Languages in Curriculum for Excellence

​​There are two parts to learning in languages. The first is about the language your child needs to be fully involved in their society and in learning (English, Gàidhlig). The second is learning additional languages.

Your child will develop a secure understanding of how language works, and will use language to communicate ideas and information in English and other languages. They will develop their ability to communicate their thoughts and feelings and respond to those of others.

What will my child learn?

Each area of the curriculum is broken down into experiences and outcomes. These are clear and concise statements about children's learning and progression from pre-school to S3.

You can download experiences and outcomes for:

  • literacy and English
  • literacy and Gàidhlig
  • modern languages
  • Gaelic (learners)
  • Scots language
  • classical languages.

Language Learning - a 1+2 Approach

Your child will experience learning another language from primary 1 to the end of the broad general education in secondary school. This language is referred to as Language 2 (L2). Language 1 (L1) is the language you speak at home. The L2 will be one from the list of languages available at National Qualification level in secondary school, and will be decided by the primary and its associated secondary school staff. The languages available are: French, German, Spanish, Italian, Gaelic (for learners), Urdu, Mandarin or Cantonese. The choice of language offered depends on both the primary and the secondary schools’ capacity to deliver these languages. This L2 in primary school will most likely be taught by your child’s class teacher.

From primary 5 onwards (or from an earlier stage in some schools), your child will learn a second additional language (L3), as well as continuing to learn their L2. Your child will continue with their L2 studies into secondary school, and will also have the opportunity to learn another L3 within their broad general education. This may lead to your child taking National Qualifications in languages in their senior phase.

For more information about the 1+2 approach to modern languages you can visit Education Scotland’s section for teachers on Language Learning - a 1+2 Approach. Parents may find some of this informative and relevant. Here you will find information on language learning in primary schools and video clips of language learning in action.

Learning other languages means your child can make connections with different people and their cultures. They will increase their enjoyment and understanding of their own and other cultures. Their ability to use different languages will allow them to understand and communicate socially and in the world of work.

Scots language

​The European Commission for Minority Languages, the UK Government and the Scottish Government all recognise Scots as a minority language that needs to be supported – but what does this mean for your child at school?

Just like English and Gaelic, Scots is one of the three ‘home’ languages of Scotland. While all three languages receive the same respect, English is the main language that is taught in most Scottish schools, with Gaelic the main language in Gaelic Medium Education.

Scots is a language that is often celebrated at certain times of the year, such as St Andrew’s Day, Hogmanay or perhaps at a Burns Supper in January. It isn’t just kept for special occasions though, as Scots is also spoken and understood by many people on an everyday basis. A great way for children and young people to explore aspects of Scottish culture, Scots can be used along with English and Gaelic as an engaging approach to develop literacy skills throughout the year. If you would like to explore Scots with your child, the National Library of Scotland have a fun introduction to the language on their Oor Wullie website.

The Scottish Government and Education Scotland launched a joint national Scots Language Policy in September 2015. It sets out how both organisations intend to support and encourage the use of Scots. The policy also includes an Action Plan for Education Scotland which has practical steps aimed at helping schools plan for Scots as part of Curriculum for Excellence.

Scottish studies awards and resources

The SQA website has information on the Scots Language Award. Scots can also form a part of the Scottish Studies Award.

Scottish Book Trust reading lists

The Scottish Book Trust has some age-appropriate suggestions for Scots books in their book lists:

How can I support my child's learning?

Parentzone's Supporting literacy at home section has simple suggestions on how you can help develop your child's literacy skills at home.
There are many interesting suggestions on the SCILT (Scotland’s National Centre for Languages) website, including a parental leaflet on the 1+2 policy, Leading on Languages.