Parental engagement

Parental engagement

Survey on parental engagement

14 May 2019 (SCILT)

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


Wee Famille case study is now live!

26 April 2019 (SCILT)

In the first of our case studies focusing on parental and community engagement, read how Springside Primary School embarked on an initiative to engage families in learning French alongside their children. The aptly named Wee Famille project, a collaboration with partners from SCILT and North Ayrshire Council, resulted in a seven-week project involving the whole school community in learning about the culture and language of France. Resources developed for the project are also available to download as part of the case study.

If you’re interested in how SCILT can help you develop parental engagement and family learning opportunities in your local authority, please get in touch with


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

22 March 2019 (SCILT)

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

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

  • Early years
  • P1-P3
  • P4-P7

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

How to enter

There are two ways to enter the competition:

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

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

Remember the maximum characters allowed on Twitter is 280.

Entries should be uploaded by midnight on 3 May 2019.

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

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

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

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


Watch Jennifer count in the video below:

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


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

Early years class prize

Bilingual puppet session from Le Petit Monde

Goodie pack from KidslingoEarly years family prize

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

P1-P3 class prize

Bilingual games and songs from SCILT 

P1-P3 family prize

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

P4-P7 class prize

1/2 day workshop from  Theatre Sans Accents

P4-P7 family prize

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


NEW! Languages in a nutshell

16 November 2018 (SCILT)

NEW! Languages in a nutshell

Languages in a nutshell is a guide to learning languages, produced by SCILT in partnership with The National Parent Forum of Scotland. Aimed at parents, this leaflet explains how the 1+2 Approach will be put into practice and why learning other languages is so important. It also suggests ways parents can support their child’s language learning.

If you are interested in ordering this leaflet for your school please visit our Leaflets page.

Languages in a nutshell is one in a series of Nutshell leaflets produced by The National Parent Forum of Scotland.

EAL parents 'can't engage with school life'

1 November 2018 (TES)

More than half of teachers worry that parents whose native language is not English are missing out on critical elements of their children’s education, a survey shows.

Nearly seven out of 10 teachers said they were concerned parents couldn’t help with homework, and 51 per cent worried whether they could identify if their children had learning difficulties.

More than half (56 per cent) of teachers surveyed said they feared parents with English as an additional language (EAL) could not fully engage with school life.


Zoo fun with Mandarin - Free mini classes at Edinburgh Zoo

30 October 2018 (RZSS)

Zoo Fun with Mandarin is a mini Mandarin language course with a difference. It is an opportunity to learn Mandarin whilst also finding out about animals at the zoo and RZSS projects. The course is suitable for 8 years to adult and these are family learning sessions so children must be accompanied by an adult to attend.

RZSS Edinburgh Zoo hosts the first science specialist Confucius Classroom in the world.

Related Files

Building with Lingo

23 March 2018 (SCILT)

Children, young people and their families had the opportunity to discover the benefits of language learning at an action-packed, family learning event held at University of Strathclyde on 17 March 2018.

Participants took part in a wide range of intergenerational activities to celebrate and promote languages and cultural diversity. The varied programme featured interactive workshops and lectures as well as language and cultural taster sessions. These included a French puppet show, a lecture on the benefits of bilingualism, a masterclass in British Sign Language, an opportunity to hear how languages are used in the RAF and an overview of how languages facilitate the conservation work of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.

A parent attending the event said: “This was a wonderful day, brilliant for adults and kids alike! It has reinspired my love of languages.”

Another parent stated: “I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with my son and encourage his love of languages.”

The day was facilitated by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages based at the University of Strathclyde.

Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT said: “All parents and carers want the best for their child. Language learning contributes to building stronger, more cohesive communities in which our children can flourish. It offers youngsters a new way of thinking and exploring the world around them and helps lay the important building bricks that will support their learning throughout their life.”

SCILT are grateful for the support of The National Parent Forum of Scotland, Bilingualism Matters, Carmyle Primary School Choir, Classics for All, Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools, Le Petit Monde, Lingo Flamingo, North Ayrshire Council, Radio Lingua, Royal Air Force, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Russian Centre ‘Haven’, SFS School of Irish Dancing and Theatre Sans Accents.

Parental engagement a key driver in the Scottish Government’s National Improvement Framework and family learning in particular is recognised as a “powerful method of engagement and learning which can foster positive attitudes towards life-long learning, promote socio-economic resilience and challenge educational disadvantage.” (Family Learning Network, 2016).

For more information on the work of SCILT to promote languages across all ages, visit the SCILT website.


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