A 1+2 Approach

By 2021, every school in Scotland will offer children the opportunity to learn a first additional language from primary one, and a second additional language by primary five.

December 2020


Dear colleagues

These last few months have certainly been like no other. Our most used phrases seem to be “add me to the Team” or “put that in the chat box” as we all learn to embrace digital culture. As the pandemic started to evolve and its repercussions for education became clear, one of our concerns at SCILT was that the gains we had made thanks to the 1+2 policy would be lost. We were worried that schools would lose momentum in terms of the implementation of 1+2 languages and that we would be unable to support our stakeholders when they needed us most.

What has become clear, however, is that the languages community is resilient. We have adapted our professional learning offer to offer a variety of online opportunities for teachers and we are hugely encouraged by both the uptake and the feedback from the profession. Between August to December more than seven times as many teachers have attended our sessions than over the same period last year. In addition, we have seen a huge increase in engagement from local authorities across the country. Our online platforms have enabled us to reach colleagues in some of the most remote parts of our country so we can support teachers’ learning equitably regardless of where they live and work. We should all take pride in the fact that, despite the stress and the challenges caused by Covid-19, Scotland’s teachers are continuing their commitment to career-long professional learning and to ensuring the best possible learning experience for our youngsters.

Despite everything, language learning is continuing in our schools and together we are still able to make a difference. The LANGS network has been able to do much to ensure that there is a forum for communication and collaboration across our local authorities and we have seen RIC-wide approaches to supporting professional dialogue and learning. The recent SALT conference welcomed over 300 participants from across Scotland, the UK and beyond.

With a vaccine on the horizon, the light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel now appears to be brighter. As we look back on this period, I am confident we will be able to take pride in how much we have learned and how adversity has accelerated our practice. As a community, we have not only looked for the art of the possible, but have actively sought and achieved improvement as a result of the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

We may not be able to change the wind, but we can direct the sails. We are still able to make changes, effect progress and keep the vision for 1+2 languages in our sights.

Fhiona Mackay, Director

Download the SCILT 1+2 Newsletter: December 2020 as PDF

SCILT news

author Karen Faulds, SCILT

BSL is a language in its own right, with its own grammar, syntax and vocabulary. It has its own dialects and rich variation. Most importantly, it is a language which enables many of our D/deaf and Deafblind citizens to learn, work, parent, be creative, live life to the full, and to make their contribution to our communities, our culture and our economy. (Scottish Government, 2017)

The engagement of parents in their children’s learning can have a significant impact on behaviour, attitude and attainment. It increases pupil motivation, confidence and self-esteem and impacts positively on social skills development. This relates to all children and it is important to ensure that every child has an equal chance of success. In addition, parental engagement is a crucial component in ensuring that children with additional support needs have the same opportunity to be successful.

October saw the publication of a new case study on the SCILT website that features parental engagement and British Sign Language. This was a joint study in partnership with Education Scotland that looked at an Inverclyde school’s effective engagement strategy in supporting both hearing and non-hearing parents of deaf and hearing-impaired children within the school community.

Moorfoot Primary School and Garvel Deaf Centre in Gourock provide the focal point of this case study which highlights how BSL is woven throughout the ethos of the whole and wider school community. All children, hearing and non-hearing, learn BSL from nursery onwards. Children in the mainstream school have the opportunity to gain an SQA qualification in BSL when they reach the upper primary stages. Many parents with deaf children in attendance at Garvel Deaf Centre have little or no knowledge of BSL and this can impact greatly on families. Much has been done across the school to provide additional support for parents and families. The provision of weekly BSL classes, run by the school’s tutor for the deaf, has been a huge success and has had such a positive impact on families in general. The classes, together with an online learning blog, have been valuable in helping parents support their children with their learning. Please visit the SCILT website to access the case study and hear what the pupils, parents and staff have to say.

If you are interested in sharing your local authority’s approach to parental engagement and family learning, or would like to find out how SCILT can help you develop opportunities in this area, please get in touch with Karen Faulds.

author Lynne Jones, SCILT

Supporting teachers of languages has always been central to SCILT’s work. The quest to provide high quality professional learning opportunities for as many Scottish teachers as possible has resulted in innovation and diversification since schools returned in August. As you might expect, all we do in this area is shaped by the national framework for professional learning.

