 within the 1+2 policy

10 February 2015 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has now published further guidance on L3 within the 1+2 languages strategy on their website.

This document provides guidance on the second additional language (L3) to be introduced by P5 by the latest, as a key element of the 1+2 policy. Learning a further language will give additional opportunities to build on children’s literacy skills so that they develop a greater understanding of how language works.


GCSE reform: regulations for modern foreign languages

9 February 2015 (Ofqual)

(Applies to England)  Reforms to GCSE modern foreign languages have now been published by Ofqual.


Top 10 podcasts to help you learn a language

9 February 2015 (The Guardian)

From videos in Japanese to news in German, language blogger Lindsay Dow recommends her favourite podcasts to keep you motivated and inspired while improving your skills.


Most inspirational use of film in the classroom award

9 February 2015 (Into Film)

We are partnering with the Guardian Teacher Network for this award and are looking for the most inspirational examples of using film or film-making activities in the classroom.

See the Into Film website for entry criteria.  Submission deadline is 26 February 2015.


SQA Modern Languages Update - January 2015

5 February 2015 (SQA)

The latest update from the SQA on the new Modern Languages qualifications focuses on the development of Advanced Higher, with information relevant to the subject and details of the support available to teaching professionals.

The update also details a series of implementation events for Advanced Higher Modern Languages taking place on the following dates:

  • Friday 20 February (Glasgow) 
  • Monday 23 February (Stirling) 
  • Wednesday 25 February (Edinburgh) 
  • Friday 27 February (Aberdeen)

There is a link within the document to register attendance.


Capital L Languages Challenge

5 February 2015 (Routes into Languages)

The competition invites teams of students to choose 6 of 7 challenges to complete in any language they wish. In fact, the more languages used to complete the tasks the better. After tasks are completed, students will need to enter examples of careers which use the skills and knowledge they have used!

This activity is targeted at Years, 8, 9 and 10 in England, S1-S3 in Scotland.

The deadline for submitting entries is 1 May 2015.

For more information about the competition, see the teacher information sheet or visit the Routes into Languages website.

To register to take part and to receive copies of the poster and students's sheets, please go to the Languages Challenge 2015 registration form.


Primary school pupils set to learn three languages by 2020

4 February 2015 (Evening Express)

Primary school pupils look set to learn three languages by 2020 – and one may be Mandarin.

Under a Scottish Government initiative, councils are to ensure all children learn two languages as well as their mother tongue.

The report – called Language Learning in Scotland: a 1+2 Approach – recommends that by 2020, all pupils should have access to modern language classes from P1.

Training for teachers to provide improved language education is already under way in some North-east council areas. And it has emerged one of the languages pupils could take up in primary school is Mandarin.


Boxer Amir Khan throws his weight behind Mother Tongue multilingual poetry project

31 January 2015 (Manchester Evening News)

Bolton boxer Amir Khan has thrown his weight behind a multilingual poetry project.

The champion boxer filmed a special video for the launch of the Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The national competition, which launches on Monday February 2, aims to encourage children who don’t speak English at home to celebrate their mother tongue - while giving native-English speakers the chance to learn a second language.

Amir said: “Speaking another language, some people might feel shy about it but they shouldn’t – they should have confidence and be able to talk about what other languages they speak."

*SCILT have been piloting Mother Tongue, Other Tongue in Scotland in session 2014-15 with Glasgow schools. Find out more on our Mother Tongue, Other Tongue page.  


Related Links

Amir's video along with more information and images from the competition can be found on the MTOT pages of Manchester Metropolitan University's website.

Why languages are the key to Britain's future

30 January 2015 (Third Year Abroad)

Third Year Abroad Editor, Florence, discusses why lesser-taught languages such as Arabic and Mandarin are not just useful life skills, but are crucial to the future of the UK.


1+2 Parent leaflet

27 January 2015 (SCILT)

SCILT would like to remind colleagues that our 1+2 information leaflet for parents is available to order for your school. If your school ordered leaflets last term you can now order more. 

The parent leaflet will help to address any questions parents may have about the 1+2 approach to language learning. It will be really useful for parents’ evenings.

If your school is interested in ordering this leaflet, please visit the Learners and Parents pages on our website, where you will also find our 'Inspiring Scotland's Young People...' leaflet and the 'Loving our Languages' bookmark. To order any of these materials please complete the order form and email it back to us. Although these products are free of charge, we would ask in return that you briefly explain how you intend to use them in your establishment.


CILT Cymru January 2015 newsletter

22 January 2015 (CILT Cymru)

See the January newsletter from CILT Cymru outlining the latest language news and events in Wales.  There are lots of useful resources and ideas for language teachers to use. 

Related Files

Modern Languages common questions on SQA website

20 January 2015 (SQA)

An updated Modern Languages Common Questions document has been published on the SQA website today.

This can be accessed on the SQA website by selecting the Modern Languages common questions tab.


How will we speak in 100 years?

20 January 2015 (Mail Online)

Sci-fi visions of the future may focus on soaring skylines and flying cars, but the world in 100 years may not only look different, but sound different too.

While there are more than 6,000 languages spoken globally at present, less than 600 are likely to endure in 2115, and they could be simplified versions of what we recognise today, one linguist has claimed.

He told MailOnline that the advent of technologically-advanced translating tools will not be enough to save the diversity of Earth’s languages either.


Related Links

What the World Will Speak in 2115 (The Wall Street Journal, 2 January 2015)

SQA up-date

16 January 2015 (SQA)

Higher Exemplar Question Papers are now available on the SQA website for all languages other than German and Urdu reading, which will be published by the end of January.

On the SQA webpage, click on “Specimen and Exemplar Question Papers and Marking Instructions”.


From mangata to kilig: 10 untranslatable words - in pictures

12 January 2015 (The Guardian)

Ever tried to describe the mark left on the skin by wearing something tight, and been lost for words? Or the itchiness on the upper lip before taking a sip of whisky? Illustrator and writer Ella Frances Sanders’ new book 'Lost in Translation' explores unique words from languages around the world. Here’s a few of our favourites.


Joining the Culture Club

9 January 2015 (TESS)

My five-year-old daughter and I speak a fair bit of Spanish in the house. On one occasion she couldn’t find exactly the right words to let me know that she was hot, so she just said, “Mama, hace calor [it’s hot],” and wiped her hand over her brow in drama-queen style.

The amateur dramatics were exactly the gesture I use for temperature and weather when I am teaching. I was so pleased that instead of not saying anything, my daughter had worked out that she could convey the same message in a different way.


YouTube video session with Greg Horton, CILT Cymru Languages Wales 2014 - Engaging Language Learners in Key Stage 3

8 January 2015 (CILT Cymru)

How do we ensure that as many pupils as possible opt to study GCSE languages? This session demonstrates tried-and-tested ways of engaging pupils across the ability range while at the same time achieving maximum linguistic progression.


7 Outstanding Language-Learning Apps and Websites

7 January 2014 (The Huffington Post)

Speaking the local language - or at least knowing some basic phrases - is one of the best ways for travellers to tap into foreign cultures. In countries where English isn't widely spoken, it's essential to learn some key words and phrases, but even in places with an abundance of English speakers, you'll find that locals tend to respond better when spoken to in their native tongue.

[...]The next time you're planning an international trip, consider practising the local language with these 7 indispensable language-learning apps and websites.


Why language skills are great for business

16 December 2014 (The Guardian)

Don’t know your bonjours from your buongiornos? You’re not alone: three-quarters of British adults can’t speak a foreign language competently. But the benefits of being able to communicate with overseas clients, suppliers and buyers are huge – as are the costs of lacking that facility.


Year-abroad students say universities don't offer enough support

15 December 2014 (The Guardian)

Erasmus, the student exchange scheme for the EU, celebrated a record number of participants this year and launched its expanded Erasmus+ programme. But despite the popularity of international study, some students say universities are providing insufficient mental health support to those living abroad.


Linguistic Diversity in Europe – Opportunity or Obstacle?

11 December 2014 (ECML)

The Council of Europe recognises language as an expression of identity and all languages as equal and valuable means of communication. Read the article from the ECML’s Director, Sarah Breslin, on page 6 of the OeaD News.


Language degrees: when the words are not enough

11 December 2014 (Times Higher Education)

A deep understanding of foreign languages is often essential to the combination of cajolery and seduction many companies require in their international negotiators.

That was the argument of Richard Hardie, chair of investment bank UBS, at a Westminster Higher Education Forum seminar on “Priorities for foreign language learning: participation, resources and progression” last week.


SQA N5 Modern Languages Course Reports 2014

9 December 2014 (SCILT/SQA)

SCILT has extracted and summarised key messages from the SQA N5 Modern Languages course reports for 2014.  These can be found in the attached document, which is also available on the Essentials for Planning in the Senior Phase section of our website.

This is a generic summary across all N5 Modern Languages.  The full reports can be accessed on the SQA website.


New job profile on the SCILT website

5 December 2014 (SCILT)

Let your pupils see that languages are valuable in the world of work by visiting the 'Job Profiles' section of the SCILT website. People from a range of sectors - including sport, marketing, technology and many more - explain how language learning has influenced their professional lives.

Our latest addition to the section comes from Heloise Allan, Head of Education for Project Trust, an educational charity specialising in overseas volunteering in 34 countries for school-leavers aged 17-19.

See this and other job profiles on our website now.


SCILT Christmas webpage now live!

4 December 2014 (SCILT)

Are you looking for ideas to bring Christmas into your modern languages classroom? 

SCILT have compiled resources from around the world for use with your pupils, from songs and games to interactive advent calendars. Find out how Christmas is celebrated in France, Germany, Spain and many other countries!



2 December 2014 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has just launched their new learning community, Babelon, on GLOW. The learning community is there to support and share all things languages related.  To sign up to the Babelon community you'll need a GLOW userid and password.


Principal Teacher Languages Post at Kingussie High School

1 December 2014 (Kingussie High School)

Kingussie High School are looking for a dynamic Principal Teacher of Languages, to include leading the work of new Confucius Hub. The successful candidate will also co-ordinate non-manual skills for work courses and be responsible for the schools distance learning, as well as manage the subject group of Languages.

More information is available on the Kingussie High School website.


