Languages Strategic Implementation Group minutes: August 2017

Minutes of the 13th meeting of the language learning Strategic Implementation Group (SIG), which took place on 24 August 2017.

Attendees and apologies

  • Louise Glen, Education Scotland (ES); Co-Chair
  • Laurence Findlay, Association of Directors of Education (ADES) Heads of Service; Co-Chair
  • Jack Simpson, Head Teachers' representative
  • Graham Hutton, School Leaders Scotland (SLS)
  • Fhiona Mackay, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages (SCILT)
  • Do Coyle, Scottish Council of Deans of Education (SCDE)
  • Marion Spöring, Chair University of Modern Languages Scotland (UCMLS)
  • Bethan Owen, Chair of the Languages Network Group Scotland (LANGs)
  • Mayra Crow, Scottish Association for Language Teaching (SALT)
  • Ellen Doherty, General Teaching Council Scotland (GTCS)
  • Sue Langlands, SG, Languages Team
  • Toria Fraser, SG, Languages Team (Secretariat)
  • Susan Waugh, SG, Languages Team

Chair of Meeting, Laurence Findlay

Items and actions

1. Welcome and apologies

Laurence Findlay welcomed all members of the Group to the 13th Meeting of the SIG Education Group. He welcomed Bethan Owen to her first meeting and Mayra Crow who represented SALT at the meeting.

Apologies were received from Lauren Bruce of COSLA and Gillian Campbell-Thow of SALT; Adam Sutcliffe of Educational Institute Scotland (EIS) and Saddah Aziz, National Parent Teacher Forum. No representative was available from The Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland.

2. Approval of previous minutes

The May minutes were approved and are available on the SG website.

3. Matters arising from Minutes and Actions outstanding

Members were reminded by the Chair that there are two actions which will last for the life of the SIG Education which relate to the SIG engagement meetings and the need for members to produce written updates describing activity by priority area for inclusion in the Record of Action (RoA). Members will be reminded of these by the Secretariat. The action for the Secretariat to write a report on the first year of the Implementation Plan is due in December 2017. The register of actions which are completed or underway contains the following:

  • Secondary sector: SLS to meet SCILT and ES on 26 June to discuss the development of secondary models. This action is complete and the meeting heard a brief resume of the discussion and ongoing work to broaden language offer and encourage growth in uptake at secondary school, particularly the use of the Modern Language for Life and Work Award.
  • Parents: This action is complete as the Short Life Working Group on parental and family learning has now been created. SCILT will update on the work of this group via their update to RoA. Meeting expressed interest in hearing of this group’s progress and of the launch of the information leaflet as part of ‘in a nutshell’ series.
  • Engagement: The action by ES and SCILT to investigate use of Yammer and Glow as platforms for sharing messaging is an action which is important for the practitioner level but not for SIG. The group invites updates via the RoA into live chats such as the Yam-jam to be held in November on benchmarks which is to be filmed.
  • ADES to meet SLS Chair: This meeting took place recently with a view to seeking a 1+2 workshop for timetablers. This action is complete and the ADES representative will provide any updates on this via the RoA.
  • SIG Education link to wider Education governance: The Group heard from the SG secretariat that the framework of education governance is still in discussion. When the governance structure is agreed the secretariat will provide an update to the Group.
  • The invitation from UCMLS to invite SIG members to promote actions from their action plan as appropriate was heard by the meeting. The Languages Lost and Found Event being held as part of the Universities Being Human Festival are supported both by SCILT and by the LA who have provided free venues. Future updates will be provided via the RoA.

4. Regional secondary events

The meeting heard from ES about the programme of eight regional secondary events which recently took place. ES explained that several were attended by over 100 participants and those which were most successful and dynamic were attended by timetablers and senior managers and the participants showed a willingness to consider other models and to change. ES has posted a video on the National Improvement Hub website. SCILT had an action to update their CLPL programme for secondary which they have now completed.

5. Results of the LA survey

The meeting heard from ES about the results of the LA survey. All agreed that it provides a useful snapshot of the LA view of progress towards implementation as at February/March 2017. The meeting heard that these results cannot be compared with previous years as the survey differs from one year to another. The PowerPoint of the main findings from the LA survey was shared with all SIG members. The members wished their thanks to all LA language leads recorded, acknowledging the work involved in this task.

