Unit 3: Scots in education


The history of the Scots Language within Scottish education has, until relatively recently, been a rather sad story of ignorance, neglect, or downright hostility.

Historic socio-linguistic prejudices have meant that many thousands of youngsters have endured some deeply negative experiences whilst using their home language at school - for the simple reason that the language of their communities was deemed unsuitable for formal or academic purposes.

Recent educational initiatives, however, have sought to redress this in Scottish classrooms. Education Scotland [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] and the Scottish Qualifications Authority have made significant progress in recent years, raising the profile and the status of Scots. In this unit you will look at the history of Scots within education in Scotland, up to the present day.

Important details to take notes on throughout this unit:

  • Early days of universal education in Scotland and the Education Act of 1872
  • Prejudice - the language of Burns (permissible on one day a year only)
  • The place of Scots language and Scottish Literature in recent and contemporary Scottish curricula
  • Contemporary developments within Education Scotland and the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

Activity 1

Before commencing your study of this unit, you may wish to jot down some thoughts on any of the four important details we suggest you take notes on throughout this unit.

You could write down what you already know about each/any of these four points, as well as any assumption or question you might have. You will revisit these initial thoughts again when you come to the end of the unit.

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3. Introductory handsel