Publication - Research and analysis

1+2 language learning survey: report

Published: 23 Mar 2020
Learning Directorate
Part of:
Children and families, Education

Findings from the 2019 survey of local authorities regarding progress with implementation of the 1+2 approach to language learning in Scottish schools.

1+2 language learning survey: report
12. Conclusions

12. Conclusions

This year's survey confirm trends from previous surveys. There is a definite progress towards implementation of the policy as the norm. The results are very positive, in particular when compared to statistics on language learning prior to the introduction of the policy.

Successes of note include that 88% of all primary schools offer the full L2 entitlement, which means that the majority of children will now start their language learning in P1. This is complemented by another positive result showing that over 80% of this teaching is delivered by primary school teachers themselves, blending language learning with the overall learning and class routines.

These results highlight that, despite the on-going challenge of providing training/upskilling programmes, teachers have shown large-scale commitment to the successful delivery of the policy. Many local authorities commented that they work in partnership with the Open University, Scotland's National Centre for Languages and the Confucius Institute for Scotland's Schools, and also with cultural institutes, British Council Scotland, and Education Scotland to provide training.

Partnership working is also reported as a key component to successfully implementing the policy, including collaboration across local authorities, Scottish and also European Universities. Local authorities reported that this success is supported by the maintenance of 1+2 funding to local authorities, as well as Erasmus+ immersion courses and language assistants.

There is still, of course, some work to be done, and the survey shows that some of the challenges and barriers to full implementation can be complex. For example, competing priorities is cited as a barrier in primary settings, and timetabling and staff availability cited in the secondary sector. The survey also highlights the on-going requirement to support teacher professional development, and the need to continue to change mind-sets towards language learning. Taken together, these results indicate a need for all partners to continue to focus their support on the policy aims of the 1+2 languages approach.

It may be worth noting that, at this point, we cannot draw a causal link between the implementation of the 1+2 policy and the uptake of modern languages qualifications in the senior phase, as young people benefitting from the full entitlement from P1 might not have reached senior phase stages as yet. It has been reported, though, that secondary modern languages departments see increased knowledge and ability in their S1 cohorts. Additionally, the trend in popularity of Spanish as L3 echoes the trend that can be seen in the senior phase qualifications.

We plan to gather data through two more surveys by May 2021 before the end date of implementation. In particular, in order to provide an even fuller picture, we will seek to collect data on partial entitlement as well as full entitlement and number of pupils as well as number of schools.

Scottish Government

March 2020