We are testing a new beta website for gov.scot go to new site

language redirect

This content is not being updated. Get up-to-date information on the Scottish Government's language policies on https://beta.gov.scot .

Language Learning

Language Learning

Scottish Government's ambition is to expand and improve language learning, by 2021, so that our young people are equipped with the skills and competencies they need in our increasingly globalised world.

Curriculum for Excellence provides Scotland’s young people with a rich context for learning which language learning will be part of.  From 2021 every child is entitled to learn a first additional language from primary one and a second by primary five.  This entitlement continues until the end of S3.


It is in Scotland's best interest that young people are attracted to learning languages as it will help to equip them with communication skills, confidence and a better understanding of the international opportunities available to them.  It is estimated that £48bn or 3.5% of GDP is lost annually to the UK economy because of our language skills deficit

Do you want to know more?

Education Scotland offer advice and support to teachers, parents and other people with an interest in language learning.  In addition, Scotland's National Centre for Languages (SCILT) offer complementary support. 

A Languages Strategic Implementation Group was set up in 2013 to facilitate the implementation of the recommendations.

Since 2013, the Scottish Government have invested an additional £21.2m to assist Local Authorities with implementation of 1+2. Based on the Local Authority data, as at October 2015, we know that by the end of June 2016 two thirds of all Local Authorities (21 out of 32) were providing learning in a first additional language for primary one pupils.

Questions which are about the attitudes of people in Scotland towards language learning in schools were included in the 2015 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey (SSA).  The survey found that most people in Scotland (89%) think that learning a language, other than English, in school from the age of five is important.

The Scottish Government commissioned the Association of Directors of Education (ADES) to carry out research into the progress with implementation of 1+2.

Statement of Intent

The Education Statement of Intent between the Minister of National Education of the French Republic and the Scottish Government, signed on 3 October 2013. An interim report into the first two years of the agreement has been prepared.

Statement of Intent and Interim Report