Holyrood launches drive to promote Scots language

A DRIVE to promote the Scots language has been launched by the Scottish Government “tae encourage ye aw te recognise the valuable heritage we hae in the Scots leid”.

Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages Alasdair Allan launched the policy document today. Picture: Greg Macvean
Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages Alasdair Allan launched the policy document today. Picture: Greg Macvean

A series of steps to raise the language’s profile has been announced, including the quango Education Scotland adopting trilingual corporate signage so that messages are written in English, Gaelic and Scots.

A national Scots Language Policy sets out a range of actions, which will be taken forward by Education Scotland’s Scots language co-ordinators.

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According to a policy document launched by languages minister Alasdair Allan at Education Scotland’s “Scots in Schools” conference in Stirling, the co-ordinators will provide templates and suggestions for the quango’s staff who wish to sign off emails in Scots or include appropriate Scots greetings.

They will develop resources to enable teachers to “confidently and creatively engage” with Scots, working with such partners as Historic Environment Scotland, the National Library of Scotland and Glasgow University.

Education Scotland will inform parents about the place of Scots in the Curriculum for Excellence through its e-bulletins and face-to-face presentations.

The quango has also said it will develop a Scots language ambassadors scheme, which sees well known people such as the author James Robertson and the children’s group Singing Kettle sign up to become champions of Scots.

The ambassadors scheme is to be linked to a new Scots scriever residency at the National Library of Scotland, which has been filled by the poet and playwright Hamish MacDonald.

Currently, the Scottish Government spends a total of £270,000 on funding Scottish language dictionaries (SLD) and the Scots Language Centre (SLC).

The government said the latest Scots language push would not require extra cash.

But the plans were criticised by the Scottish Tory MSP Alex Johnstone said: “This a predictable stunt from a Scottish Government more interested in pandering to patriots than improving education.

“When it could be trying to push Scotland’s schools up global league tables, or closing the attainment gap, it’s actually trying to stir up the constitution in any way it can.

“It’s been well proven that our school children would benefit far more from learning international languages which could open all kinds of doors for them.

“That should be the focus of Scottish Government resources, not this.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “There was no increase in funding for these plans.

“The Scottish Government takes the preservation and promotion of all three of Scotland’s historical indigenous languages seriously and this new policy underpins the Scottish Government’s commitment to Scots.”