Did you know that the SCILT professional learning offer now includes:

  • New bitesize and drop-ins: informal, themed and open to all. Bitesize are short films or readings with associated reflective questions posted in the professional learning area of the SCILT website. Bitesize are available for you to engage with at any time. Drop-ins are informal online discussions where you can share your practice and learn from others. Previous monthly themes include: lessons from lockdown, gathering robust evidence in secondary and interdisciplinary contexts for primary language learning.
  • Online workshops for local authorities and clusters of schools: the latest edition of our menu lists workshops for primary and secondary teachers. Sessions last an hour and are bookable by languages leads for a group of in-service or pre-service teachers.
  • Bespoke online workshops: available on request, tailored to your needs.
  • Professional learning partnerships (PLPs): bring together teachers, SCILT Professional Development Officers and any number of other partners from education, business or charity sectors. Each PLP is unique as every partner brings different understandings, expertise and professional networks to the project. A partnership agreement is drawn up at the start and partners adopt a collaborative and enquiring approach to address a specific need identified by the teachers and aligned to HGIOS4 quality indicators.
  • Anytime professional learning: opportunities from a range of providers collated on the SCILT website for you to browse and learn at your leisure.

Professional learning that is currently underway or under construction includes:

  • OU_SCILT Teachers Learning to Teach Languages (TELT) Programme: current cohorts of beginners and post-beginners started in October. Having chosen to learn German, French, Mandarin Chinese or Spanish, teachers will earn Masters credits for the languages strand of the programme. In the pedagogy strand teachers explore a range of pedagogical approaches suitable for primary age pupils. Commitment and enthusiasm is evident in the increased uptake for GTCS Professional Recognition this year. Registration for 2021-22 will open in late spring.
  • Professional Learning Partnerships (PLPs): new projects include one with a focus on family learning involving schools in the Forth Valley and West Lothian improvement collaborative and Save the Children charity. Other PLPs in the pipeline will be publicised in due course.
  • The new Languages Leadership Programme (LLP) is under construction. This incarnation of the LLP will retain the unique balance of practice, policy, strategy and networking. Its blended format will comprise local and national elements and it will run across a full academic session. Applications for 2021-22 will open in spring.

If you would like to make a booking or have queries about any of these professional learning opportunities, please email scilt@strath.ac.uk.

author Lynne Jones, SCILT

Scotland’s languages community will celebrate Languages Week Scotland during the week beginning 1 February 2021. Throughout the week SCILT, LANGS and Education Scotland, along with a wide range of interested partners, will be “Celebrating Scotland’s Languages Landscape”. The aim is to amplify the voices of people, organisations and events that celebrate multilingualism in the many ways it manifests in our communities.

Before Christmas, two dedicated virtual spaces will open for business - a new @LangsWeekScot Twitter account and the new LWS area of the SCILT website. In the run-up to and during Languages Week Scotland 2021, there will be lots of activity on social media and in the press. Follow and use the #scotlandloveslanguages hashtag to discover and share LWS activities and events.

Amongst many, many other things, Languages Week Scotland 2021 will include:

  • daily language challenges on social media
  • announcements of the winners of both the Scottish Languages and Employability Award and the Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition
  • applications opening for two exciting opportunities: SCILT digital intern roles for senior phase pupils, and places on the new Languages Leadership Programme for post-probationer teachers.
  • the launch of a three-year strategic plan committing to the expansion of Languages Week Scotland as a national celebration event
  • a virtual sharing event for educators to raise the profile of socially just and equitable approaches to languages education

Be sure to spread the word to ensure your schools and communities know all about Languages Week Scotland and can start making their plans now.

News from our partners

author Liz Neil, British Council

It has never been so important for young people to understand global challenges, to make sense of them, and to feel informed and empowered to take action. Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning provides free classrooms resources, with new activities around the themes of learning from pandemics, mental health and wellbeing, and life on land. Funding is available for schools to work on collaborative projects, focused on the Sustainable Development Goals, with partners overseas. Partnership projects are a fantastic foundation for interdisciplinary learning and provide the opportunity to create a learning community, working in clusters with others, locally and internationally. This offers a great opportunity to engage learners on real issues and bring them to life, supporting literacy, language, intercultural understanding and more.

Help is available to support partner finding, application writing and project planning. There are also free, high-quality professional learning opportunities. Look out for partnership funding calls in early 2021. For further information, visit the Connecting Classrooms website or contact connectingclassrooms@lfsscotland.org.

author Jane Byers, SEET

Euroquiz Final 2020

Congratulations to pupils from Strathblane Primary (Stirling) who won the Scottish European Educational Trust (SEET) national Euroquiz final 2020, which took place online on Monday 2 November. The winners from Strathblane were closely followed by Linlithgow Primary (2nd place) and Carrick Knowe Primary (3rd place). Over 2,200 pupils from 440 schools took part in the Euroquiz project in 2020, which really highlights the achievements of all schools who made it to the final.

