“Unintended consequences?” Provision of MFLs – 27 May

The provision of Modern Foreign Languages in schools is a topic of considerable interest to students, parents and educational professionals most especially with the current Scottish government strategy on 2+1 language provision.

On Wed 27th May 15.00-16.00 Moray House School of Education will host a presentation by Dr Jim Scott entitled “Unintended Consequences? The Governance of Modern Foreign Language Learning in Scotland (1962-2014)”.


Statistics suggest the decline in modern foreign language (MFL) learning is accelerating.  Previous research has examined learning, teaching and motivation as possible causes of current and past declines.

This research provides new insights by investigating the nature and effectiveness of governance of MFLs from governmental to school levels over 50 years.

This study is novel is novel in setting the governance of a major educational development in context, It will consider the political, economic and educational factors which have advanced the learning and teaching of MFLs and look at the challenges- attitudinal, motivation and Anglophone society issues, as well as the consequences of political and education agency – which have impeded progress.

The findings suggest that while MFL governance has been well motivated it has suffered from key problems around vision, planning, co-ordination and practice. Evidence also suggest that many key and elite governance actors do not believe that learning MFLs is important.


Jim Scott is an educational lecturer, researcher and consultant, with particular interests in educational leadership and governance, Curriculum for Excellence and ICT. He is the former head of Perth High School and Graeme High School, Falkirk and former chair of several national educational committees.  He is a visiting lecturer at the University of Dundee, a course facilitator and lecturer at the Scottish Centre for Studies in School Administration and owner of ELLC Consulting.