Meeting the challenge of the 1+2 approach to language learning in the primary school

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


In 2011, the current Scottish government launched its ambitious 1 + 2 languages policy, with the aim of every pupil in Scotland having the opportunity to learn two languages in addition to their mother tongue language within the primary school. The view is that it is in Scotland's economic and cultural interests for its young people to be open to languages and other cultures so that they can play their full part as global citizens in today's multilingual world.

This study aims to investigate and analyse the perceived impact associated with the implementation of the "1+2 languages policy". It reports on a small-scale research team project involving 15 primary and secondary schools and an analysis of various relevant policy documents and academic papers. The author has used quantitative and qualitative methodology, conducting semi-structured interviews on site that were recorded to analyse recurring themes focusing on (i) what is working well with 1+2; and (ii) what needs to be addressed for successful implementation of 1+2.

Cultural awareness, mixed-methods pedagogy embedded in daily routine and parental involvement were acknowledged as noteworthy developments leading to broader pupils' and practitioners' enthusiasm for language learning. Concerns around teachers' language competence, further training and need for on-going support were repeatedly highlighted as top challenges to 1+2 implementation, raising issues for Initial Teacher Education staff working with future primary teachers, specifically how to support them to develop their language and pedagogical skills so that they become confident and competent to deliver this national policy.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2017
EventScottish Educational Research Association Annual Conference : Educational Futures in a Changing Landscape: Bridging Boundaries or "Mind the Gap"? - University of the West of Scotland, Ayr, United Kingdom
Duration: 22 Nov 201724 Nov 2017


ConferenceScottish Educational Research Association Annual Conference
Abbreviated titleSERA Conference 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • foreign language learning
  • cultural awareness
  • Initial Teacher Education
  • 1+2 languages policy
  • pedagogy
  • primary school


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