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Take your partners…

Author: David Kerr, Dumfries & Galloway

Members of the DANSE (Dumfries & Galloway, Argyll & Bute, North, South and East Ayrshire) Languages Group were first been introduced to each other at the National Development Officer Conference at Atlantic Quay in November last year, and the group has now met three times; in Kilmarnock, Ayr and Dumfries. Our next meeting is scheduled for Irvine in January.

A relaxed and supportive relationship is being developed and resources and ideas shared. Comparing notes as to our respective authorities’ approach to 1+2 is proving invaluable.

At the most recent meeting in September in Dumfries, Julia Preston (East Ayrshire), Angela Noble (North Ayrshire) and David Kerr (Dumfries & Galloway) were joined via video conference by Gwen McCrossan (Argyll & Bute). Lynn Crossan (South Ayrshire), Sonia Perez Coughlan (East Ayrshire) and Françoise Norel (Dumfries & Galloway) were unfortunately unable to be with us on this occasion.

An extensive and wide-ranging discussion was held on subjects including:

  • work with third parties, including SCILT, UCMLS as well as the RAF and Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, to run languages events for schools and practitioners
  • differing approaches to PLL training
  • contrasting approaches to Gaelic and the funding possibilities for Gaelic-themed events and projects
  • the use of authority-wide language resources, including the likes of Linguascope, Accès Studio and so on
  • the introduction of GCSE and AS Level Polish in Dumfries & Galloway, following consultations with City of Dundee and learning from their experience
  • possible LANGS-group related activities
  • cluster working
  • immersion courses
  • Lingo Leaders/Pupil Language Ambassadors – our ‘homework task’ for the next meeting is to develop materials for this
  • Modern Language Assistants and the organisation and provision needed to support them
  • technological and online development and resources
  • the sharing of learning from various national events and conferences.

All sounds a bit dry? A healthy combination of good humour and positive support ensures we look forward to our inter-authority, collaborative sessions. It’s not clear to us how many of the other local authority groupings have yet held meetings of this sort (though we know of the Northern Alliance); maybe all have. If you haven’t, our experience is that you’d certainly find it useful… you might even enjoy it!

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