Education Scotland is evidencing many successes for Gaelic (Learners) from the implementation of the policy, Language Learning in Scotland: a 1+2 Approach. Teachers’ commitment to delivering Gaelic within the curriculum is acknowledged. A presentation on the successes and challenges for Gaelic from implementing the policy is available here. One such challenge is that there are many children learning Gaelic as L3 in primary schools for whom a progression pathway into secondary is still to be identified. However, a newly-announced change to how L3 may be delivered may assist with this. In Scotland, we also have an important target to meet in increasing the number of speakers of Gaelic as part of the National Gaelic Language Plan. For this, education has a key role.
Currently, at the primary stages, children who experience a coherent and progressive experience of L3 from P5-P7 may choose to continue with that language into S1 and to the end of the broad general education (BGE). For purposes of planning the secondary curriculum, this language would become young people’s L2. For this to be the case, children need to have achieved the second level by the end of P7. In addition, there should be pathways to National Qualifications in the senior phase for that language. The 1+2 policy has recently been relaxed to state that L3 may be the language that children continue with, as they move from primary to secondary, if schools are able to demonstrate that children’s achievements are “approaching the second level”. To achieve this, the planning for the L3 language needs to result in a coherent and progressive experience from P5-P7. This new arrangement does not replace the opportunity for schools to introduce more than one language as L3.
Here are some useful steps to guide how you may incorporate this new delivery model for L3 into planning for improvement:
- Revisit your curriculum rationale, particularly in light of the local context, to ascertain if increasing the numbers approaching the second level of Gaelic (Learners) is a priority for your school.
- Ensure strong links between primary and secondary specialists who are delivering Gaelic (Learners).
- Work with the other primaries in your cluster and the associated secondary school to plan a coherent 3-18 experience.
- Review the structure of the curriculum to see how you can plan learning, teaching and assessment to enable children’s achievements to be approaching the second level.
- Review how well you use the contexts of the curriculum as a means of increasing outcomes for Gaelic and assisting young people in making connections in their learning.
- Review how you are using Gaelic partners and organisations to increase the time allocated to Gaelic (Learners) in the curriculum.
- Plan for progression and coherence by using the experiences and outcomes to show how you will develop knowledge, skills, attributes and capabilities of the four capacities.
- Plan the use of Benchmarks for Gaelic (Learners) to set out clear statements about what learners need to know and be able to do to achieve a level across all curriculum areas.
- Plan how you will integrate Gaelic (Learners) as a language in the life and work of the school.
- Use the principles of curriculum design to plan learning to motivate children in their learning of Gaelic. In particular, ensure that children understand the relevance of Gaelic, including for achieving a positive destination on leaving school.
For more information on the delivery of L3 in the 3-18 curriculum, please see Language Learning in Scotland: A 1+2 Approach – Further guidance on L3 within the 1+2 policy. It is a matter for schools to determine the exact design of the curriculum, using the flexibility that Curriculum for Excellence affords them, to ensure that children’s achievements are “approaching a second level”.