Language learning in Scotland: a 1 + 2 approach

Report and recommendations from the Languages Working Group on Scotland's language education policy.


Certification and Languages

1. Within the senior phase, pupils will be moving towards National 4 and National 5, Higher and in some cases, Advanced Higher as well as a range of units and awards. However, the new context of 1 + 2 languages raises issues for the certification process. The implementation of a 1+2 policy has the potential to lead to improved fluency and many pupils studying at greater depth than before with potential implications on certification by SQA in the senior phase.

2. The range of languages in which SQA offers certification is substantial. However, it does not encompass all the languages which pupils could be learning within the framework of a 1+2 languages policy. For example SQA currently offers certification in certain community languages (e.g Urdu) but not in others (e.g Punjabi). In some other languages recent decline has meant that SQA is no longer offering certification. A positive development however, relates to "Modern Languages for Life and Work" where SQA is developing certification at SCQF levels 3 and 4 in a range of languages. Over the period of 1+2 implementation, SQA should keep under review the suite of languages offered at certificate level with a view to extending this, if required. This process should be undertaken in collaboration with Scottish Government, local authorities and any implementation group set up to take forward the recommendations of this Report.

Recommendation 18: The Working Group recommends that SQA keep under review the suite of languages offered at certificate level in light of 1+2 implementation.

Accessing further and higher education

3. The successful implementation of a 1+2 languages strategy will mean that there may be a substantial increase in school students looking to develop further their languages beyond the school through further and higher education. Research has indicated that in further education there has been a very substantial decrease in the number of languages taught in recent years. This Report does not specifically cover the area of further education. However, the Working Group believes that there should be engagement with the FE sector to look to the implications of this Report for the work of the sector and to look to restore experience of language learning for students.

4. The successful implementation of a 1+2 model developed throughout the school system may lead to significant implications for students accessing higher education. As part of the implementation of the Report, the Working Group recommends that the Government and other bodies involved in the roll out of a 1 + 2 policy, should engage with HE and invite the sector to scrutinise the implications of the report for that sector and for students. For example, universities should look to expand the suite of languages offered to take account of a future increase in the number of languages taught in schools and the anticipated increase, through time, of pupils studying to Higher level and beyond. While there are implications of a roll-out of a 1+2 policy across the school system for language provision in universities, there may be implications for university entrance requirements.

Recommendation 19: The Working Group recommends that there be further engagement with the FE and HE sectors with a view to the development of the experience of language learning for students.


Email: Pam Semple

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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