Community languages not supported in UK education system, survey suggests

28 November 2014 (The Guardian)

Despite the fact almost one in five young people have a first language other than English, research reveals their skills go unsupported and unrecognised by exam system.

Most young people in Britain whose native language is not English believe speaking a second language is an advantage in life. However only just over a third take a qualification in their mother tongue, according to a Guardian/ICM poll.


Related Links

Ten ways to support community languages in the UK (The Guardian, 2 December 2014)

Travel quiz: languages of the world

28 November 2014 (The Guardian)

Do you know when it's appropriate to say 'namaste'? Or in which language 'cerveza' means beer? Or do you find things just get lost in translation? Prove your knowledge of world languages with our quiz.


Eddie Izzard named public language champion

28 November 2014 (The Guardian)

The public has chosen stand-up comedian Eddie Izzard as their 2014 public language champion.

The award was announced on Friday at the Guardian and British Academy 2014 Schools Language Awards in central London as part of the annual Language Festival. The Public Language Champion award invites Guardian readers to nominate public figures that promote the value of speaking another language.

Eddie Izzard is a long-time advocate for the importance of language learning. Readers highlight his international tour Force Majeure which sees him delivering sets in Arabic, German, Spanish and French. As part of the tour, and to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day, he also performed the show three times in three different languages.


Languages in the British Army - BBC Radio 4

27 November 2014 (BBC)

This episode of BBC Radio 4's PM programme features an item about the importance of learning languages for the British Army.

Listen from 22:43.


Your love of language – in pictures

24 November 2014 (The Guardian)

In our recent Witness assignment we asked you to share a picture of an everyday item and tell us what it is called in your home language. From ‘cup’ in Welsh to ‘love’ in Bulgarian, we had almost 100 submissions from across Europe and beyond. Here’s a few of our favourites.


Quality language teaching: Which challenges for Europe in the XXIst century?

24 November 2014 (ECML)

Presentation by ECML’s Sarah Breslin from the conference held in Madrid on 7 November is now available.


Why do pigs oink in English, boo boo in Japanese, and nöff-nöff in Swedish?

17 November 2014 (The Guardian)

What goes boo boo in Japanese, chrum chrum in Polish, groin groin in French, hunk hunk in Kosovan and nöff-nöff in Swedish? Clue: she may go by the name of Peppa, or demand to be called Miss. It is, of course, the pig who oinks in English, Italian and Spanish.

In case you were wondering, it isn’t pigs that are multilingual, it’s us. The onomatopoeia we apply to animal sounds varies delightfully around the world. This diversity reflects the unique flavour and panache of different languages. It’s one of the many joys of exploring the linguistic quirks of other tongues.


Learn the lingo and live longer: Foreign languages makes for more brain cells

16 November 2014 (The Independent)

"Ik spreek goed Nederlands" (I speak good Dutch); that's the phrase which brought the house down during a recent visit to my Dutch in-laws' in Rotterdam. Personally, I think I've had more inspired moments of comedy but, for Dutch people, there's obviously something inherently hilarious about an English person attempting to speak their language.

The English have a well-earned reputation as the language-learning dunces of Europe, and traditionally that didn't bother us much. Taking a language at GCSE ceased to be compulsory in 2004, and since then the number of people studying languages at degree level has fallen to a record low. There's an obvious logic to this. Everyone else speaks English anyway, and as for those who don't, simply repeating the same phrase more loudly and with a cod Spanish accent usually suffices, right? So why bother?

Here's why. A new study by Pennsylvania University shows that language-learning keeps the brain healthy and sharp as we age, reducing the likelihood of early-onset dementia.


Related Links

Learning languages is a workout for brains, both young and old (Penn State News, 12 November 2014)

Language lessons 'should aim for more than phrasebook competence'

15 November 2014 (BBC)

Language teachers should aim beyond "functional phrasebook competence" and encourage self-expression in pupils, a leading headmistress is to say.

Bernice McCabe, headmistress of North London Collegiate School, will say teachers should be "a thorn in the side of British insularity and reticence".

[...] The aim is to bring "new life" into language lessons, Mrs McCabe says.


'Tis the season to win a language lab!

14 November 2014 (Sanako)

Sanako is celebrating our new look website and are excited to announce that we are giving away a 20 position language lab…. just in time for Christmas!

The winning School/College/University will receive a 20 position Sanako Study 700 Language lab, our basic-level software language laboratory for the classroom environment. The Study 700 is ideal for the language lab novice and is an entry level system which incorporates all the basic language laboratory functions such as monitoring, discussion, pairing, listening activities and two-track recording as well as many more innovative features!

For a chance to win this fantastic prize, visit the competition website.


2014 SALT Conference Report

8 November 2014 (SALT)

Around 250 delegates from across Scotland and beyond attended this year's SALT conference on 1st November at the John Anderson Buildings in Strathclyde University, Glasgow.

[...] We've put together this special conference newsletter as a souvenir for delegates, and the SALT Executive Committee hope that everyone gained something from the day and that you will all come back and join us again next year.


Languages for their future: support your students as they consider studying languages beyond school

31 October 2014 (SCILT)

Do you have students who are thinking about continuing with languages when they leave school? As the UCAS application process gets underway, the Beyond School section of our website contains useful information to help them decide on the different language courses and options available:

There’s lots of information on…

  • Languages – the benefits for you and your career
  • Undergraduate language courses at Scottish and UK universities – what’s available where
  • Enhance your degree – options for combining languages with other subjects
  • The gap year – opportunities to study, work or volunteer abroad
  • Student experiences – advice from those who’ve been there, done it and got the t-shirt!

Please make your pupils, guidance and careers staff aware of the ‘Beyond School’ website. It covers all their language needs -


European Language Portfolio (ELP)

28 October 2014 (SCILT)

Celebrate and record language learning in and out of school with the SCILT ELP. This Prezi explains how. Also check out the Prezi alongside highlighting ‘What SCILT can do for you’.


We are losing languages at a rate of one every fortnight

27 October 2014 (The Independent)

The 11 largest languages in the world are Chinese, English, Hindi/Urdu, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, Russian, Bengali, Japanese, German and French. Together they account for approximately half the world’s population. However, most of the planet’s languages are spoken by relatively few people, while four per cent of languages are spoken by 96 per cent of the world’s population.


Mapping London's 'Tube Tongues'

27 October 2014 (Citylab)

An interactive map shows what languages—apart from English—are most spoken at each underground stop.


Quelle surprise! Celebrities who speak multiple languages

23 October 2014 (CNN)

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg already owns a good chunk of the Internet, but on Wednesday he won it as well when he spoke Chinese to an audience at a Beijing university. See the video along with other celebrities speaking other languages on CNN.


MTOT blog: The Creative Bag of Tricks

20 October 2014 (SCILT)

To support activities for the Mother Tongue Other Tongue poetry competition, SCILT is sharing practical ideas for developing creative writing skills through the “Creative Bag of Tricks” series published on the MTOT blog. The fifth item, “Cut-ups”, suggests three engaging activities suitable for learners at a range of ages and stages.


European Day of Languages - SCILT blog

09 October 2014 (SCILT)

How did you celebrate the European Day of Languages this year?

SCILT have created an EDL2014 blog to showcase some of the great activities that Scottish schools took part in to celebrate the European Day of Languages on September 26th. You can see the fantastic entries we've had so far via the link to our blog below.

If you haven't sent us your story yet we'd love to hear from you! You can send a short description of your day plus some colourful photographs to and we'll feature it on the blog. We hope to include a selection of the best stories in our next SCILT newsletter.


MTOT blog: The Creative Bag of Tricks

9 October 2014 (SCILT)

To support activities for the Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition, SCILT is sharing practical ideas for developing creative writing skills through the “Creative Bag of Tricks” series published on the MTOT blog. The fourth item, “I am” poems, is available to read now.


Glasgow modern languages newsletter - Autumn 2014

9 October 2014 (Glasgow City Council)

Read about the latest language activities and events which have been taking place in Glasgow's schools in the attached Autumn newsletter.

‘Every learner a language learner, every teacher a language teacher’

3 October 2014 (British Council)

The British Council organised an evening event on 26 September on the European Day of Languages to celebrate language diversity and language learning in UK schools.

‘Every learner a language learner, every teacher a language teacher’ featured case studies from Bordesley Green school in Birmingham and St Austin’s Primary in Liverpool on how they support MFL, CLIL, and EAL learners.

For those who were unable to attend the event, the presentations can now be viewed on YouTube.


European Day of Languages - new features on the ECML website

24 September 2014 (ECML)

The ECML dedicated European Day of Languages website has a great variety of ideas and resources to celebrate EDL 2014 in your school. This year there are a number of new features on the website:

  • Versions of the website in 28 different languages
  • Sign language game - find out European country names in International Sign Language and test yourself
  • Language trivia - some well-known and not so well-known characteristics of specific languages
  • European Day of Languages Photo Contest 2014 - anyone of any age in a Council of Europe member state can enter, this year's theme is 'Language learning in action'

as well as language facts, games, quizzes and much more! Visit the ECML European Day of Languages website to find out more about the new features and to access these wonderful resources.


European Day of Languages - Council of Europe Statement

24 September 2014 (Council of Europe)

To mark the European Day of Languages, the Council of Europe Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland, has issued the following statement:

European Day of Languages: challenging mindsets and embracing diversity

“On 26 September we celebrate Europe’s rich linguistic diversity. Let us take a moment to remember the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupery – that language is often the source of misunderstandings. Language can be used as a weapon, as an excuse to discriminate and humiliate.

Together we can ensure that languages, rather than being the source of misunderstanding, become the key to intercultural dialogue and mutual respect. To do this, we must challenge existing mindsets and embrace diversity.

The Council of Europe demonstrates a strong commitment to all of Europe’s languages: through its work on the protection of regional or minority languages, in developing common standards for teaching and measuring linguistic competence, and in supporting states to implement inclusive approaches to language education. 

So while we celebrate the Day of Languages today, in Strasbourg, in Graz together with the European Centre for Modern Languages, and through the many innovative events taking place all around Europe, let us recognise the powerful role languages play in helping to build and maintain tolerant, peaceful and inclusive societies.” 

Share your language skills: help us create a picture dictionary of Europe

23 September 2014 (The Guardian)

To mark European Day of Languages, submit a picture of an everyday item and tell us what it’s called in your home language.