You can watch the event on the SEET YouTube channel.

Euroquiz 2020-21

We will be doing things a little differently this year to make sure that Euroquiz is safe and accessible for all who wish to take part.

To enter your team, please complete the registration form for schools and return to your local authority Euroquiz organiser. All schools in Scotland will receive this information directly from their local authority Euroquiz contact.

For more information about the project and what to expect, please visit the SEET website or contact jane@seet.org.uk.

Our World 2019-20

SEET’s Our World online premiere and awards ceremony took place at the end of October, and gave pupils the opportunity to showcase their work, discuss their learning and filmmaking experiences, and accept awards from our special guests. Warm congratulations to our award winners, which were as follows:

Best teamwork - Holyrood Secondary

Best use of theme - The Edinburgh Academy

Best editing - Balfron High School

Best use of language - Perth Grammar School

If you're interested in seeing how the Our World project took shape last year, check out our 2019-20 highlights film.

Our World 2020-21

SEET are pleased to announce the launch of the Our World project 2020-21!

Our World is a filmmaking project for S3-S6 pupils across Scotland, which promotes language learning and global citizenship education. The project asks pupils to use languages to express their thoughts on topical issues.

If you are interested in putting a team forward for this year's (remotely accessible) project, or know someone who is, complete the sign-up form and enter film ideas in storyboard form to us by 5pm on Friday 15 January 2021. You can find out more about the project and how to get involved on the SEET website, or contact alex@seet.org.uk.

author Chris Sagan, Polish Consulate in Edinburgh

The Polish Education team for the Polish Consulate in Scotland have been working hard to produce an internet-based guidebook for L3 Polish.

With the support of SCILT, The Polish Consulate in Edinburgh and The Polish Social and Educational Society in Glasgow, a team of teachers and language professionals have been working together to create a ten-lesson programme to support classroom teachers who chose Polish as their L3 language. 

The programme is very much designed by teachers, for teachers, with the needs of classroom teachers in mind. It introduces basic Polish by taking students on an imaginary trip to Poland to meet newly discovered relatives. The language learning is blended with learning about Poland, its people and its culture. The similarities and historic links between Scotland and Poland are explored. 

With the prototype guidebook nearing completion we are now looking forward to piloting the guidebook with a trial series of lessons. Five education authorities across Scotland have agreed to take part in the pilot programme, which is planned to start at the end of January 2021. The pilot will involve classroom teachers being taken through the guidebook by members of the development team. After each lesson the development team will ask for feedback from the teachers on how improvements could be made. The trial will last ten weeks with one lesson per week. 

We aim to have the guidebook complete and ready for classroom use by the summer term 2021 with a full launch in the first term of academic year 2021-22.

If you wish further information or as a classroom teacher would like to participate in the series of trial lessons, please send an email to secretary@sikorskipolishclub.org.uk.

You can also follow us on Twitter: Polish in Scotland @PolishInSzkocja.

Local authority updates

author Marie-Claire Lyon, Aberdeen City

Aberdeen City Council has adapted to the new way of working and we are now communicating with colleagues online.

Our CLPL programme is delivered via Google classroom and online meetings. The numbers may not be as high as previously, but we have been encouraged by the enthusiasm in primary schools where they have found innovative ways of delivering L2 and L3. Some teachers have been redeployed in their school to allow for flexibility and they have managed to include language learning in outdoor activities or in the classroom.

In collaboration with our colleagues from Aberdeen School for the Deaf we have delivered a BSL workshop.

The Secondary Modern Languages Network still meets termly and teachers can access a Google classroom where they share documents and resources.

Many have attended national SCILT and Education Scotland webinars.

Aberdeen University students are delivering their Language Ambassadors’ programme to secondary language departments online this year. They have pre-recorded presentation videos with a follow up Q&A session for interested schools. The scheme has been well-received by teachers and pupils.

We are hoping to be able to resume more face-to-face meetings in the future. However, this period is allowing us to plan for the delivery of CLPL for languages post 2021.

author Zoe Gordon, West Lothian

West Lothian and Falkirk 1+2 teams have been running a “Leadership of languages” course in conjunction with our partners Education Scotland and SCILT for the last three years. This year, with all training being online and travel and location not being a barrier, we decided to invite the full Forth Valley and West Lothian RIC to join us. Our colleagues from Stirling and Clackmannanshire were delighted to be a part of the 2020-21 project.

