Call to teach second language in Scots schools from P1

Foreign language teacher and pupils Under the plans children could start learning a second language as young as five

Related Stories

A new report has said children in Scotland should begin learning a second language as soon as they start school.

The study, commissioned by the Scottish government, called for a "radical change of approach" in language learning.

The proposals put forward would see all children learning a second language from primary one, rather than primary six when most children currently start.

The plans are likely to be piloted in a dozen schools across Scotland.

Start Quote

The world is changing rapidly and radically”

End Quote Alasdair Allan Minister for Learning
'Multi-lingual world'

The recommendations - made by the government's Modern Languages Working Group - also suggest that children should learn a third language no later than P5.

To increase its support for language learning, Scotland's National Centre for Languages (SCILT) is to receive increased funding totalling more than £600,000 in 2012-2013.

The minister for learning, Alasdair Allan said: "The world is changing rapidly and radically and the government has a duty to ensure that Scottish schools prepare young people so they can flourish and succeed in the globalised, multi-lingual world we now live in.

"One indisputable aspect of modern life is that more people travel widely for jobs and leisure and we must respond accordingly; we will not be as successful as a country and economy if we remain essentially a mono-lingual society."

Ministers have signed a voluntary EU agreement to make the changes outlined in the report.

However, the full proposals are as yet un-costed and could face hurdles because of the high costs associated with training language teachers.

Lloyd Anderson, director of British Council Scotland, welcomed the report.

He said: "Scotland needs globalised citizens who can go out confidently on the world stage and win business to grow Scotland's exports.

"Language learning is a vital part of creating that outward-looking mindset."


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    I agree that all children should have a second and even 3rd language, I done both French and Spanish at high school and remember nothing, had I been taught this from a young age like multiplications and subtractions, I beleive I would have retained languages. All children can benefit from this whether their parents agree or not, why hold a child back from what could be a promising future

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    Language learning at an early age only works if a) the teacher really speaks the target language fluently and b) the language training continues for years.
    Children learn fast, children forget fast.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    Learning a foreign language, like learning to play a musical intrument, is excellent brain training and will help to improve general intelligence as well as being a life skill. So - a good idea.
    However, should not schools start by teaching children how to read and write English including the correct structure of sentences and use of punctuation? Sadly, many teachers lack this basic knowledge.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    About time! I've been saying for years that primary kids should be taught a second lanuage as there little brains are like sponges at that age. Nearly every other country speaks more than one lanuage fluently and us U.K citizens should follow suit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    The fact of the matter is that kids aren't interested in learning a second language, the reason most Europeans learn English is because it opens up more opportunities for them. English is a useful skill to have in this modern world. Learning French or German isn't as useful as it is limited to specific countries. For future generations Chinese is possibly useful.


Comments 5 of 6


More Scotland stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.