Languages Strategic Implementation Group minutes: January 2018

Minutes of the 15th meeting of the language learning Strategic Implementation Group (SIG), which took place on 18 January 2017.

Attendees and apologies

Chair of meeting

  • Laurence Findlay


  • Louise Glen, Education Scotland (ES); Co-Chair
  • Laurence Findlay, Association of Directors of Education (ADES) Heads of Service; Co-Chair
  • 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)
  • Ellen Doherty, General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS)
  • Fhiona MacKay, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages (SCILT)
  • Clare Carroll, National Parent Forum Scotland
  • Graham Hutton, School Leaders Scotland (SLS)
  • Jack Simpson, Head Teacher representative
  • John-Paul Cassidy, Education Scotland, (ES)
  • Barbara Morton, Scottish Government (SG) Curriculum Unit
  • Toria Fraser, SG Languages Team (Secretariat)
  • Susan Waugh, SG, Languages Team (Secretariat)

Items and actions

1. Welcome and apologies

Laurence Findlay welcomed all the members of the Group to the 15th meeting of the SIG Education Group, in particular, Clare Carroll representing NPFS, John-Paul Cassidy, who is a new HM Inspector and Barbara Morton for SG Curriculum Unit.

Apologies were received from Adam Sutcliffe of EIS; Saddah Aziz of NPFS, Eddie Follan, of COSLA, Gillian Campbell-Thow, SALT.

2. Approval of minutes from previous meeting

The minutes of the October 2017 meeting were approved and are available on the Scottish Government website.

3. Matters arising from minutes and actions outstanding

The register of actions which are completed or underway contains the following:

Completed actions

  • LANGS Chair to update the next SIG on its evolving thinking: the next LANGS meeting will focus of languages in closing the attainment gap
  • SIG Secretariat to provide an update on the BSL national plan

Actions underway

Regional Improvement Collaboratives (RICs) SG Secretariat to update the meeting with further information on the shape and role of RICs for discussion: SG secretariat tabled a paper for discussion. This was also discussed under the item on the Implementation Plan year 1 report. All agreed that this item should remain on the agenda as the situation is evolving as the RICs become established.

SG secretariat to keep SIG Education members updated on LA survey process and results: the meeting heard that a link to the online survey and accompanying word document have been sent to LA language contacts for completion by 16 March 2018. Containing broadly similar questions to 2017 to enable comparison, the survey was created in collaboration with SG Analysts and LANGS chair. It was agreed that the responses will provide a source of examples of good practice to be looked at and shared with the sector. The group were invited to submit suggestions for key words to assist in analysis of the qualitative information received The Secretariat will provide high level stats at the next meeting in May 2018.

Aspect review: the meeting heard that this will not take place in the short term, the Secretariat will keep the Group informed as we make progress with this.

ES to update SIG Education when the FAQs are published: the meeting heard that the FAQ document will shortly be published on the National Improvement Hub.

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: a meeting date is to be arranged, SG Secretariat will update SIG in due course.

At the last meeting it was agreed that SCDE Language Group would provide an update to this meeting around the promotion of the National Framework for Languages. The meeting heard of their engagement with the Teacher Education Institutes, universities, LA and others; the adoption of the Language Education Academic Portfolio (LEAP) and the digital toolkit called Language Education national Support (LENS) and creation of the website. The meeting heard that the National Framework is now being presented to each of the Schools of Education and there will be a conference in June.

Outstanding actions

ES regional secondary events: to publish an FAQ document. This has been published since the meeting on this webpage.

A timetablers event to be organised by SLS meeting with ES and ADES. This is an outstanding item.

SIG Education link to wider Education Governance: it was agreed that the SIG should have a clearer link with the wider Education Governance Review. The meeting heard that the SIG has been invite to submit a paper to the next meeting of the Strategic Board of Education (SBTE) on 21 February. SIG Chairs will provide an update at the next meeting (May 2018).

On-going action

Consider attendance at SIG engagement meetings. The group were reminded that they are welcome to join the SIG: Engagement Group. The next meeting will be on 18 Jan at the City of Glasgow College.

Action: SG secretariat to keep SIG Education members updated on LA survey process and results.

Action: SIG members invited to submit suggested keywords to assist analysis of survey results.

Action: SIG Chairs will provide an update on presentation to SBTE at the next meeting (May 2018) and next steps.

4. Discussion on first year report on Implementation Plan

The Group were invited to discuss the first year report looking in turn at each of the priority areas. It was agreed that the quarterly updates to the Record of Actions are very important in developing an informed report if strategic implementation plan. This will present DFM with a more robust, considered view of the policy.

Looking at each priority in turn:


There are opportunities to tie this into Year of Young People this year. Discussion followed about the value of having a Language Week in Scotland and learning from the experience of the Maths Week. The meeting also heard that SCILT is to look at reaching young people via social media channels; that GTCS is also looking at its external communications so as to identify the key players. The discussion also covered the issue of how to enthuse young people and how some actions might have the opposite effect.


All agree that Regional Improvement Collaboratives must be the focus for 2018 and that it is necessary to make our work impact oriented so that all can see the difference our work is making on parents and on young people.  


The meeting heard that Edinburgh timetablers did attend the regional secondary events and that there was an impact on the classrooms in Edinburgh as a result. However, some schools still stop languages at the end of S2.

Professional Development

The meeting discussion covered the issue of teacher confidence; how to establish the numbers who have now undertaken training at L2 and L3 and the need for refresher training also. The meeting also heard that there is a Strategic Board of Teacher Education sub group which is to look at the provision of CLPL at primary and secondary. The members welcomed the greater flexibility around residency requirements for teachers seeking dual registration whilst seeking assurance that this would not diminish quality, expertise and professionalism.

Several actions were agreed as part of this discussion.

Action: SIG Chairs to invite representative of Maths group to present on Maths Week Scotland at LANGs

Action: GTCS to report back to SIG Education with an update from the SBTE sub group on CLPL in primary and secondary.

5. Presentation – Professor Do Coyle: The importance of longitudinal research

The meeting heard from Professor Coyle of the importance of longitudinal research to measure the long term impact of 1+2 policy upon language learning in the classroom. Gathering of data from LA surveys and case studies of good practice will only ever provide part of the picture.

It was agreed that this research is timely given that the policy has now passed it and is now into the developmental stage, and that robust evidence is needed to provide evidence of impact due to the investment SG have made over the past 5 years. The group heard that this would be a collaborative project, bringing several areas and stakeholders together and would track success factors across different aspects of the policy. It was agreed that SIG Members want to participate in the identification and prioritisation of the key variables. All heard that the research would be very different were it to be measuring implementation of the policy, or workforce, or teacher confidence or learner experience.

Action: to have as a substantive item at the SIG Education meeting in May a discussion about the key variables which should be measured as part of longitudinal research into the impact of 1+2 language learning.

Action: Do Coyle to scope out a research proposal and present for discussion at the next SIG Education meeting in May 2018.

6. Any other business

The group heard that Education Scotland recognise the need to provide national advice which brings together all of the existing guidance documents which will provide more clarity on the expectations of the policy. Drafting is to begin in the coming months.

7. Date of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on 15 May 2018 at Clerwood House, Edinburgh at 10.00 am.


Email: Central Enquiries Unit

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

Back to top