Action: For the LA survey 2018 SIG secretariat to consult with the Chair of LANGs.

6. Primary Initial Teacher Education (ITE)

The meeting heard from SCDE Languages Group that the two strands of work funded by LAs were almost complete. The ITE framework will be presented to key audiences. The meeting heard that the next step is to agree a plan for use of this ITE language framework which will support language learning in the ITE and in schools and create a portfolio approach to career long professional learning.

The meeting agreed that ITE and CLPL are complementary and connected. Every teacher’s journey begins in the School of Education, then a probationary period and continues with career long professional learning. All agreed that this policy represented a very ambitious language and pedagogic training requirement for all primary teachers. The meeting also acknowledged that the primary teacher needed to invest in interdisciplinary learning techniques in order to teach the whole of the curriculum in the primary classroom. Furthermore the meeting acknowledged the wider issues of teacher shortage and that there are some things which are beyond the gift of this group.

Action: SCDE Languages group to present at the next SIG meeting on range of actions regarding teacher training which are within the gift of SIG members.

Action: SIG to develop our agreed views regarding the need for a joined up approach to teacher education at both ITE and CLPL. These views can be shared with the Strategic Board for Teacher Education (SBTE) who in turn offer advice to DFM.

7. LANGs Group

The meeting heard from the Chair of LANGs of her vision for the national LANGs Group. She intends to revise the mission statement to show the clear link between its work, that of SIG and other parts of the system including universities.
LANGs has a unique role as a meeting place where LA language leads can work together to resolve issues and can develop solutions. LANGs can be a forum to show how teachers are delivering change in the classroom to showcase best practice and it can also provide a forum giving a stronger profile to schools nationally.

Action: LANGs Chair to update the next SIG on its evolving thinking regarding its mission statement, partnership working and showcasing good practice in delivery of 1+2.

8. L3 Guidance

ES explained to the meeting that there had been concerns expressed regarding L3 and that revised guidance was to be published to respond to these after some more consultation. SIG members welcomed this move.

The proposals currently being worked up will allow greater flexibility for a cluster to swap L3 and L2 in secondary and will also allow primary teachers to bring in external providers or language assistants for periods of teaching.

Action: ES to publish updated L3 guidance.

9. Any other business

a. Issues around future teachers were also discussed including:

  • The mismatch of supply and demand for probationers.
  • Teacher workforce planning issues regarding demand for different languages.
  • Variety of forms of language training being offered to teachers.
  • Curriculum classroom content: the need to find ways to connect one subject with another. This is the perennial problem for school teachers as time is limited. Members agreed that the best approach would be not to talk of decluttering but to see the work as a means of connecting so that teachers are encouraged to deliver aspects of the curriculum either simultaneously or by overlapping. This will support the interdisciplinary nature of education and discourage teachers from seeing the subjects as separate. Thus when teaching languages a teacher can also record that this was also global citizenship or literacy.

b. BSL

The meeting heard that the BSL national plan is to be published in October. Three actions will be relevant to learning languages in school and it is anticipated that a report will be required in 2021 and in 2023 to show progress.

Action: SIG Secretariat to provide an update on the BSL national plan and the relevant actions to the next meeting.

c. SQA

The meeting discussed the increasing diversity of the classroom and the range of languages being taught at L3. Members would like to begin a conversation with SQA acknowledging the need to plan ahead to account for the future mix of languages spoken in Scotland. This should take into account the range of languages at L3 which may lead to a demand for qualifications in these in secondary in the future.

Action: SIG secretariat to write to SQA to invite them to discuss with SIG future developments in provision of qualifications to account for diversity of languages spoken.

d. Regional Improvement Collaboratives

The meeting discussed the education reforms in particular the Regional Improvement Collaboratives which is likely to have an impact upon our policy.

Action: SG secretariat to bring back to the next meeting further information on the shape and role of RICs for discussion.

10. Date of next meeting

The next meeting is due to be held in the afternoon of 26 October 2017 in St Roch’s secondary school in Glasgow.

Strategic Implementation Group minutes - August 2017.pdf


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Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

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