Languages Strategic Implementation Group minutes: May 2017

Minutes of the 12th meeting of the language learning Strategic Implementation Group (SIG), which took place on 16 May 2017.

Attendees and apologies

  • Louise Glen (Co-Chair), Senior Education Officer, Education Scotland (ES)
  • Bruce Robertson (Co-Chair), Association of Directors of Education (ADES); Co-Chair
  • Jack Simpson, Head Teachers' representative
  • Laurence Findlay, ADES Heads of Service
  • Graham Hutton, School Leaders Scotland (SLS)
  • Saddah Aziz, National Parent Forum Scotland NPFS (and personal assistant Sohit Dykes)
  • 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)
  • Sue Langlands SG, Languages Team
  • Toria Fraser SG, Languages Team (Secretariat)

Chair of Meeting: Bruce Robertson

Items and actions

1. Welcome and apologies

Bruce Robertson welcomed all members of the Group to the 12th Meeting of the SIG Education Group. Bruce welcomed the addition of the Chair of LANGS to the SIG, a post currently held by Ann Robertson; Ann will soon be replaced by Bethan Owen, Development Officer for Languages at City of Edinburgh Council.

Apologies were received from Lauren Bruce of CoSLA, Ellen Doherty of General Teaching Council Scotland (GTCS) and Gillian Campbell-Thow of the Scottish Association of Language Teaching (SALT); Adam Sutcliffe of Educational Institute Scotland (EIS) and Ann Robertson, LANGS Group. No representative was available from The Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland.

2. Approval of previous minutes

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

3. Matters arising from Minutes and Actions outstanding

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

  • Funding: SG to seek an early decision on funding for 2017-18. SG informed Local authorities (LA) of funding distribution for 2017-18 in early March.
  • ITE: Formation of a Short Life Working Group on primary ITE which met on 4 May. Final content analysis of primary ITE – now submitted. More detail on these can be seen at point 4.
  • Secondary sector: SLS to meet SCILT and ES on 26 June to discuss the development of secondary models.
  • Parents: SCILT and NPFS to meet with a view to working together to create of an information leaflet as part of ‘in a nutshell’ series. SCILT has now set up a Short Life Working Group on parental engagement which now includes family learning.
  • Engagement: ES and SCILT to investigate use of Yammer and Glow as platforms for sharing messaging. SCILT Development Officer to support ES on this and SCILT to explore different ways of developing online learning. All members to prioritise communication and engagement with a focus on secondary audiences.
  • Accreditation of courses: SCILT and GTCS to meet to discuss possible ways of accreditation of National Training Programme. Meeting has been held to ensure those taking part will be GTCS accredited.
  • Second additional language (L3): development of case studies, agreement of the need for a diverse range of examples. This action is ongoing and members should support this work by sharing examples at SIG. A current range of case studies can be seen on the SCILT website.
  • Other areas: UCMLS to launch the action plan with clear complementarity to the SIG implementation plan. This plan was launched on 10 March.
  • SG secretariat to update Group about how the SIG Education will fit into likely future governance and reporting arrangements. The meeting heard that this has not been agreed as yet.

There are a further two live actions which will last for the life of the SIG Education:

  • SG Secretariat to invite Members to attend SIG engagement meetings.
  • In advance of each SIG, the Secretariat request that members submit concise written updates describing activity by priority area for inclusion in the Record of Action (RoA). The May RoA was circulated at the meeting. The members agreed with the suggestion that a report be prepared by the Secretariat on the first anniversary of the Implementation Plan to take stock of achievements and of any changing need.

Action: ADES representative to contact the new Chair of SLS David Barnett with a view to holding a joint SLS/ADES event in the autumn. Action: UCMLS to invite SIG members to promote actions from their action plan as appropriate. Action: Secretariat to write a report on the first year of the Implementation Plan in December 2017.

4. Primary Initial Teacher Education (ITE) Short Life Working Group

The meeting heard from the Short Life Working Group who met on the 4 May to discuss work on ITE related to languages and the role of primary ITE to ensure achievement of sustained implementation of 1+2 policy.

Two documents were circulated which are relevant to this discussion:

  • The final content analysis of primary ITE conducted by SCILT and SCDE Language Group in Spring 2017 and
  • The Interim report to SCDE of research (funded by Las) to support the student teacher, teacher and teacher educator. The research consists of two strands of work which are:
    • to develop a framework similar to the National Inclusion Framework (now incorporated into ITE design and accreditation)
    • and a toolkit which is a research database called LENS and which orders and collates relevant research especially work carried out in Anglophone countries.

