Dr Alasdair Allan MSP believes the introduction of Scottish Studies into the curriculum will help children improve their literary skills.
He said: “Scottish Studies will provide children and young people with a great context within existing Curriculum for Excellence guidance to engage in a range of varied and rich learning experiences and will provide opportunities to build their literacy skills.
“Scotland’s national languages, Gaelic and Scots, have an important contribution to make to this; the experiences and outcomes for Literacy and Gaelic and for Literacy and English draw [on] a number of ways in how the languages can help learners improve their literacy skills.” In recent weeks, it has emerged that Scottish Studies may not result in an entirely new subject.
Instead, strands of it could be fi ltered through existing subjects, Allan said recently during a parliamentary debate.
Research from the University of Edinburgh has shown that pupils in Gaelic-medium education perform better, or are on an equal footing to their peers learning in English.
And last month Edinburgh City Council gave the go-ahead to set up a Gaelic school in the capital.
However, concerns remain that Scottish Studies is being shoehorned into an already crowded curriculum.
Claire Baker, Labour MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife, voiced concerns last month that history and modern languages were already pressurised. She questioned whether teachers could cope with a new subject. But she added: “Personally, I don’t see any problems with Scottish Studies so long as the SNP doesn’t interfere with the course and what’s in it.” During summer recess her colleague Ken Mackintosh said the introduction of Scottish Studies amounted to “indoctrination”.
Th e storm has been somewhat weathered since then, but Conservative education spokeswoman Liz Smith questioned the need for an extra subject. She argued that Curriculum for Excellence had already made Scottish themes more prominent.