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Parliamentary Questions

parliamentParliamentary questions can be asked in oral or written form by any MSP to the Scottish Government/Executive or the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body. Oral questions are answered at Question Time and First Minister’s Question Time. In exceptional circumstances emergency questions can be taken in the Chamber.

All answers to written parliamentary questions are available via the Parliament’s website search facility.

Sessions 1 & 2    Oral Questions Session 3    Written Questions Session 3

##Questions on Scots##

##S2W-27710 - Maureen Watt (North East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 4 August 2006):##

To ask the Scottish Executive how many civil servants are working on the development of policies to promote and develop the Scots language.

##Answered by Patricia Ferguson (28 August 2006):##

The principal responsibility for Scots language issues, as well as for co-ordinating the development of the wider National Language Strategy, rests with the Cultural Policy Division of the Scottish Executive's Education Department. Five civil servants are directly employed within the Division's Language Unit, whilst others have responsibility for literature and broadcasting. However, a wide range of other officials in the Scottish Executive and Scottish public bodies have duties relating to language issues.

##S2W-27708 - Maureen Watt (North East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 4 August 2006):##

To ask the Scottish Executive how it intends to take on board the views of organisations representing the regional dialects of Scots when it formulates policies designed to promote and develop the Scots language. Answered by Patricia Ferguson (28 August 2006): I refer the member to the answer to question S2W-27707 on 28 August 2006.

##S2W-27707 - Maureen Watt (North East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 4 August 2006):##

To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will take steps to set up a Scots language advisory group with responsibility for assisting it with the development of appropriate policies to support the Scots language.

##Answered by Patricia Ferguson (28 August 2006):##

The Scottish Executive's consultation on the National Language Strategy will provide the opportunity for organisations representing the regional forms of Scots to submit their views to the Scottish Executive. Following Scottish ministers' consideration of all of the views submitted on the strategy we expect to publish a final version of the National Language Strategy and take any other steps which we consider necessary. At this stage we have no plans to set up a Scots language advisory group.

##S2W-27706 - Maureen Watt (North East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 4 August 2006):##

To ask the Scottish Executive whether the discussions with Scots organisations, designed to promote and develop the Scots language, referred to in Scotland's Culture, have taken place.

##Answered by Patricia Ferguson (28 August 2006):##

I refer the member to the answer to question S2W-27704 on 28 August 2006.

##S2O-10053 - Cathy Peattie (Falkirk East) (Lab):##

To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will give an update on the development of the national languages strategy and its arrangements for consulting Scots language organisations on this matter.

##Answered by Patricia Ferguson (1 June 2006):##

A draft of the National Languages Strategy is in preparation within the Scottish Executive. I expect that we shall publish the strategy after the summer recess, enabling Scots language organisations amongst others to comment on our proposed approach.

##S2W-25524 - Maureen Watt (North East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 2 May 2006):##

To ask the Scottish Executive what support or encouragement it has given to VisitScotland or other tourist bodies to promote Doric or Lallan Scots language tourism.

##Answered by Patricia Ferguson (12 May 2006):##

The Scottish Executive considers Scots and its regional forms to be an important part of Scotland's distinctive linguistic and cultural heritage. VisitScotland is therefore encouraged to promote Scots language tourism where it is appropriate to do so. For example, VisitScotland supports the Doric Festival which takes place in and around Aberdeen every autumn, and EventScotland supports a number of events celebrating the work of Robert Burns. Celebrating the life and work of Burns will also be one of the themes of Year of Homecoming in 2009.

##S2W-16131 - Dr Elaine Murray (Dumfries) (Lab) (Date Lodged 21 April 2005):##

To ask the Scottish Executive how much funding it has committed for the protection and promotion of the Scots language in this year and the next two financial years.

##Answered by Patricia Ferguson (5 May 2005):##

The Scottish Executive has not earmarked a specific budget for Scots language development. It provides funding for Scots activities through the general resources which it makes available to cultural and educational bodies, local authorities and the enterprise network. There are a range of groups supporting and promoting Scots in Scotland including the Scots Language Society, the Scots Language Resource Centre, Scottish Language Dictionaries, Dictionary of the Scottish Tongue and the Association for Scottish Literary Studies. Expenditure by these bodies and groups on projects and programmes related to the Scots language is not centrally collated. The Executive has advocated the inclusion of Scots in the school curriculum where appropriate. There is continuing support on the part of the Scottish Executive, Learning and Teaching Scotland, and the Scottish Qualifications Authority which is designed to assist schools in making pupils aware of the richness and diversity of language, including Scots, in introducing them to a range of Scottish literature, and in encouraging them to develop the ability to understand and to communicate effectively in forms of Scots.

##S2W-15733 - Rob Gibson (Highlands and Islands) (SNP) (Date Lodged 1 April 2005):##

To ask the Scottish Executive what action it will take on the status of the Scots language in schools. The member has provided the following Scots translation: Tae speir at the Scottish Executive whit it will dae anent the status o the Scots leid at the schuil.

##Answered by Peter Peacock (28 April 2005):##

I refer the member to the answer to question S2W-15708 on 26 April 2005.

##S2W-15709 - Rob Gibson (Highlands and Islands) (SNP) (Date Lodged 1 April 2005):##

To ask the Scottish Executive how many schools use the "Itchy Coo" Scots language project.

##Answered by Peter Peacock (28 April 2005):## I refer the member to the answer to question S2W-15708 on 26 April 2005.

##S2W-14410 - Michael Matheson (Central Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 11 February 2005):##

To ask the Scottish Executive what specific actions it has taken to implement the advice on enhancing the status of the Scots language contained in the last report of the European Committee of Experts on the United Kingdom's application of the provisions of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages.