Beyond the big three: French, German and Spanish aren’t the only languages that matter

19 September 2014 (The Conversation)

The shortage of foreign language skills in the UK is now a permanent preoccupation, with some sources placing the estimated cost of the deficit as high as £48 billion a year. Britons are now seen as a “nation of monoglots” and ridiculed when attempting to communicate in international contexts.
But part of the problem is that although teenagers recognise the need to learn languages, few are doing so – and even fewer are studying non-traditional languages such as Mandarin, Arabic, Russian and Turkish, which are only available in a handful of schools.


MTOT blog: The Creative Bag of Tricks

16 September 2014 (SCILT)

To support activities for the Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition, SCILT is sharing practical ideas for developing creative writing skills through the “Creative Bag of Tricks” series published on the MTOT blog. The third item, “Calligrams”, is available to read now.


Vocab Express League of Champions 2014

12 September 2014 (Vocab Express)

Vocab Express have launched The League of Champions - in search of the world’s best young linguists. Organised by online language learning vocabulary application Vocab Express and sponsored by Oxford University Press, the free, week-long language league for secondary schools worldwide will take place from Thursday 25 September to Wednesday 1 October 2014.

Schools can challenge each other and drive student vocabulary knowledge in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Mandarin, Japanese, Polish, Russian, Urdu, Arabic, Hebrew, Latin, and for the first time, Portuguese. Participating students log on and test their knowledge of vocabulary using the scoreboard system to gain points for their individual championship position, as well as their school’s league table position. Schools will compete against other schools from across the world for the top spot, with real-time leaderboards tracking the action as it happens.

Entry to the League of Champions is free, and open to all schools currently subscribing to Vocab Express. 100 free places are also available for the first 100 schools which do not subscribe, allowing up to 150 students from each to compete for the duration.

Visit the Vocab Express webpage for more information and to register.


MTOT blog: The Creative Bag of Tricks

10 September 2014 (SCILT)

To support activities for the Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition, SCILT is sharing practical ideas for developing creative writing skills through the “Creative Bag of Tricks” series published on the MTOT blog. The second item, “Metaphor”, is available to read now.


News at a glance – Language centre announces poetry contest

5 September 2014 (TESS)

A bilingual poetry competition is being launched by Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, backed by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. The competition, initially aimed at Glasgow pupils, includes two strands: a “mother tongue” category that encourages non-native English speakers to write in their own language, and an “other tongue” category, which invites young people to enter using a language they are studying in school. If the pilot goes well, the competition could be extended nationally next year.


Speaking in tongues – Issue 56

August 2014 (Teaching Scotland)

The Scottish Government's Strategic Implementation Group outlines their commitment to give all young people the chance to learn two additional languages

In 2011, the Scottish Government pledged: "We will introduce a norm for language learning in schools based on the European Union 1+2 model - that is we will create the conditions in which every child will learn two languages in addition to their own mother tongue. This will be rolled out over two Parliaments, and will create a new model for language acquisition in Scotland."

This commitment was made against a background that had seen the learning of languages eroded across the UK. In the same year, a study revealed the country's schoolchildren were less likely to learn multiple languages than those in almost any other EU member state.

The 1+2 policy is designed to reverse that trend. Here, we explain what 1+2 means for schools, teachers and heads.


News Release: Bilingual school poetry competition launched

27 August 2014 (University of Strathclyde)

A poetry competition backed by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy is being launched by the University of Strathclyde-based SCILT, Scotland's National Centre for Languages.

The Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition comprises two categories – 'Mother Tongue', which encourages non-native English speakers to write poetry in their mother tongue language, and 'Other Tongue', which encourages young people to write poetry in the additional language they are studying in school.


Related Links

Mother Tongue Other Tongue (Barmulloch Primary Parent/Carer Council, 13 August 2014)

Language Festival 2014

27 August 2014 (The Guardian)

The Guardian and the British Academy are holding a UK-wide Language Festival to celebrate the UK's diverse cultural heritage. The festival will provide a platform for schools, higher education institutions (HEIs), students, policy makers and businesses from across the UK to discuss, debate and explore the academic, cultural and economic benefits of language learning.

Downloadable language resource packs for both primary and secondary students are available on the Guardian website.


Duolingo creator: 'I wanted to create a way to learn languages for free'

27 August 2014 (The Guardian)

He'd sold two companies to Google by his mid twenties and now Luis von Ahn has created an app that he hopes will allow anyone with internet access to learn a language for free.


MTOT blog: The Creative Bag of Tricks

26 August 2014 (SCILT)

To support activities for the Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition, SCILT is sharing practical ideas for developing creative writing skills through the “Creative Bag of Tricks” series published on the MTOT blog. The first item, “Colour Charts”, is available to read now.


European Day of Languages 2014 - SCILT webpage now live

22 August 2014 (SCILT)

Each year September 26th marks the European Day of Languages (EDL). It's all about finding ways to get people in schools, colleges and the wider community excited about languages. How you celebrate is up to you!

SCILT has launched the European Day of Languages 2014 webpage where you can finds lots of ideas for how your school can celebrate. You can also order EDL materials for your school like posters, stickers and pens.

Let us know how you celebrate, and you could even feature in our EDL 2014 blog!


P2-P7 Primary Language Learning framework

19 August 2014 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has published the Primary Language Learning framework for P2-P7. This part of the framework complements the P1 guidance issued in December 2013.

The framework contains advice and support for practitioners who are introducing, or planning to introduce the teaching of a modern language from P1-P7. It contains learning maps to aid planning for teaching the first modern language (L2) as well as an overview of the essential Knowledge about Language required for children to progress in their language learning. There are film clips of primary language teaching, sound files of useful classroom language, progression grids and useful web links to support practitioners in their preparation and delivery of a contextualised modern language experience.


Related Links

A link to the Education Scotland guidance materials can also be found on SCILT's 'Essentials for Planning in Primary' webpage.

Understanding Language: Learning and Teaching

19 August 2014 (Futurelearn)

A free online course from the University of Southampton and British Council commencing 17 November 2014. The 4-week course will introduce you to some of the latest ideas in research and practice in language learning and teaching.

For more information and to register for the course, visit the website.


Mother Tongue Other Tongue 2014 - new competition for Glasgow schools

19 August 2014 (SCILT)

Schools in Glasgow have been sent an email inviting them to enter the new multilingual poetry competition, Mother Tongue Other Tongue. The competition celebrates the diversity of cultures and languages spoken and learned by young people at school and at home and invites young people to be creative and find their own voice through poetry, lullabies, rap or songs. Full details are available on our website


1+2 updated support documents

14 August 2014 (SCILT/Education Scotland)

In light of discussions with the languages community, Education Scotland has updated the key messages from the 1+2 report, produced further information about language continuity and developed a support paper to help local authorities and schools identify priorities and plan their strategic approach to 1+2.

To access the most recent recommendations and support documents for schools and local authorities, please visit the 'Supporting self-evaluation and strategic planning' section of our 1+2 webpages.


University role ‘crucial’ for languages recovery

14 July 2014 (THE)

Universities have a crucial role to play in “a national recovery programme” to improve the level of Britain’s linguistic skills.


Related Links

Open letter from UCML (UCML website, 14 July 2014)

Modern languages need 'national recovery programme', say MPs

14 July 2014 (TES)

Foreign language teaching needs to undergo a “national recovery programme” as the economy risks losing £48 billion a year due to a lack of linguistic skills, a new report says. In its Manifesto for Languages document, a group of MPs and peers has called for all political parties to make a commitment to high-quality language learning from age 7, and for every child to have a good language qualification by the end of secondary education.


Languages in Wales deserve a fighting chance

11 July 2014 (Guardian)

Reflecting on his redundancy, former director for the national languages centre shares his hope for the future of language education in Wales.


Gap-year students to assist pupils with languages

3 July 2014 (The Herald)

Youngsters who take a gap year before starting university, college or employment are being targeted in a drive to improve language learning in the nation's schools.

Under the initiative, volunteers are twinned with primary and secondary schools to demonstrate the importance of learning a language for their trips and to promote wider cultural awareness.

The project also involves university language students who travel overseas on study placements or work as language assistants with the British Council.

Volunteers are linked with secondary schools that are already learning the language of the country they are visiting - either in Europe or further afield, with Spanish prevalent in South America and French commonly spoken in Africa.

In primary schools the focus is on promoting language learning more generally. The volunteers visit pupils before they go, stay in touch when they are overseas and return to the schools when they finish to update them on their progress - with input from teachers throughout to ensure the work fits in with the curriculum.

The Global Citizenship programme, a partnership between the British Council, Scotland's National Centre for Languages at Strathclyde University, NUS Scotland and Scottish-based educational charity Project Trust, has already been run as a pilot in 15 primary and secondary schools in Stirling and Falkirk.


Related Links

Teenager leads the way with lessons on Ghana (The Herald, 3 July 2014)

Visit the Project Trust pages on our website for more information on the partnership project.

Dinnae haud yer wheesht ... team collating all languages on planet lands in Scotland

29 June 2014 (The Herald)

The plan is to collect and collate every single language on earth - whether it is spoken by billions or just a handful of people in some remote corner of the planet. And this week Scots and Gaelic are to be added to the ambitious Wikitongues project which is currently compiling the first ever complete compendium of the world's 7000-plus spoken languages.

The Wikitongues initiative is aiming to document on video everything from the most widely used languages such as English and Mandarin to those which are spoken by only a few hundred people, such as Daakaka in the Vanuatu island nation of the South Pacific. The videos will then be archived online and become an encyclopedia of language, like wikipedia is an encyclopedia of knowledge.


Related Links

Languages recorded by Wikitongues (The Herald, 29 June 2014)

Scots and Gaelic to be recorded for 'Wikipedia of languages' (STV News, 29 June 2014)

Foreign language learning in primary schools – Scottish Parliament enquiry

19 June 2014 (Scottish Parliament)

The European and External Relations Committee will meet on 26 June 2014 and receive a report from Scottish Government on the learning of foreign languages in primary schools.

To read the report, open this PDF Meeting Agenda and scroll down to Annexe C (p16).


Glasgow Modern Languages Summer 2014 Newsletter

19 June 2014 (Glasgow City Council)

Take a look at all the stimulating articles about Glasgow schools' languages projects in the attached newsletter.

