Scots in education – workshop summary

For this workshop, led by Bruce Eunson (Education Scotland), we were joined by teachers and head teachers from across Scotland, from Dumfries, through Glasgow and Dundee, to Aberdeenshire and Orkney.

The teachers talked about their personal experience and how Scots was looked down upon and often actively suppressed when they were at school themselves,  

They stressed that there is a growing number of great resources for engaging with Scots, and that using Scots in the classroom is welcomed by the pupils who love exploring the richness of the language. Answering the question whether the use of Scots was confusing for the children the teachers agreed that it was not. The introducing Scots in the classroom challenges the pupils who are already good at English, while giving an opportunity to engage for students with lesser attainment. So it’s a win-win for all! 

The participants reflected on the lack of a streamlined approach – some activity around Scots looks more like box-ticking rather than a meaningful implementation of policy. The efforts rely strongly on the enthusiasm of individual teachers and head teachers, which is a weakness in the system. It was suggested that the HM Inspectors of Education could play a role here. Another point stemming from the workshop was the need for teacher training resources, opportunities, and qualifications.  

A general thought from the workshop: bringing Scots into the classroom is a matter of linguistic and social equity, and should not be done in a piecemeal fashion.