Scottish Languages Bill: children's rights and wellbeing impact assessment

Children's rights and wellbeing impact assessment (CRWIA) for the Scottish Languages Bill. This is legislation which seeks to advance the status of, and provision for, the Gaelic and Scots languages.

1. Brief Summary

Name the relevant proposal and describe its overall aims.

The policy objective of the Scottish Languages Bill is to provide further support for Scotland’s historical indigenous languages, Gaelic and Scots. Its provisions take their lead from Scottish Government manifesto commitments and make statements about the status of Gaelic and Scots. Although the provisions of this Bill take their lead from Scottish Government commitments, the Bill also seeks to respond to the clearly expressed wish in the Gaelic and Scots communities for further support to be put in place for the languages. This has been demonstrated in formal consultation responses but also in regular engagement with Gaelic and Scots representatives and others with specific interest.

The measures within the Bill build on policy priorities that are currently in place for Gaelic and Scots. They aim to achieve more effective progress for the two languages across Scotland’s public life. These measures are as follows:

  • The Bill makes a statement on the status of Gaelic within Scotland. It will also include a duty on Scottish Ministers to prepare a Gaelic language strategy. This will be accompanied by a power to prepare standards for public authority activity, including Gaelic education. As at present, there will be a requirement on Scottish public authorities to produce Gaelic language plans. In future these plans will take their lead from the strategy and standards rather than the National Gaelic Language Plan currently produced by Bòrd na Gàidhlig. The Bill will introduce the possibility of areas of linguistic significance to be established to allow for proportionate delivery within different parts of Scotland. Bòrd na Gàidhlig will have a key role in these new provisions but with both an increased focus on delivery at a community level and reporting on compliance for the above.
  • The Bill contains a range of measures relating to Gaelic education. Namely, these place a duty on Scottish Ministers and education authorities to consider Gaelic education – both Gaelic Medium and Gaelic Learner – in their general educational provision. Educational authorities must produce delivery plans outlining how Gaelic education at all levels is to be supported within their areas. Provision is also made to ensure that Gaelic Medium Early Learning and Childcare (GMELC) is assessed for as part of education authorities general consideration of their ELC needs.
  • The Bill will include a duty on Scottish Ministers to prepare a language strategy for Scots as well as a power for Scottish Ministers to make regulations in relation to Scots in education. This is the first time that Scots has featured in legislation and the Bill provisions will include a statement about the status of the Scots language. This is a long-standing wish of the Scots speaking community. Statements on the status of Scots have frequently been made in non-legal documents and in ministerial statements but not in legislation. Scots has been recognised in the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages and in proceedings of the British Irish Council.
  • In addition to this, the Bill will include other important provisions to promote the use and recognition of Scots in public and community life.

The provisions of this Bill will demonstrate continuity with the measures that are already in place. The aim is to make the new package of measures more effective for the progress that is needed for Gaelic and Scots. Where the Bill makes statements on official status for Gaelic, it is building on current statements regarding status in the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005.

In the preparation of their Gaelic language plans, Scottish public authorities will now be required to have regard to the Gaelic language strategy and Gaelic language standards prepared by Scottish Ministers. These replace the guidance currently produced by Bòrd na Gàidhlig. Bòrd na Gàidhlig will report to the Scottish Parliament and to the Scottish Ministers on Gaelic language plan compliance and this will supplement the current Bòrd na Gàidhlig monitoring regime. Scottish Ministers will prepare a Scots strategy which will be supported by provisions for guidance and standards for Scots language education. These will replace the current Scottish Government Scots policy.

Start date of relevant proposal: The Scottish Languages Bill dates back to manifesto commitments upon which the current Scottish Government was elected in May 2021. Following a public consultation in the latter half of 2022, the drafting of the Bill’s provisions commenced at the beginning of 2023. Therefore it has been clear since 2021 that legislation would be required. It was also clear that a CRWIA would be needed to support this legislation and its consequent policies.

Start date of CRWIA process: As above, the CRWIA implications have been considered since May 2021 concurrent with the development of the legislation.



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