Mother Tongue Other Tongue 2014

12 June 2014 (SCILT)

On Wednesday 28th of May, poets and young people from Glasgow schools celebrated the launch of the Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition at the University of Strathclyde. SCILT is running the pilot competition for Glasgow schools from the start of the 2014-15 session. Take a look at the highlights of the launch event on our website and find out more about the competition and how your school can take part. Invitations to register in MTOT will be issued to schools throughout Glasgow in August so make sure you get involved!


Get Your Head in the Game: 2014 World Cup of Languages Contest!

9 June 2014 (Transparent Language)

We’re hosting our own 2014 World Cup of Languages Contest! We want to bring language lovers from around the world together and give you the chance to support your favorite language, start learning a new one, and have fun doing it…for free! From 11 June you will be able to sign up for a free account for the duration of the competition.


University guide 2015: league table for modern languages and linguistics

3 June 2014 (The Guardian)

University rankings include French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, south Asian, African, Australasian, modern Middle Eastern languages, and literature and linguistics.


Related Links

Key to the university guide tables 2015 – what does each column mean? (Guardian, 3 June 2014)

How to use the Guardian University Guide 2015 (Guardian, 3 June 2014) - Our mobile-friendly guide can help you find the perfect course at a UK university.

Strictly 1,000 Words competition

2 June 2014 (Language Show Live / Speak to the Future)

Strictly 1,000 Words is a national competition for language learners in schools, universities and language enthusiasts everywhere to produce a short video containing no more than 1,000 words in another language. Videos must be no more than 2 minutes long and contain up to 1,000 words in another language.

See the website for entry criteria. Deadline for applications is 11 July 2014.


Modern languages competition 2014

16 May 2014 (SALT)

For this year’s competition you are invited to design a poster, slide presentation or short video with pictures and text on the subject ‘FESTIVALS‘. Entry is open to any individual pupil/student or group of pupils/students in any Scottish school. The use of a language other than English must feature on the entry.  The closing date for submissions is 20 June.

Visit the SALT website for full details.


ALL Language Perfect World Championships 2014

15 May 2014 (ALL)

The ever popular annual global competition, the Language Perfect World Championships, is an intense competition to learn vocabulary, verbs and common phrases from a wide range of foreign languages. This year’s event takes place from 19 to 29 May…and you can still register to take part.


“Mother Tongue Other Tongue” Poet Laureate Education Project Coming Soon to Glasgow!

2 May 2014 (SCILT)

From August 2014, SCILT will be piloting the inspiring multi-lingual poetry competition and Poet Laureate Education Project, Mother Tongue Other Tongue, in Glasgow schools. If you are a teacher in a Glasgow primary or secondary school who is looking for a creative way to motivate language learning and celebrate all the languages spoken by your learners, go to our webpage to read more about what MTOT can offer you.


SCILT’s Junior European Language Portfolio available for download now!

2 May 2014 (SCILT)

Are you looking for innovative ways to:

  • encourage your learners to reflect on and take responsibility for their learning? 
  • celebrate wider language and intercultural learning experiences?
  • ease transition between stages and sectors?

SCILT has become the first organisation in Scotland to successfully register a European Language Portfolio(ELP) with the Council of Europe. Visit our webpage for more information on how you can start using the ELP with your learners now!

Please hit 'Control' and F5 simultaneously to ensure you are viewing the most up-to-date version of these pages.


Language World 2014: ALL Joined Up - catch up on what you missed!

22 April 2014 (ALL)

Language World is the annual flagship event of ALL, with two days of professional development for teachers, the largest UK exhibition of language teaching resources directly aimed at teachers, a social event, and a chance for teachers from all over the country to meet up with their subject community to celebrate language teaching and learning.

Language World 2014 took place last week at the University of Lancaster, and our theme this year was All Joined Up. The conference focussed on the need for teachers across sectors to work with one another to make language learning from age 7 onwards exciting, meaningful and successful. This year’s successful event showcased valuable and inspiring work which language teachers and language teaching professionals could learn from and use in their own practice.

If you didn't get the opportunity to join us this year, don't worry - we don't want anyone feeling left out! Speakers presentations and handouts are available through the link below.


Why this house believes the EU is in danger

11 April 2014 (TESS)

Students debate European politics at multilingual event.

“I can’t see any hands going up. No one has a question for the speakers? I would really like you to ask some questions!”

No translation was needed for the brief awkward silence at the end of a multilingual debate in Edinburgh as the chairman opened up the discussion to the floor on the impact of Scottish independence on the future of the European Union.

But it was soon clear that the fast-approaching referendum in Scotland was fuelling young people’s interest in languages and politics. The occasion, hosted by Heriot-Watt University last week, attracted more than 400 secondary school students from across the country.


Language Perfect World Championships – registration now open

2 April 2014 (Language Perfect)

The ever popular annual global competition, the Language Perfect World Championships, helps students across the globe to learn vocabulary, verbs and common phrases from a wide range of foreign languages. Registration for the 2014 competition is now open!


GLOW Meet British Academy Schools Languages Award 2014

4 April 2014 (SCILT )

Over £8000 to be won! BASLA Alert! Calling all secondary, supplementary and FE languages teachers!

£4000 will be awarded to two language learning projects in Scottish secondary, supplementary schools or FE colleges via the British Academy Schools Language Award (BASLA) this Autumn.

If your establishment has plans in place or is already involved in an imaginative language learning project which is improving uptake in languages in the Senior Phase and beyond, then you could be in with a chance of winning.  See the British Academy website for more information. 

All winning projects are then considered in the UK category. The overall UK winner will double their money, walking away with £8000 and the title of British Academy Schools Languages Award Winner 2014.

The deadline for applications is 30th June 2014. SCILT is hosting a GLOW Meet to provide key information and helpful insights to BASLA success. Anne Breivik, one of the BASLA judging panel will explain how to write a dazzling submission. Gillian Campbell-Thow, Education Support Officer for Modern Languages at Glasgow City Council and co-leader of one of the two Scottish winning projects in BASLA 2013, will share details of the very successful ‘Parliamo Glasgow’ venture.

This GLOW Meet will be recorded and made available to watch again.

Date: Monday 12th May Time: 4-5pm

Venue: GLOW - go to ‘View Web Conferencing Room GLOW MEET HERE’ in the ‘GLOW MEET HERE’ section of the page.


Materials for new Higher languages

31 March 2014 (Education Scotland/SQA)

Materials have been published on Education Scotland's GLOW site for the new Higher languages exams.  You will need a GLOW userid and password to access the materials.

Higher specimen question papers and the second Unit Assessment Support Pack for Higher have also been published by the SQA.  Specimen papers are available on SQA website and UASPs on SQA secure site.


Making too much of Mandarin is a ‘fundamental error’

28 March 2014 (TES)

It is a “fundamental error” to make students learn languages such as Mandarin merely because they are perceived as being economically important, the director of a prominent European languages organisation has warned.

Young people need to have their own “intrinsic” motivation for learning languages to be successful in mastering them, rather than being driven by external factors such as economics or better job prospects, said Sarah Breslin, executive director of the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML).

“There’s been this idea of we should all be learning Chinese instead of, say, French, but that is a fundamental error, which overlooks the fact that learning any language is useful,” she told TES. “Young people respond to different languages in different ways – the key is to offer them choice. Schools should have the capacity to teach a variety of languages.”


Extending listening sticks (primary resource)

25 March 2014 (Primary Language Learning Today)

The blog outlines the use of “Listening Sticks” and how these could be used to encourage children to practise listening and responding for key information. The sticks can contain any core language you have been practising.


Language learning in primary and secondary schools in England

25 March 2014 (CfBT)

Based upon the findings from the 2013/14 Language Trends survey, this report assesses the state of language teaching in English primary and secondary schools.


Job profiles

18 March 2014 (SCILT)

More profiles of people who have found languages useful in their work have been uploaded onto the SCILT website. Read about successful people in the business and sporting worlds and see why they consider that learning a language is really important.

Recent additions include: 

  • Melville Petrie, Director of PAI Ltd, on the challenges of learning and working with Mandarin and Arabic 
  • Euan Johnston, Marketing Manager at Bellcom Worldwide, on his love of German and how this has helped his career
  • Ian Fyfe, Human Resources Director and SFA Referee on languages as an important skill for SFA coaches

This is a useful resource to inspire pupils to study languages and highlight how doing so may benefit their future career.

Visit our Job Profiles and Careers webpage for more information.


Welsh pupils disadvantaged by lack of foreign language options

15 March 2014 (Guardian)

Decision to scrap languages from Welsh Baccalaureate will disadvantage Welsh economy and culture, ministers told.


Route maps through assessment

5 March 2014 (Education Scotland/SQA)

Minister for Learning, Dr Alasdair Allan recently put in place a package of support for secondary schools to help deliver the new National Qualifications. This support included new route maps through Assessment and these are now being published on the Education Scotland website.

Developed by Education Scotland, in partnership with the SQA, these provide sequenced list of main messages and links for National 4 and National 5. These guides will provide reassurance of the key documents and the sequence they should be used in. This can help teachers to reflect on their approaches this year, ensure they’ve done all they need to do and prepare for next year. They are step by step guides and will help practitioners ensure they have referred to the key guidelines and advice for learning, teaching and assessment in the new qualifications. The route maps are being developed for all subjects for the new National Qualifications. They will also be developed for the new Higher courses and these will be available from the start of the new session.


Languages reading list: Yiddish online, music for languages and Tinder

3 March 2014 (Guardian)

In this week's reading list, Yiddish has an online revival, musicians are better language learners and Tinder users are meeting up to practise vocab.


Course comparison documents for new Higher courses

25 February 2014 (SQA)

SQA has published tables which outline some of the changes for each of the new Higher Courses in comparison with the existing Higher Courses. This is intended to help teachers/lecturers identify what is changing, and what will remain the same, within their subject.

The information in these tables is not exhaustive, but provides links to more detailed subject documentation that can be accessed from the SQA's subject pages.

Course comparison documents can be found on the 'Related Information' panel on each of the subject pages on the SQA website.  See the panel on the Modern Languages subject pages.


Our Europe 2014 – winning films now online!

20 February 2014 (Radio Lingua/SEET)

The winning films from this year’s Our Europe film competition for schools can now be viewed online.