The meeting was told that discussion had covered the following items:

  • How Schools of Education currently include language learning in ITE, including a range of practice from the most innovative to instances of very limited provision.
  • What the key factors currently are which have a bearing on Teacher Education Institutes’ provision and planning for both primary and secondary ITE.
  • How SIG can support positive developments alongside SCDE, in particular to support stronger provision. It was agreed the Secretariat maintain contact with SCDE with a view to agreeing how SIG could support the launch of the Lens toolkit and the framework.

The representative of ADES, Laurence Findlay thanked the representative of SCDE Language Group acknowledging the importance of this work which would hearten Directors and secondary colleagues. It was agreed that in the interim a letter be sent from Chairs of SIG to SCDE and to SCILT to thank them for these valuable pieces of work and encourage them to continue. Also the Group agreed that SIG would want to signal our support of this work and to support the launch of SCDE framework and toolkit.

The meeting also discussed the complementary nature and connectedness of ITE and CLPL. It was agreed to include this as a substantive item on the agenda at a future meeting because there is an ambitious language and pedagogic training requirement to support the teacher education continuum from ITE and induction through career-long professional learning (CLPL).

Action: SIG secretariat write to SCDE and to SCILT to thank them for this valuable piece of work and encourage them to continue pushing forward.

5. Local Authority survey 2017, key results.

A short report was circulated with the key results and the meeting heard that a substantive item will be tabled at the August meeting because it is an important source of insight into where our work needs to focus. The LA returns show that an encouraging picture is developing as regards L2 from P1 with some LA aiming to have Primary Language Learning in P1-P7 by end of 2017-18 as standard. There is also an emerging diversity with regard to L3. The report indicates that almost all LA commit to having Primary Language Learning as standard for P1-P7 by 2021, their current focus being the consolidation of L2 before turning their attention to L3 implementation. All LA have submitted their updates and the Secretariat wish to thank them, acknowledging the amount of work that this entailed.

6. Any other business

a. Entitlement the meeting discussed the difficulty of defining entitlement.
b. Education Scotland has amalgamated the State of the Nation report with the Quality and improvement in Scottish education
c. Esgoil. The meeting heard from Bruce Robertson that the first report looks very promising as a means of widening access to subjects in school.
d. ES and ADES secondary events for Deputy Heads and Principal Teachers with SCILT. The meeting heard that there were plans in place to ensure greater profile of these events by filming (to be available in due course on SCILT website). The members agreed that these events presented an opportunity for a valuable dialogue with the secondary sector. ADES and ES will use the events to remind secondary teachers of the unprecedented investment in this policy and that young people would soon be arriving into their classrooms with seven years of language learning. ADES and ES explained that work was underway to encourage greater take up at these events and invited SIG members to promote the events. Following these events SIG members agreed to meet to discuss lessons and that SCILT would revisit their CLPL menu.
e. The need for long term reinvigoration of language learning: The meeting agreed that the work of the Group was potentially about more than just this manifesto commitment which ends in 2021. It is about positioning language learning within the framework of education priorities for the long term. Discussion focused on how best to show that language learning supports closing the attainment gap.
f. Evaluation of impact of 1+2 language learning All agreed that the time is right to ensure that there is some third party evaluation of the impact of this language policy and that we should invite ES to carry out an Aspect Review.
g. Scottish Education Awards. The meeting heard from ES that the standard of primary applications was exceptional with all entries drawing the connection between the implementation of language learning in the primary classroom and the improvement of attainment.
h. New Co-Chair Laurence Findlay of ADES is to take over from Bruce Robertson as Co-Chair. A formal hand over took place at this meeting. The SIG members all thanked Bruce for his work to support an enhanced language offer in Scottish schools.

Action: SG secretariat to call a meeting of those SIG members following the regional secondary events with a view to discussing next steps. Action: SCILT to revisit their CLPL programme for secondary following the regional secondary events. Action: SIG to write to ES asking that there is an Aspect Review of 1+2 language policy.

7. Date of next meeting

The next meeting is due to be held in the morning of 24 August 2017 in Education Scotland’s office at Endeavour House, Dundee.

Strategic Implementation Group minutes - May 2017.pdf


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