Language skills are key to creating a more successful Scotland. It is now more crucial than ever for the nation's prosperity and for our young people's future that they are attracted to learning modern languages and become global citizens, confident and competent linguists, well-equipped with the skills to compete in the 21st century marketplace.
Languages is one of eight curriculum areas within Scotland's curriculum. The 1+2 languages policy was developed following a 2011 manifesto commitment, restated in the 2016 manifesto, and set to run over the course of two Parliaments. It is based on the so-called "Barcelona" agreement that has been adopted by several European countries, and aims to create the conditions to provide all children and young people with an entitlement to learn two additional languages.
The first additional language (L2) will be taught from Primary 1 (P1), the second additional language (L3) from Primary 5 (P5) at the latest, both onwards to the end of the broad general education (BGE) in S3. In line with the 2012 recommendations from the Languages Working Group, there is no hierarchy of languages within the 1+2 languages policy. However, the L2 has to be a language available as a National Qualification and is therefore one of: French, Spanish, German, Italian, Gaelic (Learners), Urdu, Mandarin, or Cantonese. The L3 can be any language, including British Sign Language (BSL), community languages (sometimes offered as GCSE qualifications), and Latin (available as a National Qualification).
We expect schools and local authorities to give consideration to teaching both modern European Languages, as well as languages of the strong economies of the future and community languages within their approach to delivering the policy. It is for schools to offer a curriculum and a choice of subjects in the senior phase that best meets the needs of their learners, in consultation with young people and parents/carers.
In 2013-14, the Association of Directors of Education Scotland (ADES), the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), Education Scotland and the Scottish Government agreed that local authorities would provide information on language learning in their schools under the 1+2 languages policy.
Thanks to all 32 local authorities and schools who have provided their data, we are able to provide a national picture of the progress of implementation of the policy in Scottish schools during the 2018-19 school year.