Languages roundup: tweet translation, princes' appeal and Gisele Bündchen

14 February 2014 (Guardian - The case for languages learning series)

This week in languages news, the royals make a wildlife appeal in six languages, Gisele Bündchen celebrates the languages of love and translate your Olympic tweets.


World Stories

14 February 2014 (Global Dimension)

One in eight children in the UK speaks a language other than English as their first language. This website is a growing collection of short stories, both new and traditional, from all around the world. The stories are available in English, plus their original language, and can be read and listened to online, or downloaded, all for free.


Learning a language: five tips

7 February 2014 (Guardian)

Apps, films, friends and Skype can all help you learn languages.


Related Links

Promoting spontaneous speaking

3 February 2014 (TES)

Templates to make it quick and easy to include varied speaking activities in lessons. Examples are in French and German but these could be adapted to any language/key stage.

You will need a TES userid and password to access the resource.


Win £4000 to get more of your students to aim higher!

3 February 2014 (British Academy)

As part of its programme to support and champion the learning of languages, the British Academy is again offering a series of Awards to schools and colleges throughout the UK for the encouragement of excellence in language learning.  This year the Awards focus on activity which encourages more students to take language learning to a higher level.

The Awards are intended to encourage schools to find imaginative and effective ways of improving take up and enthusiasm for language learning into S5, S6 and beyond, and of addressing the social imbalance in the profile of language learners at higher levels. Projects which target learners from less advantaged social groups or areas of the country are particularly welcomed.

The Awards are open to all secondary schools and colleges and cover all languages other than English, including those learnt as community languages. A total of 15 Awards of £4000 each will be made to schools throughout the UK. At least one Award will go to a winning proposal from Scotland. Application is via a simple online form with a closing date of 30 June 2014.

Visit the British Academy website to download the complete information pack and apply now!

Two projects in Scotland won an Award in 2013.  Find out more.


Languages reading list: Disney ignores Africa, whistling and Polish for police

1 February 2014 (Guardian - The case for languages learning series)

In Northamptonshire police officers learn Polish, the ancient art of whistling lives on in Turkey and Disney is accused of ignoring African languages.


Why the drop in university applications for languages is worrying

31 January 2014 (Guardian)

Ucas figures showing falling applications for modern language degrees pose a real problem for Britain.


Related Links

  • University applications hit record high (Guardian, 31 January 2014)
    [...] The number of applicants for European language courses fell by 5%, from 20,350 last year to 19,300. Applications for engineering are up from 127,000 to 141,000, and for computer science from 86,300 to 97,000. Wendy Piatt, director of the Russell Group of research universities, said: "We are worried by the continuing drop in applicants for both European and non-European languages. We need language graduates to meet the needs of our economy and society."

New National Qualifications - January 2014 Update

31 January 2014 (SQA)

The latest updates on the new National Qualifications have been published by SQA. The update for practitioners includes information on:

  • Course comparison documents for new Higher Courses
  • Common questions published on CfE subject web pages
  • Support events


How schools cope with teaching children who speak 14 different languages

31 January 2014 (Telegraph)

How the schools where nine in ten pupils do not speak English as their first language help bring their pupils up to speed.


The Times Stephen Spender Prize for poetry translation 2014

25 January 2014 (Stephen Spender Trust)

The Times Stephen Spender Prize for poetry translation 2014 has been launched. Entrants should translate a poem from any language, classical or modern, into English to enter this competition. Winning entries will be published in a booklet and cash prizes will be awarded. The closing date for entries is Friday 23rd May 2014.


New P1 languages guidance adds to 1+2 strategy

24 January 2014 (TESS)

Advice on modern language teaching in P1 has been published by Education Scotland. The guidance offers tips on how to incorporate languages into the curriculum, as well as sound files of classroom vocabulary in a variety of languages. It aims to enable primary schools to continue implementing the 1+2 language strategy. Film clips of classes using their new language skills and information on training is also included in the new guidance.


Related Links

Mandarin for Dr Doom, Arabic apps and rare tongues – language news

24 January 2014 (Guardian - The case for languages learning series)

This week in languages: the famous NYU professor, Dr Doom, takes up Mandarin, Canada preserves its rare languages and funding for Israeli startups.


Subject choices - promoting languages

23 January 2014 (SCILT)

If you are looking for ways of persuading pupils, parents and school managers that learning Modern Languages is a positive choice, then look no further. The team at SCILT have prepared some materials, ideas and suggestions that may help you.


Talking the talk in a global economy

20 January 2014 (The Telegraph)

A recent report warned that we are risking the economic health of the country by not teaching second languages effectively enough; we need to tap into the linguistic richness of today’s pupils, says Fiona Barry.


Speak to the Future 1000 Words Challenge

19 January 2014 (Vocab Express)

Sign up for your free Vocab Express account to learn the first 1,000 words in a new language!

Vocab Express is proud to be the official partner of the Speak To The Future 1,000 Words campaign for vocabulary learning and has teamed up with Oxford University Press to develop vocabulary lists to enable you to learn the first 1,000 words of a new language.


The Silk Road

17 January 2014 (RGS)

For schools looking for IDL ideas, there are some interesting materials and photos from an exhibition provided by the Royal Geographical Society on the link below. The images might be used as a context for any language to discuss countries, weather, clothes, houses, etc. Worth a look!


Are women really better at learning languages?

13 January 2014 (The Telegraph)

When it comes to education, females have certainly been covering lost ground. Girls now outperform boys in GCSEs and women outnumber men at most UK universities.

In the field of language learning, there has been a long-standing idea that females are also more adept at languages than males, excelling in their native tongue and also foreign language study. But is there any truth behind this theory, or is it just academic folklore?



6 January 2014 (Teachersmedia)

Teacher’s Media International provide online professional development services for the education sector. Sign up for free to access a range of video clips sharing best practice in both primary and secondary modern language classroom settings.


I'm dreaming of a wacht Christmas: carols from around the world

19 December 2013 (The Guardian)

Learning songs and poems is believed to be a great way of mastering a language. And what better songs to learn than Christmas tunes?

We asked our Twitter followers for their favourite festive ditties. So whether you're looking for musical inspiration to aid the holiday homework, or just want to spice up the Christmas dinner soundtrack, we've compiled a playlist of foreign language Christmas songs.


Guidance for teaching a first modern language in P1

18 December 2013 (Education Scotland)

Education Scotland have issued new guidance to support language learning in P1. This resource offers a number of supportive approaches and helpful weblinks, along with examples of how primary teachers are delivering modern languages in the classroom.

The guidance will be useful to practitioners who are teaching, or planning to teach, a modern language in P1.

It contains suggestions on the integration of modern languages into everyday classroom situations. There are also soundfiles to support practitioners in using modern languages in class.

Publication of guidance for P2-P7 will follow in Spring and Summer 2014.


Glasgow Modern Languages Festive Newsletter 2013

17 December 2013 (Glasgow City Council)

Download the newsletter to learn about the range of language and cultural events which have taken place within Glasgow's schools.

Related Files

Eddie Izzard: We're just lazy at foreign languages

17 December 2013 (Newsbeat)

Eddie Izzard has claimed people who speak English are "just lazy" at learning foreign languages.

Dates for the comedian's current Force Majeure tour will cover 27 countries during which he will perform in German, French, Spanish and Arabic.

"It's a very positive thing to do," said the 51-year-old who will also speak in Russian and Italian during the tour.

"It means something if you're going to learn the whole language."


Transforming a culture of monoglots

11 December 2013 (The Guardian)

How do we change a determinedly monolingual culture, in which people remain disinterested in other languages, as well as convinced that they're punishingly hard to learn?


A good diplomat needs to interact with locals

10 December 2013 (The Guardian)

A good diplomat needs to have the language skills to communicate and interact with locals on the street. It is not sufficient to be able to speak to the country's leaders. It is, of course, an important part of a diplomat's job to report, accurately, exchanges with the host government; but to anticipate trends and to detect straws in the wind you need diplomats who can mingle with those outside of government who may yet influence public opinion.


Language lessons teach you more than just verb tables

6 December 2013 (The Guardian)

Behind mundane conversation topics, studying a language gives learners an insight into how a country works.


50 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Languages

5 December 2013 (Edudemic)

Learning another language is important. And even in the United States (where learning non-native language has typically been lagging a bit behind many other countries), nearly all students are studying another language.

Languages are a part of everyday life – whether you speak one or more, they are one of the main keys of communication. Other than being able to speak a language (or not being able to speak it) there are a lot of fun facts about languages more generally.

Read on to discover more.


Festive Phrases: free video lessons each day of December

2 December 2013 (Radio Lingua Schools)

Access our daily episodes of Festive Phrases and learn to say “Happy Christmas” or “Happy New Year” to 2.6 billion people around the world!

The Festive Phrases course is available to members only, but you can sign up for a free account with Radio Lingua Schools.


SCILT Christmas webpage now live!

29 November 2013 (SCILT)

Looking for ideas to bring Christmas into your Modern Foreign Languages classroom?

SCILT have compiled resources from around the world for use with your students, from songs to advent calendars to games. Find out how Christmas is celebrated in France, Germany, Spain and many other countries!


Cute cats could be key to learning new languages

27 November 2013 (BBC)

Amusing photos of cats may provide hours of entertainment for people browsing online but can they be used to help people remember things?

Funny cat photos and videos have become an online fascination in the last few years and have even created 'superstars' like Grumpy Cat and Nyan Cat. One is a real-life miserable-looking moggy who has more than 2.5 million Facebook fans; the other is an animated kitten whose rather unimaginative journey across a screen has been viewed more than 100 million times.

Now, one app developer thinks it can tap in to this trend and use cute cat photos to improve people's memory function when learning languages.


My best lesson - Turn language learning into a guessing game

22 November 2013 (TES)

What is the eternal fascination with guessing games? Shakespeare's work is full of riddles, the Victorians played charades, my own offspring loved Pictionary and schoolchildren will grab a pen and play hangman at any opportunity.

As a teacher of languages - French, Spanish and English as a foreign language - I have always tried to tap into this fascination as a way of helping students of all ages to learn vocabulary and structures.


Film can have a leading role in education

19 November 2013 (The Guardian)

Film can be a powerful educational tool, especially for children with disabilities and from deprived backgrounds. So how can we place it at the heart of young people's learning experiences?

