Beyond School

Linking universities with schools to support language learning.

Supporting schools

"The Working Group recommends that [...] languages departments in universities play a greater role in working with schools."

Language Learning in Scotland: A 1+2 Approach (Scottish Government, 2012)

School support activities from Scottish further and higher education establishments

Heriot-Watt University

Heriot-Watt University's Multilingual Debate is an annual event with two multilingual teams arguing for and against a motion of topical interest in a range of languages. 

The Multilingual Debate stimulates an interest among young people in the international politics and social issues of the modern world whilst also setting language acquisition in a realistic context. 

The audience is mainly made up of pupils coming from Scottish and English secondary schools, but also university undergraduate students considering entering the interpreting profession, as well as government and local authority representatives.

The university's SCHOLAR platform offers online courses for Scottish schools and colleges aligned to the SQA curriculum at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher level.

Open University in Scotland

The Open University's Young Applicants in Schools Scheme (YASS) gives S6 students in Scotland the unique opportunity to study a range of university level modules in school alongside their other studies.

YASS is designed to bridge the gap between school and university, college or employment and helps motivated students stand out from the crowd. It encourages independent learning and builds confidence. Key skills like time management and accessing electronic resources are developed.

Registration for YASS modules, which include a range of language options, is organised through the school.


We have worked with HE/FE colleagues to develop a series of opportunities and resources for schools to use to support language learning. 

The 'Working Together for Languages' report produced by UCMLS provides an evaluation of four collaborative language promotional initiatives to help reverse negative attitudes to languages. Amongst these are the following projects which teachers can find out more about on the SCILT website:

Business Brunches


Mother Tongue Other Tongue

Word Wizard

Additionally the Language Linking Global Thinking project matches a student on their year abroad with a Scottish school. The students keep in touch about their experiences overseas through blogposts which teachers then share with pupils in class.

University of Strathclyde

The Language Ambassadors Programme provides student role models to promote modern languages to young people, and encourage them to choose languages as part of their high school curriculum.

As role models, the ambassadors will share their experiences and their successes; they will also be honest about the challenges they faced studying a modern language.

University of St Andrews

The School of Modern Languages regularly hosts Languages Open Days, which have a range of activities on offer from language tasters in all 8 subjects (Arabic, French, German, Italian, Persian, Russian, Spanish and Comparative Literature) and mini lectures to games, songs and films.

Each year the faculty holds 'Meet & Mingle' networking events for schools in Scotland in close collaboration with current undergraduates: pupils are teamed up with language students of different years and given the chance to ask questions about language learning, university life, living abroad etc. while accompanying teachers meet with Modern Languages staff for a frank exchange of experiences at secondary and university level.

To support local primary schools with implementing the Scottish Government's 1+2 Language Policy, Fife Council and the School of Modern Languages have collaborated to start up a Primary School Partnership, whereby some of our undergraduates are teamed up with local schools in order to support language teaching and learning during weekly visits.

The School of Modern Languages also contributes to a range of summer schools and other outreach activities to support pupils and teachers.

University of Stirling

The university's Literature and Languages division supports schools by arranging for student Language Ambassadors to present the benefits of language learning and language study at university to secondary pupils. The French at Stirling blog also contains a range of posts from former language graduates outlining where their language studies have taken them.

For announcements and up-to-date opportunities for schools from Scottish FE/HE institutions, make sure you're subscribed to our weekly e-bulletin. Register below.

SCILT postcard

Thinking about continuing with languages when you leave school?

This postcard is designed to highlight the advantages of continuing language learning to complement future studies, whether at college or university, and to highlight the options available. It will be particularly useful for supporting senior pupils make choices about their paths beyond school.

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University of Strathclyde Education Scotland British Council Scotland The Scottish Government
SCILT - Scotlands National centre for Languages