£3m fund for language education confirmed

Written by Tom Freeman on 21 February 2018 in News

Scottish Government aims to have pupils learning a second and third language in primary school

Primary school - Barry Batchelor/PA

Funding to allow every primary one pupil in Scotland to start to learn a second language has been confirmed by skills minister Jamie Hepburn.

This year will see £3m of the Scottish Government's education budget allocated to languages to address a lack of language skills reported by business.

The aim is to have every child beginning to learn a second language in P1 and a third language by P5.

These could include Gaelic, British Sign Language, Mandarin or a European language.

“Learning languages in today’s global, multi-cultural world is becoming more crucial than ever," said Hepburn.

"Research shows that employers strongly favour candidates with language skills and we want to ensure young Scots are equipped with the skills they need in the global marketplace. That is why introducing school children to languages at a young age and helping them to foster a long-lasting love of languages is so crucially important.

“Our 1+2 language policy supports this ambition and I’m pleased to announce we are allocating a further £3 million to schools in the 2018-19 draft budget, bringing our total investment to £27.2 million since 2013.”

A lack of language skills was estimated to have cost the Scottish economy £0.5bn in 2011.

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