Film clubs are being run in more than 7,000 schools, with 220,000 young people watching, discussing and reviewing film. This service provides, for free, a curated catalogue of DVDs, curriculum-linked guides, film-making tutorials and a members magazine. It also offers masterclasses in film-making, reviewing and programming, and gives film club members the opportunity to post reviews on its website.

The Film Club website has films to suit a wide age-range including foreign language options.


Related Links

To participate in Film Nation UK's Filmclub programme, which offers free access to thousands of films and education resources, visit: Film Club or email

Dr Allan blog – The National Language Conference in Stirling

18 November 2013 (Engage for Education blog)

The National Language Conference, held in Stirling, offered a valuable opportunity to harness the expertise and experience of education experts to drive forward our work to ensure that every child in Scotland has the opportunity to learn two languages in addition to their own mother tongue by 2020.

I am fully aware of how ambitious this target is, but I am confident we can and will deliver it. To ensure the nation’s prosperity, it is essential that young people are attracted to learning modern languages, which will help them develop a truly international outlook and, equip them with the skills needed in the new Europe and in the 21st centrury global marketplace.


International Education Week 2013 (18-24 November)

18 November 2013 (British Council)

As part of our wider work in the international education sector, we champion and support foreign language learning in the UK.

To celebrate International Education Week 2013, lots of new resources are available to help you with your language skills. Visit our website for the many ways you can get involved now.

There is also the opportunity to join a live debate on Thursday 21 November 11:00-13:00 GMT asking the questions:

  • What languages do you speak and where do you speak them?
  • Why do you think it is important to speak other languages?

Join pupils around the world to share your views. Find out how to join the debate by visiting the Commonwealth Class debate website.

There are a couple of 5 minute films on the debate website - one from a very diverse school in Glasgow on the languages the pupils speak and what they think about languages and one from Australia about a primary school where half the curriculum is delivered in Mandarin. You could show the films early in the week, have a discussion, then some of the pupils can send in their responses on Thursday or in advance of the debate - #LearnALanguage.


Joining the global conversation

15 November 2013 (TES)

Multilingual education is not just good for job prospects - it can also make young people better learners across the curriculum. But those who miss out may be left at a great disadvantage, even if they are native English speakers. William Stewart reports.


The David Buckland Trust

12 November 2013 (David Buckland Trust)

Students can apply for an award from the Trust which can be used to support further foreign language studies within the UK or abroad, or to aid transition to higher study within a university in the UK. DB Trust awards fall into two categories:

  1. An award for an individual student aged 16 or over, this award should be applied for by the student themselves using the ‘Student Application Form‘ 
  2. An award for an individual student aged below 16, a group of students of any age, or any other award for a school/setting/organisation. This award should be applied for by a representative of the school /organisation/setting using the ‘Group Application Form‘.

For the purpose of any grants a foreign language is any language other than English which the pupil is learning solely or mainly at school (a language does not count if acquired by birth and/or upbringing).

Visit the website for more information and to apply.


Our Europe Film Competition - Promotional Video

12 November 2013 (SEET)

Sophie, Jessica and Mark talk you through the 2013 Our Europe film competition run by Scottish European Educational Trust and Radio Lingua. Get the chance to make a movie and win an iPad for you and your school.


Why should the British bother with languages?

10 November 2013 (The Boar)

Something must be done to address the disastrous inability of the British to learn languages, as the changing state of language means that we could find ourselves in the perilous position of being able to communicate with only ourselves.


Slump in foreign language students sparks fear for UK's ability to compete on world stage

8 November 2013 (The Telegraph)

A slump in the number of students studying foreign languages at university has been revealed, sparking fears over the UK's ability to compete with other nations.

In total, 4,842 people were accepted on to UK degree courses to study the subjects in 2012 a drop of 14% on the year before.


What we can learn from teaching English abroad?

7 November 2013 (The Guardian)

Foreign language teaching in schools isn't making students fluent or even competent. So why can't we adopt the succesful TEFL model of teaching languages?


Speaking a second language may delay dementia

7 November 2013 (BBC)

People who speak more than one language and who develop dementia tend to do so up to five years later than those who are monolingual, according to a study.

Scientists examined almost 650 dementia patients and assessed when each one had been diagnosed with the condition.

They found people who spoke two or more languages experienced a later onset of Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia and frontotemporal dementia.


Related Links

Bilingual skills can stall dementia onset (The Herald, 7 November 2013)

Why everyone should invest in language skills

06 November 2013 (QS)

Language learning is a key priority under a new EU study abroad funding program for education, training and youth organizations due to be launched in January 2014. The new scheme, called Erasmus+, follows a report from the European Commission on the importance of language skills in a market where businesses increasingly operate internationally.

Speaking at the London Language Show recently, the EU commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou, said: “Language learning is vital in Europe... foreign language competences are needed not only by the large multinationals, but increasingly also by SMEs [small and medium enterprises] with international marketing strategies, and by public services having to deal with increasingly multicultural and multilingual citizens.”

So, why should everyone (whether a student or not) be motivated to learn a foreign language, even if they don’t feel like they need one? Prepare to be persuaded…


In pursuit of a polyglot nation

05 November 2013 (The Guardian)

The British Academy's recent State of the Nation report highlighted a shortage of foreign-language skills in the UK and warned of a "vicious cycle of monolingualism". So why are more people not fired up to learn other languages? What can be done to change their perceptions and how can we ensure supply meets demand in the range of courses offered by schools and universities?


Language Festival programme

04 November 2013 (The Guardian)

Full event listings for the Language Festival being run by the Guardian and the British Academy throughout November. The festival will provide a platform for schools, higher education institutions, students, policy makers and businesses from across the UK to discuss, debate and explore the academic, cultural and economic benefits of language learning.


Speak to the Future: 1000 Word Challenge

31 October 2013 (Speak to the Future)

Speak to the Future is the public campaign for languages and needs your support. Please spread the word: the more people who join the campaign, the greater the chances of making an impact.

Why not join the schools, other educational organisations and businesses who have signed up for the 1000 words challenge? Not everyone will become a fluent linguist, but the aspiration for EVERYONE to have 1000 words in another language is realistic and achievable.

To find out more please follow the link to the Speak to the Future website.


Good practice resource - Languages at the heart of the curriculum: Springfield Lower School

24 October 2013 (Ofsted)

At Springfield Lower School, teaching Italian through an approach based on content and language integrated learning (CLIL) is firmly established. Language lessons use the current topic in the curriculum for their content. Links with Italy and its culture provide rich opportunities to develop the pupils’ understanding and appreciation of other cultures.

This is one of four examples, two primary and two secondary, where pupils make rapid progress in learning modern languages through a curriculum designed to extend opportunities to be immersed in the language studied.


Mind your languages! UK is warned it cannot carry on at bottom of class

18 October 2013 (The Independent)

Britons can no longer rely on the rest of the world speaking English to get by in the world of business or work, the European Education Commissioner warns.

Androulla Vassiliou cited figures which showed the UK languishing at the foot of a European languages league table - the EU had set a target of 50 per cent of people speaking two foreign languages fluently - yet in the UK only nine per cent of 15-year-olds spoke one foreign language.  That compared with more than 80 per cent of 15-year-olds in the Netherlands and Sweden, who topped the table.


Related Links

New study abroad programme makes languages an EU priority (The Guardian, 21 October 2013)

Ofqual: A-level languages crisis so severe reform could be fast-tracked

18 October 2013 (TES)

(Relates to England) The crisis in A-level modern languages is so pressing that changes may be made before the planned exam reform in 2016, Ofqual chief regulator Glenys Stacey said yesterday.

Numbers taking French, for example, have dropped by 40 per cent since 2001. The TES reported in September that even high-flying students at elite private schools are no longer prepared to take languages because of the risk of not getting the grades they need for entrance to leading universities. 

Ms Stacey said the results of an investigation into claims that MFLs are more severely graded than other subjects will be published at the end of term.


Language graduates: what jobs are they doing now?

16 October 2013 (The Guardian)

From international aid to banking, social media and teaching, language graduates end up across all career sectors.


The modern languages grading issue is only the tip of the iceberg

15 October 2013 (The Guardian)

Lenient grading at GCSE, curriculum context and teaching methodologies are all also to blame for the decline of language students, says Dr Robert Vanderplank.


Language Launchpad - Graduate Career Interviews

15 October 2013 (European Commission/ThirdYearAbroad)

The European Commission has teamed up with to interview UK language graduates and discover how their language skills have benefited their careers. 

The graduates featured in the clips have found work in business, finance, the media, the police, international development, education, sport, diplomacy and translation thanks to their language abilities and the skills developed on the year abroad.

There are fourteen two-minute video interviews, each featuring a different graduate, and one longer five-minute video summarising the key message that languages boost your career.


Why I became a primary teacher: to get children hooked on languages

13 October 2013 (The Guardian)

Diana Linford tells Emily Drabble how having her daughter refired her passion for teaching and why she thinks languages must start at primary school.


Policy needs to change to address the US and UK's language deficits

11 October 2013 (The Guardian)

Britain and the United States must rapidly increase their number of competent foreign-language speakers if they are to compete in the global jobs and services markets of the future – but how best to do it?


Inspiring Projects

10 October 2013 (Speak to the Future)

We’re highlighting inspiring projects happening across the country which are promoting languages to the wider public – showing those in the languages community what you could do, and helping to give those outside an insight into the value of languages and language learning.

There are a host of projects and websites covering a number of languages for all ages – take a look and see what will inspire you.


University language department closures: 10 things you need to know

9 October 2013 (The Guardian)

Over the last few days, a Guardian investigation has revealed that modern foreign language departments are closing at an alarming rate. Here's a summary of the key facts.


Toddler brain scan gives language insight

9 October 2013 (BBC)

The brain has a critical window for language development between the ages of two and four, brain scans suggest.

Environmental influences have their biggest impact before the age of four, as the brain's wiring develops to process new words, say UK and US scientists.

It also explains why young children are good at learning two languages.


Join the debate: language packs for schools and businesses

7 October 2013 (The Guardian)

The British Academy and the Guardian are holding a national Language Festival throughout November 2013 to celebrate the UK's diverse cultural richness and raise the profile of language learning among learners of all ages. Throughout November, the festival will provide a platform for schools, higher education institutions, policy makers and businesses from across the UK to discuss, debate and explore the academic, cultural and economic benefits of language learning.

