Languages Strategic Implementation Group minutes: January 2020

Minutes from the 21st meeting of the group, held on 21 January 2020.

Attendees and apologies

  • Laurence Findlay (LF) (Chair), ADES
  • Louise Glen (LG) (Chair), Education Scotland
  • Helene Cornu  (HC) (Secretariat), Scottish Government
  • Ross Cumming (RC) (Secretariat), Scottish Government
  • Barbara Morton (BM), Scottish Government
  • Bethan Owen (BO), LANGS
  • Fhiona Mackay (FM), SCILT
  • Graham Hutton (GH), School Leaders Scotland
  • Inge Birnie (IB), SCDE Modern Languages Group
  • Jim McDonald (JM), SQA
  • Sarah Stevenson (SS), GTCS
  • Sonia Kordiak (SK), EIS
  • Sylvia Georgin (SG), LANGS

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

LF acted as lead Chair on this occasion and welcomed everyone to the meeting.

Apologies were received from Eddie Follan, Francisco Valdera-Gil, Joe Carson, Louise Whyte, Robert Quinn, and Suzanne Marshall.

Approval of minutes from previous meeting

The minutes of the 20th meeting of the Languages Strategic Implementation Group, held on 12 September 2019, were approved as accurate.

Matters arising from minutes and actions outstanding

  • due to the outstanding nature of the agenda item on university and school engagement on languages, the group agreed that Joe Carson be asked to produce a written report
  • BO gave an update on research into successful language learning


  • JC to produce written report on university and school engagement on languages



RC gave an update on the current status of the UK’s membership of the Erasmus+ programme post-EU Exit, and sought the group’s views on the possible impacts on 1+2 implementation if membership was discontinued from 2021.

The group agreed that a communication should go to schools to raise awareness that Erasmus+ funding may no longer be available after 2020.

Languages Week Scotland

BO advised members that a launch event for Languages Week 2020 (3-7 Feb) would take place at the Parliament. Deputy First Minister would be speaking, and pupils from Neilston Primary School, Royal High Primary School, Portobello High School, and St Roch’s Secondary School would be involved.

Northern Alliance survey

SG reported on a survey the Northern Alliance RIC had carried out, investigating CLPL in local authorities to identify best practice. The survey was aimed at teachers and asked different questions from the annual local authority survey

Member updates


  • a new president and professional staff are now in place, with an officer working on RICs

Education Scotland

  • working with the West Partnership RIC on collaborate learning framework
  • attended National Qualification Support Teams for Modern languages and Latin
  • ES represented on BSL expert advisory group. looking at National Qualification development
  • successfully launched a Scots teaching course


  • SK advised that EIS are working with Moray House and others to develop materials on basic awareness in BSL for teachers, as this had been requested by members at the 2019 AGM


  • SS advised that GTCS were meeting with the Deputy First Minister on 27 February to discuss Gaelic teaching


  • IB advised that work was still on-going on the Initial Teacher Education framework


  • FM reported that SCILT was working with West Lothian RIC and Save the Children on professional learning and parental engagement
  • SCILT will be hosting a knowledge exchange event at The Ramshorn on 25 February
  • a Mandarin course in partnership with e-Sgoil partnership is now running. National 4 and 5 courses will be available, to be piloted through the Northern Alliance and SEIC
  • writing an L3 Arabic course for e-Sgoil, focused on literacy, storytelling and citizenship, as well as an S6 enrichment course with a workplace focus. Also working with the Scottish Refugee Council to upskill new teaching assistants


  • JM reported that the Understanding Advanced Higher event had been successful, with 120 delegates attending; the materials are now on the SQA website. Internal discussions were also taking place on a business case for further developing the Modern Languages for Life and Work awards


  • Secretariat to consider communication to schools regarding Erasmus+ funding

Survey 2019

HC presented a draft of the final report on the findings of the 2019 local authority survey, following up on the discussion of the preliminary results at the September meeting. Feedback would be sought from SIG members before it was published.

The main points the group considered were:

  • testing of the 2020 survey: BM explained that Scottish Government did not want to make too many changes to survey questions, as it would mean it would not be comparable with data from previous years
  • distribution of the 2020 survey: It was clarified that the survey was sent to local authorities for distribution, as they did not want it being sent directly to schools
  • 2021 survey: the aim was to issue this in January 2021, to ensure the preliminary results are available ahead of the Scottish Parliament election in May

SIG annual report

HC presented a ‘key actions progress sheet’ to the group as a refreshed approach to collecting members contributions for the SIG annual report, in particular to tease out outcomes and how this was supporting 1+2 implementation as the last year of the current commitment to the policy commenced.

The main points the group considered were:

  • whether a shared space solution could be set up for members to provide updates. BM explained that SG IT security policies would make this difficult
  • whether figures on language assistants could be included as part of the next annual report
  • that, in order to save time during meetings, members general updates could be provided to the secretariat in advance to be collated into a meeting paper
  • Chairs agreed to request a thematic review of the 1+2 policy


  • Chairs to request a thematic review of the 1+2 languages policy

Any other business

LG advised members that the deadline to submit nominations for the 2020 Scottish Education Awards was 14 February, and that there was a specific Internationalism and Languages Award.

LG also advised for information that she was working with the Goethe-Institut to organise a teacher training day on 1 February.

Date and location of next meeting

Members were reminded that the next SIG meeting would take place on 20 May at the Aberdeenshire Council headquarters in Aberdeen.

Summary of actions


  • Secretariat to consider communication to schools regarding Erasmus+ funding. Responsible: Secretariat. Due date: May 2020
  • Chairs to request a thematic review of the 1+2 languages policy. Responsible: Chairs. Due date: May 2020


  • UCMLS to look into what engagement and outreach there is currently between schools, local authorities and universities and to share this at future SIG meeting. Responsible: Joe Carson. Due date: May 2020. Progress status: Members agreed that JC should produce a written report


  • Secretariat to investigate how to improve on the current Record of Actions. Responsible: Secretariat. Progress status: Secretariat has developed revised progress sheet for members to record key actions
  • all to update the Record of Actions in advance of the next SIG meeting. Responsible: All. Progress status: Members provided updates for 2019 annual report
  • Edinburgh City Council and Moray House to share their research into learning and teaching in the classroom with SIG. Responsible: Bethan Owen. Progress status: Updates provided at Sep 2019 and Jan 2020 meetings. Preliminary findings presented at Scottish Learning Festival. Full findings expected to be published by end of academic year
  • Bethan Owen to provide information to the Scottish Government about the tasks involved in co-ordinating Scotland Loves Languages. Responsible: Bethan Owen. Progress status: LANGS working with Scottish Government and Education Scotland to deliver Languages Week 2020
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