In a few years time, pupils could be learning two or more languages at primary school.
National funding of £300k will be used by Falkirk Council to push on with plans to increase language learning in schools. Some of the money will be used to train primary school teachers to teach more languages so that all pupils are learning additional languages by 2020.
At today’s Education Executive, members discussed and approved the draft proposal of the 1+2 Languages Strategy for submission to the Scottish Government. This will see extra languages available to pupils in the Falkirk Council area on top of other languages, including Mandarin and German, already on offer in some schools.
As part of the language proposals, all pupils will have access to a second language in Primary One. The second languages available in Falkirk Council’s schools will be either Spanish or French.
Schools can decide the third languages they will offer and they will be provided no later than Primary Five.
The languages on offer at primary schools must also be available to pupils at their cluster secondary school. It is hoped that teaching languages at an earlier age could increase uptake in the subject during senior years.
Councillor Alan Nimmo, spokesperson for Education, said: “In today’s world, where business and travel are worldwide, it is important our children can learn about other languages and cultures.
“Considering that more than 75% of the world’s population does not speak English, additional languages are an invaluable skill in a global society.
“Learning languages has the potential to open doors to different possibilities and experiences the world over for children in the area.”
Over the next five years, teachers will be given fast-track, taster and refresher sessions based on their experience in teaching languages. Programmes to teach Spanish and French as a second language will also be piloted and evaluated.