To celebrate the launch of the Language Festival, we have created a series of downloadable packs for primary and secondary schools, as well as businesses, to provide ideas for organising your own language-related events.


Body Parts Bingo French/Spanish/German

2 October 2013 (TES)

Body parts bingo cards which can be used in any languages. Print and laminate them so they can be used with board pens, be wiped off and re-used over and over again.

You will need a TES userid and password to access the resource.


Postcard from... Brussels

1 October 2013 (The Independent)

The EU has been celebrating its diversity of language, with press releases timed to coincide with the European Day of Languages last week boasting that “Love is... Multilingualism”. Unfortunately, such love does not appear to spread to Britain.

While two-thirds of people surveyed across the EU’s member states said they could speak a foreign language, that figure is around 38 per cent in Britain.


Dr Alasdair Allan blog – European Day of Languages

26 September 2013 (Engage for Education)

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the European Day of Languages – an annual celebration of the linguistic and cultural diversity across the globe.

Across Scotland, schools are celebrating with a wide range of innovative and fun activities which will fire their imaginations and give them an appetite for other languages. For example, in Edinburgh – where only yesterday I officially opened the city’s first dedicated Gaelic school, Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pairce – pupils will be taking part in French and German language events, bringing pupils together from different schools to join in fun challenges. They will also be welcoming native language speakers and learning from them.


Russell Group quizzed on 'facilitating subjects' list

26 September 2013 (BBC News)

The Russell Group has been asked to produce research on what subjects teenagers need to get in to their universities, after a study cast doubt on so-called "preferred subjects".

The Russell Group's advice is in a document called Informed Choices which lists "facilitating subjects", saying they are sometimes "required more than others".

The subjects are maths, further maths, English literature, physics, biology, chemistry, geography, history and languages.


Online SCHOLAR workshops for Higher and Advanced Higher language students

25 September 2013 (SCHOLAR)

SCHOLAR is a programme run by Heriot-Watt University which enables students studying at Higher or Advanced Higher level to view and participate in SCHOLAR's publicly available Live Online Homework Sessions. 

Presented by Douglas Angus, SCHOLAR Online Tutor for Modern Languages, the first sessions for this academic year are scheduled as follows: 

Tuesday 1 October:

  • 7.30pm – 8pm (Higher)
  • 8.15pm – 9pm (Advanced Higher).

Theme: Listening

There will be an opportunity for students to participate in a Q&A session at the end of each presentation.

Participants should follow the Adobe Link and sign in as a guest.

For a full schedule of future online homework sessions planned for 2013-14, visit the SCHOLAR Scotland website where a pdf timetable can be downloaded.  You will also find a 'Try SCHOLAR' link where you can experience some of the materials provided.


Learn 1,000 words in a new language urges campaign

25 September 2013 (BBC)

Everyone in the UK should learn at least 1,000 words of another language, urges a new campaign.

The 1,000 Words Campaign stems from concerns that the country is losing out on international trade and jobs because of poor language skills.

It aims to confront the view that only the brightest can learn a language.


Related Links

Britons urged to lose ‘lazy linguists’ tag by learning new language (Yorkshire Post, 25 September 2013)

Language campaign urges everyone to learn 1000 words (The Guardian, 25 September 2013)

Learn 1000 words in a foreign language (The Telegraph, 2 October 2013)

Why everyone should learn 1000 words in another language (British Council blog, 2 October 2013)

Speak to the Future: 1000 Words Challenge - full details and how to get involved.

2013 British Academy Schools Language Awards winners announced

24 September 2013 (British Academy)

The British Academy has today announced the winners of the 2013 round of its Schools Language Awards. Schools and colleges – or institutions supporting them – were asked to submit proposals for increasing the numbers of students learning languages at higher levels.

Congratulations to Glasgow’s Polish School, the University of Strathclyde and Glasgow City Council schools who all won awards. Visit the British Academy website for full details.


SQA signs agreement with SCILT

23 September 2013 (SQA)

SQA has signed a new agreement with SCILT – Scotland’s National Centre for Languages at the University of Strathclyde – in an effort to promote the benefits of learning a second or indeed third language.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations explores the possibilities of working more closely together to support the development of modern languages provision within schools and colleges.


Are children really better at foreign language learning?

18 September 2013 (The Telegraph)

It’s the classic ‘old dog, new tricks’ excuse. Many adult learners, in fits of frustration, will claim that adults are simply poor at languages. They say children have more porous minds, better memories, and more adaptability. I’m sorry to report, it’s a myth.

Linguistic researchers have found that, under controlled conditions, adults can be better at language learning. So why does it seem that children have an easier time with picking up foreign tongues? Below are four ways that adults are as strong (or stronger) than children at foreign language learning.


Key Findings: Languages in business – 70% of companies do not keep record of staff language skills

16 September 2013 (Language Rich Europe Blog)

Language Rich Europe developed a survey to explore the language strategies of companies, to find out whether they prioritise and support language training for their employees, and also to establish the range of languages used to communicate with customers and in promotional materials. The criteria investigated are divided into three main categories: general company language strategies, internal language strategies, and external language strategies.


Why is UK language teaching in crisis?

11 September 2013 (The Guardian)

Britain's foreign languages skills are in crisis. During the past month alone, ministers, university representatives, exam chiefs and industry bodies have each voiced their concern as entries to degree and A-level modern foreign language courses plummeted. So few young people are learning languages that in 10 years' time as many as 40% of university language departments are likely to close. Where did it all go wrong for UK language teaching?


Snakes and ladders - transport - any language

7 September 2013 (TES)

This resource is a snakes and ladders board which could be used with any language - just teach them the appropriate vocabulary first. Suitable for S1-S3.

You will need a TES userid and password to access the materials.


Reviving languages - Generation monoglot

7 September 2013 (The Economist)

As the new term starts across England, schools are chewing over this summer’s results in the 16-plus exams. One trend is clear—the coalition’s emphasis on pupils achieving five core academic subjects, including a language, in its new EBACC (English Baccalaureate) qualification has raised the number of candidates taking language exams.

This marks a reversal of a long period in which English schools turned out a rising number of monoglots. The past two decades have witnessed a sharp decline in the numbers of teenagers poring over French verbs, let alone the oddities of German, which as Mark Twain, a 19th-century American writer, observed, renders a girl neuter but a turnip feminine.


The five cities with the most developed language policies

5 September 2013 (Language Rich Europe)

According to LRE data, the five cities with the most developed language policies are in ranked order Vienna, Barcelona, London, Milan and Krakow.

Language Rich Europe research provides a rich source of cross-national insights into multilingualism across the education sectors. This week we highlight Language Rich Europe findings in public services and spaces.

Language policies and strategies at city level were explored, as well as the number of languages in which public services are offered. In addition, city representatives reported the actual languages available in both written and oral communication in education, emergency, health, social, legal, transport, immigration, and tourism services, as well as theatre programmes.

Aberdeen and Glasgow feature amongst the cities offering the most oral communication services in the most languages.


Modern Language Screenings at Filmhouse

4 September 2013 (Creativity Portal)

A schools screening of a Modern Language film provides familiarity with the language and fosters appreciation of another culture. Filmhouse offers the best international cinema year-round and is home to the French Film Festival and many others. Our schools screenings are £2.60 (teachers free). To book, please contact the Duty Manager on 0131 228 2688 or email


What does the future hold for primary languages?

4 September 2013 (The Guardian)

A shortage of qualified teachers. A mismatch with secondary school options. Can languages in primary schools overcome the challenges ahead?

Despite the fact that you can at least get by using English in many parts of the world, there is a growing recognition that monolingual British schoolchildren are becoming ever more disadvantaged by their lack of language skills – a lack that is mirrored virtually nowhere else on the planet.


New National Qualifications – August 2013 Update

3 September 2013 (Education Scotland)

The latest updates on the new National Qualifications are now on SQA’s website.

The following will be of particular interest to language teachers:


UK still suffers trips of the tongues

29 August 2013 (THE Letters)

Your editorial “A timely look under the bonnet” (22 August) is right to draw attention to the issue of language degrees, but one of the figures was inaccurate. As of 23 August, the number of students starting a language degree was not down by 13 per cent but by less than 0.5 per cent.


Modern foreign languages - It's good to go mad

29 August 2013 (TES)

These days the pupils have easy access to a zip-zap virtual world and the demands of foreign language learning can seem tedious, demanding and unreal. To survive, we need to harness the new technology - and have our zany moments. Read on for some creative lesson ideas to break free from repetitive languages teaching.


Why languages matter to me: Eddie Izzard, Alastair Campbell and more

28 August 2013 (The Guardian)

A group of high-profile linguists reveal the impact languages has had on their lives and what sparked their passion for learning languages.


Language learning: the shaky future of study (and work) abroad

28 August 2013 (The Guardian)

Unless the government develops a coherent languages strategy, student mobility is threatened, says Anne Marie Graham. 

Another year, another fall (5%) in the number of language A-levels taken. The UK curriculum's first choice foreign languages, French and German, have been declining in popularity for more than a decade. And although numbers studying other languages, including Spanish and Arabic, have increased, they're not enough to buck the overall downward trend.


It's time for a national debate on language learning

28 August 2013 (The Guardian)

The Guardian and British Academy are working together on a campaign to raise the profile of languages in the UK. Wendy Berliner explores the importance and roots of the campaign.


1+2 Clarification and Key Messages

26 August 2013 (SCILT/Education Scotland)

Education Scotland has identified the key messages from the 'Language Learning in Scotland: A 1+2 approach' report to help local authorities and schools identify priorities and plan their strategic approach to 1+2. This can now be accessed on the 1+2 section of our website, alongside the ‘Supporting self-evaluation and planning for improvement’ audit tool Education Scotland also developed to help Local Authorities identify their priorities and next steps for taking forward the recommendations.


Yakety Yak Language Cafés

26 August 2013 (Yakety Yak)

Most language sessions will resume on week commencing 2nd September at their usual time and places.   There are a few exceptions.  Visit the Yakety Yak website for full details.


If we're going to compete, we need multilingual graduates

25 August 2013 (The Observer)

The reported decline of language teaching in higher education is very worrying. Universities need to think creatively about language provision in their institutions.


