Skip to main content

Language: English / GĂ idhlig


Chamber and committees

Question reference: S6W-16507

  • Asked by: Meghan Gallacher, MSP for Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
  • Date lodged: 5 April 2023
  • Current status: Answered by Jenny Gilruth on 2 May 2023


To ask the Scottish Government what steps it has taken to expand the learning of (a) BSL and (b) other modern languages in schools.


Since 2013 the teaching of modern languages in schools has expanded considerably. Language learning is now normal in schools beginning at P1 and continuing throughout the Broad General Education (BGE). Prior to the introduction of the 1+2 approach, learning modern languages did not normally commence until later into primary schooling.

We have supported this expansion by providing funding of over £50million to partners and local authorities since 2013. This funding has been used to help upskill the workforce by providing teachers with training in language learning and teaching. It has also been used to promote language learning to learners, families and communities.

Under the 1+2 approach at least two languages should be taught during the BGE. The first additional language must be one that can be taught to the level of a National Qualification; however, the second additional language can be any language, including BSL. The second additional language does not need to be taught continuously, which gives pupils the opportunity to learn about a variety of languages and cultures. In keeping with the flexibility of Curriculum for Excellence, it is up to schools and local authorities to determine which languages they wish to offer.

We are working with a range of organisations to make sure that BSL is promoted to schools and local authorities, and that resources are developed to support schools that wish to offer BSL as one of the languages they teach. Uptake of BSL has steadily increased in the primary sector in recent years, with 113 schools across 24 local authorities reported to be teaching it as of 2021.