As well as the usual annual amendments to content, we had to make the course fit our new online Microsoft Teams platform. Two-hour long sessions were replaced with one-hour sessions and a “takeaway task”. Group discussions will still be possible thanks to breakout rooms, and collaboration and sharing will be enhanced through the use of digital tools such as padlet, wakelet and mentimeter.

We launched on the 4 November with 28 practitioners from primary and secondary across the four authorities. At our launch session, Louise Glen and Shona Hugh from Education Scotland gave us an update on the national picture, with a leadership slant. It was great for everyone to hear how far we have come in Scotland on our 1+2 journey, but with the all-important message for our audience of language leaders that we still have a way to go.

Participants left the session with a self-evaluation task to complete, looking at languages in their setting, which will be shared at the start of the next session. The course has a further six sessions between January and June and will include: whole school leadership, Developing the Young Workforce, progression, assessment and moderation, the digital landscape and parental engagement. Participants can choose to deliver a presentation at the end, sharing their journey.

The 1+2 language teams in each authority are collaborating to deliver different elements and sessions within the programme. We believe that this will allow the participants a truly unique opportunity to share, discuss and collaborate with colleagues in other regions and settings. We are all very excited about the journey we are undertaking. Watch this space!

author Elizabeth Norton, Glasgow City Council

“So what’s been happening with you?”

“Not much, how about you?”


How many people are often having this conversation with family and friends, calling each other frequently to make sure everyone is okay but without much news to impart?

Not so for the Languages Team in Glasgow! The lack of social life for everyone has meant that more teachers than ever have signed up for 1+2 languages training. This session, over 200 primary teachers are training in French, Italian and Spanish, with some, already having a language qualification, in multiple languages, including German, Scots and Gaelic. It’s very heartening to see the dedication of teachers who have committed to training every Saturday morning in November!

Across the city there are presentations from learners for National Qualifications including 80 Advanced Higher presentations in French, Spanish, Italian and German. Teachers have shown enormous adaptability and resilience in continuing to support the young people’s learning in the classroom and the virtual classroom. A huge debt of gratitude is due to them.

Looking forward to the brighter skies of 2021, we will continue to train and support colleagues with weekly primary language lessons on our blogs for French, Italian and Spanish. Training courses to extend teaching confidence and ability in the primary setting are available from January 2021.

For now, Joyeux Noël, Buon Natale, Feliz Navidad, Fröhliche Weihnachten, Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna Mhath Ùr!

author Zoe Gordon, West Lothian

West Lothian teachers and learners have been embracing the new online culture, and course bookings for CLPL opportunities in all curricular areas have increased. Our 1+2 languages forum is no different.

We started the school year with an online 1+2 conference in September. Here we mixed some live input with pre-recorded sessions. The success of the flexibility of the pre-recorded sessions has helped us to evaluate how we want to shape our CLPL offering for the rest of session 20-21.

In the second term we moved our Primary Language Learning (PLL) online. We delivered eight weeks of sessions in second level French and beginners Spanish at a reduced, one-hour time-slot. The sessions provided lots of resources and practical ideas for delivering lessons in the target languages, as well as pedagogical input and support with pronunciation. Positives from the feedback included the course being accessible to teachers who don’t drive and to those who work part-time. Removing travel has allowed for increased participation.

Our next steps are to pre-record the PLL sessions to allow even more flexibility. We will combine these with drop-in sessions to discuss and practise content. We will also be launching our bitesize programme in January with short, pre-recorded sessions in various languages and pedagogical areas, as requested by our Lead Learners.

As 1+2 Development Officer, I have been modelling language lessons throughout the first and second terms. When we entered a stricter level of lockdown, I was approached to deliver these virtually. Building on my “lessons from lockdown” experiences, I knew I could still deliver engaging language lessons online, with some adaptations. This term I have successfully delivered online lessons from nursery up to P7, as well as training sessions with individual schools.

Our learners have also benefited from the fabulous Virtual Exchange Teacher-led lessons in Mandarin, provided by CISS. Fifteen schools have taken part in 10 weeks of virtual lessons, allowing them not only to learn Mandarin, but about the culture and traditions in China too.

Although this year has been difficult in many ways, we must celebrate the positives of becoming more digitally aware and being able to provide access to a wider variety of learning opportunities for teachers and learners.

Celebrate the work being done across Scotland to support 1+2 languages

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