Lesson Plans - European Day of Languages, 26 September

23 August 2013 (TESS)

TESS has produced 10 lesson plans for the MFL classroom to help celebrate the European Day of Languages on 26 September.

You will need a TES userid/login to access the materials.


European Day of Languages 2013 - SCILT webpage now live

22 August 2013 (SCILT)

Each year September 26th marks the European Day of Languages (EDL) and is all about finding a way to get people in schools, colleges and the wider community excited about languages. How you celebrate is up to you!

SCILT have launched our European Day of Languages 2013 webpage, where you can finds loads of ideas on how your school can celebrate. You can also order EDL 2013 materials like posters, stickers and pens.

Visit our EDL 2013 webpage here and let us know how you intend to bring languages into your school this year!

GCSE breaking news

22 August 2013 (ALL)

Languages entries are up significantly (likely to be due to impact of EBacc). German up 9.4%, French 15.5%, Spanish 25.8%. Increase in other MLs as well. 44% of cohort took a language.

GCSE results: the headlines for languages.

The JCQ press release ‘languages’ section gives full details.


Related Links

'Dramatic' rise in number of foreign language entries (ITV News, 22 August 2013)

GCSE results: ministers hail 'revival' of foreign languages (The Telegraph, 22 August 2013)

GCSE results: At least foreign languages provided a bright spot (The Independent, 22 August 2013)

EBac kickstarts languages revival, but there's still a long way to go (TES, 22 August 2013)

EBacc to the future? Languages results rise at GCSE but is the crisis really over? (Speak to the Future, 22 August 2013)

Why I’m not jumping for joy at the increase in GCSE entries for languages (Alcantara Communications, 22 August 2013)

GCSE results 2013 - live! (The Guardian, 22 August 2013) 09:36 item ‘Language learning on the increase’

GCSE results 2013: science grades fall after papers are made tougher (The Guardian, 22 August 2013) Figures show dramatic rise in students sitting GCSE languages, including Urdu, Arabic and Chinese.

GCSE results 2013: record fall in pupils getting C grades or higher (The Guardian, 22 August 2013) [..] However, there were many bright spots around the country...There was also good news for supporters of modern languages, with a dramatic rise in the number of entries. French, German and Spanish saw a combined increase of nearly 17%.

GCSE results 2013: headlines in vines (The Guardian, 22 August 2013) This year GuardianData has summarised the UK GCSE results in short videos known as datavines. View the key points emerging from the results statistics here...French shows a rise in popularity.

GCSE results 2013: the complete breakdown (The Guardian, 22 August 2013) The three core subjects of English, Maths and Science continue to dominate the list of most popular subjects - no modern languages make it into the top 10 despite a rise in their popularity this year.

Thousands of pupils get GCSE results (BBC News, 22 August 2013) GCSE results in Northern Ireland have stayed almost static this year. [..] Meanwhile, Northern Ireland pupils are becoming less keen on taking French and German at GCSE level but Spanish and Irish are more popular.

Russell Group warning on GCSEs (THE, 22 August 2013) The Russell Group has warned that private school pupils are more likely than state school counterparts to choose science and languages subjects at GCSE, which could give them an advantage in university entry.

English Baccalaureate brings languages bouncing back (London Evening Standard, 22 August 2013)

International Education Week: 18-24 November 2013

20 August 2013 (British Council)

International Education Week (IEW) is an opportunity to promote the importance of building an international dimension into the education of young people in the UK at primary and secondary levels. We know that familiarity with other cultures and modern foreign languages skills are an essential part of preparing young people to work in the increasingly globalised economy.

The British Council is an authoritative voice on language learning, through our English teaching around the world, and we bring an intercultural dimension to foreign language learning in the UK through sharing our experiences, providing research and data and bringing in examples of international best practice.

This year IEW will support a major policy shift in UK schools. From September 2014 primary schools in England will be required to teach a foreign language to pupils at Key Stage 2 (upper primary). There is also increasing policy support in other UK countries for language learning at primary level.

International Education Week will form the starting point of a longer-term campaign to promote language learning in UK schools, with events taking place throughout the academic year.


Connecting Classrooms Professional Development

19 August 2013 (British Council)

Connecting Classrooms are offering a range of free Professional Development face to face courses across the UK this term. Course topics include ‘an introduction to international learning’ to ‘intercultural practice’ to ‘partnership journeys’.

A full list of locations and dates of courses is available on our website.

If you can’t attend a course in person, take our online courses in your own time and at your own pace.


Key Findings: Languages in further and higher education

19 August 2013 (Language Rich Europe blog)

Language Rich Europe research provides a rich source of cross-national insights into multilingualism across the education sectors. You can browse all of the national/ regional profiles or simply focus on further and higher education by reading on.


Language teaching crisis as 40% of university departments face closure

17 August 2013 (The Guardian)

As many as 40% of university language departments are likely to close within a decade, the former government adviser charged with bolstering foreign language uptake in higher education has warned, delivering a huge blow to the UK's diplomatic and economic hopes.

Amid a deepening crisis in language learning – which is causing alarm at the highest levels of government – the number of universities offering degrees in modern languages has already plunged from 105 in 2000 to 62 at the start of this academic year.


2013 A level results - languages data

15 August 2013 (UCML)

The A level results came out today (15 August 2013). What's been the impact on languages?


British holidaymakers admit to struggling with languages and culture

14 August 2013 (British Council)

Despite millions of people from the UK heading overseas for sun, sea and sand this summer, a lack of language and cultural skills is landing many in hot water, according to a poll by the British Council.

78% of British people say they cannot speak a foreign language to a high standard. 40% say this has caused them embarrassment while on holiday, 22% say they have paid over the odds as a result of not being able to speak the local language, and 18% admit to having no idea what they ate after ordering something from a menu they could not understand.

The research, carried out by Populus among 2000 British adults, was commissioned by the British Council as part of its work to build relationships for the UK around the world through language, culture and education - and advocate the learning of modern foreign languages in the UK.


Related Links

Language skills: Brits 'embarrassed' abroad (BBC News, 14 August 2013)

Please 'Elp Me, I Am Briteesh... (Huffington Post, 14 August 2013)

Are British people really bad at languages? (BBC News, 14 August 2013) Article includes a link to a report on BBC Radio 5 live's Breakfast show, available until 20 August 2013.

You can get on a language course without knowing a word

7 August 2013 (The Guardian)

Studying a new language at degree level is challenging, but many universities allow students to do so.

Students applying to study courses such as Mandarin and business or tourism management with Spanish are not expected to have prior experience of speaking their chosen languages.

But the dedication is likely to impress employers, acccording to Vince Peart, an adviser at the National Careers Service. "Employers recognise that languages require a lot of discipline, which is a highly valued quality."


Results for National Courses and Awards 2013

6 August 2013 (SQA)

The Scottish Qualifications Authority today announces details of the results for National Courses and Awards 2013.

There was an increase in the pass rate for the Scottish Baccalaureate – 85.9% (+6.7). The percentage point difference from 2012 is indicated in brackets.

The number of candidates sitting Chinese languages across all levels (from Access to Advanced Higher) continues to rise, up 36.3 per cent since 2010. Courses in Mandarin (Simplified) are the most popular and are usually taken by learners from a non-heritage background.

Download the attached pdf for a full summary of the 2013 performance across SQA courses in Modern Languages.


Related Files

Case Study: ‘Take Care’ – A Health Care Language Guide for Migrants in 17 Languages

6 August 2013 (Language Rich Europe)

According to the Language Rich Europe research, the top provision of multilingual services is, perhaps unsurprisingly, in the tourist sector, with the most widely offered language being English. However, to what extent do cities look at the needs of their inhabitants before deciding which languages to offer and in which services? One of these needs is highlighted by the Language Rich Europe case study on the European Commission-funded project ‘Take Care,’ which seeks to:
[make] health care more accessible and effective for migrants who do not speak the language and are not familiar with the culture nor with the health care system in the host country.


"Parlez-vous français?" Probably not, as the number of modern languages students falls

2 August 2013 (The Independent)

“Parlez-vous français?” The answer, according to new data from the Higher Education Funding council for England (HEFCE), is no.

The number of students accepting university places to study modern languages has fallen by 12 per cent overall, with French, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Scandinavian Studies among the hardest hit.


Report shows multilingual graduates have the job market upper hand

2 August 2013 (Manchester Evening News)

Multilingual graduates increasingly have the edge over their job market rivals, according to a study out today.


Related Links

Manchester Britain's 'city of languages' (PhysOrg, 13 August 2013)

The national curriculum in England - Framework Document

8 July 2013 (Department for Education)

Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to
other cultures. A high quality languages education should foster pupils’ curiosity and
deepen their understanding of the world. The teaching should enable pupils to express
their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its
speakers, both in speech and in writing. It should also provide opportunities for them to
communicate for practical purposes, learn new ways of thinking and read great literature
in the original language. Language teaching should provide the foundation for learning
further languages, equipping pupils to study and work in other countries.


Time to make space for a languages curriculum

4 July 2013 (TESS)

Insufficient funding, no guidance on which languages to teach and a lack of clarity on teacher training are just three of the reported problems. There is no shortage of challenges facing the 1+2 language initiative in Scottish primary schools.

Throw in the vexed implementation of Curriculum for Excellence and securing the success of 1+2 - whereby all children should start a second language in Primary 1 and a third no later than in Primary 5 - starts to look like a tall order.

But it is clear that prioritising languages from as early as possible in the lives of Scottish children is crucial. In 2011, a survey of language provision in secondaries by Scotland's national centre for languages, SCILT, showed that languages uptake in S4 had dropped in a third of schools and remained static in more than half, compared with 2007.


Can the 1+2 strategy add up without more funding?

5 July 2013 (TESS)

The Scottish government has set its languages target for 2020, but with a shortage of money and resources the initiative may struggle to succeed.

The scale of the ambition has to be applauded. The size of what the Scottish government hopes to achieve by 2020 with its 1+2 language strategy is vast. All children are to learn a second language from Primary 1 and to start a third language no later than in Primary 5.


Glasgow Modern Languages Newsletter - June 2013

24 June 2013 (Glasgow City Council)

Download a copy of the latest Glasgow Modern Languages Newsletter, packed with articles on language activities from across a