Policy Papers

Policy papers connect research with policy through focusing on a specific piece of research and explaining its relevance for policy. The link to policy can range from pointing out conclusions and lessons for practice through to discussion of existing policies and practices and formulation of policy recommendations. In all cases the emphasis is on providing research evidence for criticising, endorsing or proposing a policy.

Scotland’s language communities and the 1+2 Language Strategy

  • The Scottish Government's ambitious 1+2 Language Strategy, launched in 2012, has refocused attention on language policy in education and the provision for language learning in Scotland.
  • The Language Strategy contains a commitment for schools to further develop links involving “language communities” and to teach “the community languages of pupils in schools”.
  • However, a review of the implementation of the policy reveals the languages on offer in mainstream schools remain dominated by a narrow range of European languages such as French and German.
  • The learning of community languages of an increasingly diverse population remains the preserve of complementary schools organised by language community members and operating in the evenings and the weekend.
  • Numerous studies in the UK and internationally have acknowledged the pivotal educational, social and cultural role of complementary schools. However, learners’ linguistic achievements gained at complementary schools often remain hidden from mainstream schools.
  • A national survey of complementary school providers highlights a desire to improve their language learning provision and to be involved more in 1+2 developments at a local authority level.
  • Developing meaningful partnerships between the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), local authorities, complementary schools and mainstream schools needs to be an integral part of the 1+2 Language Strategy.
  • Extending and enhancing language learning provision in and outside of mainstream schools will add much weight to the Scottish Government’s policy aspiration to develop a new generation of plurilingual citizens.
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