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First teacher training course to embed Scots language

The word 'Scots' in Scrabble letters

For the first time in the history of Scottish education, there is now a professional learning course (PLC) for teachers on how to include and embed Scots language and culture in their classrooms, delivered in partnership with the OU in Scotland and Education Scotland.

Over 120 teachers have already signed up to the Scots language teacher professional learning programme, demonstrating both the popularity and the need for such high-quality training materials. Funding for teachers who choose to study the course has been made available by the Scottish Government.

Developed and delivered by both partners, the online programme has been designed to suit any learning environment and helps teachers to understand not only the educational benefits of embedding Scots language and culture in the classroom, but also the equality, diversity and inclusion aspects which are increasingly relevant to modern Scottish education. 

The official launch of the course was formally marked by an event at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, hosted by the OU in Scotland and Education Scotland, which was attended by Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills of Scotland, Jenny Gilruth. 

The course has been developed with a needs-based approach in mind, incorporating direct input from education professionals and guidance from academics to ensure a high standard of excellence and teachers' learning preferences.  The OU in Scotland and Education Scotland have collaborated with national and local partners to make this an evidence-based professional learning development aimed at elevating teachers' professionalism and to ensure impactful, career-long learning in Scots language teaching across Scotland and benefiting all children and young people.

Dr Sylvia Warnecke, Senior Lecturer in Languages at the OU, who led on the development of the course, said: 

"Evidently, this new course is meeting a significant need, with 120 teachers signed up for the first presentation. These teachers join us from all over Scotland, spanning various subject areas, from early years, across the broad general education, and into the senior phase. It's heartening to see many colleagues working with pupils with additional support needs also on board, especially amid the growing realisation that embedding Scots into Scottish classrooms is an essential equality and inclusion initiative. Interest from colleges is encouraging, and we hope to welcome further teachers in the next course intake in September.

"We are incredibly proud and excited to bring this first-ever comprehensive professional learning programme in this area to teachers in Scotland. We are grateful for the Scottish Government funding that enabled all interested teachers to secure their place. We strongly believe that this course will inspire teachers and pupils alike to become leaders in this area of study."

Delivered fully online with a mix of peer learning and guided self-study, the course comprises material covering 60 study hours over a nine-month period. Prior to its launch, the course was piloted with Banff Academy in Aberdeenshire.

The Scottish Government is funding all places for teachers studying on the programme starting in January 2024. Future funded places will be confirmed before the school summer holidays for the next presentation of the programme, starting in September 2024.

Prior to the launch of this new PLC for teachers, the OU in Scotland and Education Scotland  previously collaborated successfully in the production of a free public-facing course in Scots language and culture, which has had over 18,000 unique visitors from 129 different countries.

Read more about the course and its launch event.

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