[lg policy] Scotland: Experts: pupils missing out on language skills because of lack of qualified staff

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Mon Nov 9 16:35:34 UTC 2015

Experts: pupils missing out on language skills because of lack of qualified
[image: Teacher shake-up needed to deliver language skills, experts warn]

Teacher shake-up needed to deliver language skills, experts warn

Andrew Denholm <http://www.heraldscotland.com/author/profile/75991/> / 5
hours ago / News <http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/>

PUPILS are missing out on vital language learning because of a lack of
qualified staff, experts have warned.

Currently, teachers in Scottish schools need only one language to qualify
as a modern languages teacher.

*However, under the Scottish Government 1+2 policy all pupils are now
expected to learn two modern languages until the end of the third year of
secondary school.*

Gillian Campbell-Thow, president of the Scottish Association of Language
Teachers (Salt), said only a shake-up of teacher training could deliver the

Speaking after the annual Salt conference at Strathclyde University, in
Glasgow, she said: “The Scottish Government policy should give every child
the chance to learn two languages, but you cannot deliver the policy if you
don’t have dual linguists.

“At the moment, universities will accept graduates who only have one
language and, while they would encourage them to have a second teaching
subject, that may not be a language.

“A lot of people would welcome a bold move by the Scottish Government to
say you cannot be qualified as a language teacher in Scotland unless you
have two languages.

“If the government is suggesting we should be delivering 1+2 in schools
then there has to be a move from them to support that with better qualified

[image: Herald Scotland:]

*Maureen McKenna*

Maureen McKenna, executive director of education for Glasgow City Council,
backed the call at a speech to the conference, on Saturday.

She said: “We need to have a closer look at the opportunities for young
people entering into initial teacher education. If we want 1+2 to be
embedded we can’t just leave it to local authorities.
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“Surely it must be time to look at the postgraduate course for language
teachers. Can we really agree that one language is enough?”

The call comes at an uncertain time for modern languages in Scottish

Recent figures seemed to indicate that a long-term decline in the number of
pupils studying languages at Higher appeared to have been reversed.

However, numbers have dropped significantly over the past decade with the
decline blamed on the fact many schools no longer see them as compulsory,
despite school inspectors calling for them to be a "core element" in the
first three years of secondary.

In addition, as part of cuts to education budgets, two-thirds of local
authorities have scrapped foreign language assistants, although some are
now reinstating them.

A recent report by the Scottish Government's Languages Working Group said a
decline in language learning at Scottish schools and universities was
costing the economy at least half a billion pounds every year.

Under 1+2, all pupils are expected to be learning two languages, in
addition to their mother tongue, by the time they leave primary.

The plan, which councils are expected to deliver by 2020, brings Scotland
into line with many other European countries where learning a second
language starts in early primary school and learning three languages is

However, critics have argued the target is far too ambitious and is not
being supported sufficiently with funds or adequate training for teachers.
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*There has also been criticism from representatives of a number of European
countries including Germany, Switzerland and Austria who said some language
learning had actually declined.*

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We are encouraged that the 1+2
policy is being implemented throughout Scotland, but clearly there is more
to do to ensure children get as much choice and opportunity as possible to
learn a language. We are continuing to invest in this policy, providing
local authorities with an additional £7.2m in 2015-16 to drive this work
forward, in addition to the £9 million invested in 2013-15."


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