Publication - Research and analysis

1+2 language learning survey: report

Published: 23 Mar 2020
Directorate:
Learning Directorate
Part of:
Children and families, Education, Research
ISBN:
9781839606267

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

19 page PDF

237.0 kB

19 page PDF

237.0 kB

Contents
1+2 language learning survey: report
7. Barriers and Challenges

19 page PDF

237.0 kB

7. Barriers and Challenges

The following sections show barriers and challenges reported by schools not providing the full entitlement. Results have to be interpreted with caution as the number of schools can be small.

7.1. Reasons for not providing the full L2 entitlement

Primary schools

224 (12%) primary schools were not providing the full L2 entitlement. The reasons for this were reported as:

Reasons Percentage of primary schools not providing the full L2 entitlement Percentage of all primary schools
Competing priorities 53% 7%
Teacher confidence 50% 6%
Teacher movement 24% 3%
Teacher skills 33% 4%
Teachers not sufficiently trained 41% 5%
Other 11% 1%

Note: Schools could have provided more than one reason for not providing the full L2 entitlement.

In terms of competing priorities, some local authorities reported that there is pressure to focus on other curricular areas, resulting in schools not prioritising language learning. Schools reported that where staff are not sufficiently trained, there may be gaps in provision of the L2 within schools, with some classes/stages missing language entitlement if the class teacher is not trained in the requisite L2.

Secondary schools

100 (30%) secondary schools were not providing the full L2 entitlement. The reasons for this were reported as:

Reasons Percentage of secondary schools not providing the full L2 entitlement Percentage of all secondary schools
Competing priorities 18% 5%
Staff availability 27% 8%
Timetabling 37% 11%
Other 39% 12%

Note: Schools could have provided more than one reason for not providing the full L2 entitlement.

In these schools, these were the alternative models used for languages provision in the BGE:

Model type Percentage of secondary schools not providing the full L2 entitlement Percentage of all secondary schools
S1 only 6% 2%
S1 to S2 only 32% 10%
Choice before S2 8% 2%
Choice before S3 51% 15%
Other 27% 8%

Note: Some schools will use more than one model type.

Schools not currently providing full entitlement to an L2 language learning experience (that is, to the end of S3) cite a variety of reasons for not adhering to policy guidelines, many of which are predicated on 'traditional' curriculum models, where language learning is still a choice after S2, thus leading to a mismatch between school policy and the entitlements and vision of the 1+2 policy.

There are still instances of some schools providing language learning in rotation, with, for example, a different language per term in S1 where learners are allowed to choose their preferred language to take into S2.

7.2. Reasons for not providing the full L3 entitlement

Primary schools

918 (52%) primary schools were not providing the full L3 entitlement. The reasons given are:

Reasons Percentage of primary schools not providing the full L3 entitlement Percentage of all primary schools
Competing priorities 45% 23%
Teacher confidence 26% 14%
Teacher movement 12% 6%
Teacher skills 19% 10%
Teachers not sufficiently trained 38% 20%
Other 16% 8%

Note: Some schools may have more than one reason to not provide the full L3 entitlement.

In schools where the L3 experience is not provided, many reported that this is due to prioritising delivery of L2. Additionally, key national messages from Education Scotland and other partner agencies on implementation of the policy have, since 2013, stressed the need for schools to focus on L2 in the first instance. Some local authorities point out that they need to decide on the L3 within the cluster and that supplementary training/upskilling for staff in the L3 would be required, in order to deliver this within the parameters of the policy.

Secondary schools

55 (17%) secondary schools were not providing the full L3 entitlement. Reasons for this are detailed as follows:

Reasons Percentage of secondary schools not providing the full L3 entitlement Percentage of all secondary schools
Competing priorities 36% 6%
Staff availability 80% 13%
Timetabling 85% 14%
Other 25% 4%

Note: Some schools may have more than one reason to not provide the full L3 entitlement.

Of the reasons given for not providing the full entitlement to L3 as yet, schools reported that they are prioritising the implementation of L2 across the cluster before looking at L3 models; other schools cite that at this stage staff shortages, and the provision of personalisation and choice as a barrier to provision of L3 at this stage.

7.3. Challenges to policy implementation and next steps

In terms of challenges to implementation of policy, these remain similar to previous years. In schools not providing the full entitlement to L2 or L3, teachers reported that the 'overcrowded curriculum' and 'competing priorities' (in terms of the focus in schools on literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing), together with their other CLPL commitments, mean that it is difficult to ensure that language training/upskilling is a priority. There are issues around teacher confidence in delivering languages, despite some teachers having participated in language training, with some local authorities reporting that the essential 'change of mind-set' toward language teaching, that L2 is part of class daily routines, has not been fully grasped. Secondary schools reported that timetabling for an L2 and an L3 is challenging.

In both sectors, where the policy does not feature on the school improvement plan and therefore lacks focus, it is difficult to persuade senior leaders of the importance of supporting implementation. Ensuring that the 1+2 policy stays on the agenda in local authorities in the future is dependent on having a dedicated officer (or similar) in every local authority; where this is not the case, there is a danger of loss of momentum and a lack of parity of provision nationally.

To overcome challenges such as those outlined above, a number of local authorities state that they will build on the work done since funding was allocated to them to continue to provide support, using a blend of online, distance learning and centre-based training and upskilling for teachers. Others intend to continue with subscriptions to online language resources. Additionally, there are instances of local authorities within RICs working together to provide training, and it is expected that this type of collaboration will continue beyond 2021.


Contact

Email: ceu@gov.scot