Hundreds of thousands of pounds of Scottish Government funds have been pumped into Dundee to give every child the opportunity to learn two foreign languages in primary school.
Currently core languages such as French, German and Spanish are being introduced to the primary school curriculum, but there is scope for children to be speaking Gaelic, Russian and Mandarin in the near future.
Dundee City Council has received 131,170 to finance the 1+2 Approach for the 2014-15 school session in addition to the 103,973 it received in 2013-14.
Last year Hillside Primary School piloted the programme in which they started learning a foreign language as early as P1 before picking up another by P5, and now 16 more primaries are taking on the new language learning.
Dundee’s education convener Stewart Hunter said that, although Dundee has only resources for standard foreign languages, there is scope to develop the programme.
He said: “The big change is trying to get kids learning languages right from primary 1.
“The main issue is having the teachers to teach languages and looking to see what secondary schools can provide.
“There is no use starting kids learning languages they can’t continue into secondary.”
He said there are high numbers of children dropping out of languages as soon as they are not compulsory, but getting children enthusiastic about languages early on could be the key to reversing the trend.
He said: “Teachers have had to be a bit more adaptable, but they have really risen to the challenge.
“From what I have heard it has been a really smooth transition.”
Language learning has been incorporated into the core curriculum and Mr Hunter said this year’s pilot schools would be able to learn a lot from the experience of Hillside Primary.
He added: “Research has shown if you start teaching languages at an early age kids can pick it up, but if they don’t start until secondary it can be harder for them.”