##Answered by Patricia Ferguson (8 March 2005):##

The Committee of Experts recommended to the UK government that it should help create conditions for the use of Scots in public life, through the adoption of a language policy and concrete measures, in co-operation with the speakers of the language. The Executive has committed itself to the development of a national language strategy to this end.

##S2W-14379 - Michael Matheson (Central Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 10 February 2005):##

To ask the Scottish Executive how it funds and resources the Scots language; what level of funding it has made available to support the Scots language in each of the last three years, and how much funding it will make available in the next financial year. ##Answered by Patricia Ferguson (8 March 2005):##

The Scottish Executive has not earmarked a specific budget for Scots language development. It provides funding for Scots activities through the general resources which it makes available to cultural and educational bodies, local authorities and the enterprise network. Expenditure by these bodies on projects and programmes related to the Scots language is not centrally collated.

##S2W-11321 - Rob Gibson (Highlands and Islands) (SNP) (Date Lodged 7 October 2004):##

To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S2W-9840 by Mr Frank McAveety on 26 August 2004, which bodies and institutions are taking action in relation to the recommendations of the Committee of Experts on the application of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages as these relate to the Scots language; what initiatives are being taken forward, and how the performance of these initiatives will be measured and assessed by the Executive and its agencies.

##Answered by Ms Patricia Ferguson (3 November 2004):##

The Executive is working to develop a national languages strategy to provide a framework for action in relation to Scots, as well as other languages. Along with other government departments, we shall report to the Council of Europe in June 2005 on progress to date. In addition to the Executive itself, bodies such as local authorities and cultural and educational public bodies all have a role to play. We particularly welcome initiatives from the Scottish Arts Council and Learning and Teaching Scotland in support of Scots.

##S2W-8549 - Mr Jamie McGrigor (Highlands and Islands) (Con) (Date Lodged 25 May 2004):##

To ask the Scottish Executive what action it is taking to promote the future well-being of the Scots language, in light of its support for Gaelic culture and language.

##Answered by Mr Frank McAveety (8 June 2004):##

The Scottish Executive considers Scots to be an important part of Scotland's linguistic and cultural heritage. There is a range of groups supporting and promoting Scots in Scotland, some of which receive support from the Scottish Arts Council. The Executive has also advocated the inclusion of Scots in the school curriculum where appropriate. The Executive is committed to the introduction of a national language strategy during the course of this Parliament which will take account of the distinctive position of different languages used in Scotland. The approach to Scots in the future will form part of that strategy.

##S1W-33921 - Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 7 February 2003):##

To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S1W-33444 by Mike Watson on 5 February 2003, which specific policies and practice give due regard to the objectives and principles in Part II of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in respect of the Scots language.

##Holding reply by Mike Watson (21 February 2003):##

I shall reply to the member as soon as possible.

##Answered by Mike Watson (3 March 2003):##

The Scottish Executive considers the Scots language to be an important part of Scotland's distinctive linguistic and cultural heritage. The implementation of many of the objectives and principles in Part II of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages are for other public bodies and institutions. The Scottish Executive would expect that due recognition would be given to these objectives and principles at these levels.

##S1W-34089 - Michael Russell (South of Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 17 February 2003):##

To ask the Scottish Executive how it will commemorate the role that the Scots language played in literary and artistic activity in the Scottish Court at the time of the Union of the Crowns in the events planned to mark the 400th anniversary of that union and what impact this commemoration will have on the use of Scots, particularly in literary terms.

##Answered by Mike Watson (21 February 2003):##

The advisory group is considering plans for a range of events, and an announcement will be made in due course.

##S1W-33444 - Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 27 January 2003):##

To ask the Scottish Executive what action it will take with Her Majesty's Government to comply with Part II of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in respect of the Scots language.

##Answered by Mike Watson (5 February 2003):##

By signing the Charter, the UK Government recognises the distinctive nature and cultural value of the Scots language. The Executive has made good progress in complying with the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages in respect of Scots and the Executive considers that its policies and practice give due regard to the objectives and principles in Part II of the Charter.

##S1W-21339 - Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 20 December 2001):##

To ask the Presiding Officer when Scots language translations of the Parliament's information leaflets will be available.

##Answered by Sir David Steel (16 January 2002):##

The Parliament's Factfiles are available in Gaelic, and a Welcome Guide is available in French, German, Italian and Spanish. We are currently developing our policy on translations of public information material into other languages, and a decision will be taken by the SPCB in due course.

##S1W-18122 - Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 13 September 2001):##

To ask the Scottish Executive what joint action it plans to take with Her Majesty's Government to comply with the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in respect of the Scots language.

##Holding reply by Allan Wilson (27 September 2001):##

I shall reply to the member as soon as possible.

##Answered by Allan Wilson (1 October 2001):##

The Executive does not consider any joint action is necessary to comply with the Charter in respect of the Scots language.

##S1W-15887 - Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 21 May 2001):##

To ask the Scottish Executive why information about traditional arts, culture and the Scots language is not available on the visitscotland website.

##Answered by Mr Alasdair Morrison (4 June 2001):##

Decisions about the content of the website are an operational matter for visitscotland. The website links in to other sites that provide much of this information. visitscotland is currently redeveloping the website form, content and links.

##S1W-13565 - Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 20 February 2001):##

To ask the Scottish Executive what it is doing to address any difficulties in the teaching of the Scots language caused by scarcity of qualified teachers and materials and small number of pupils and whether it will introduce a pilot project on Scots language teaching similar to the approach to Latin teaching currently being tested in North Lanarkshire.

##Answered by Mr Jack McConnell (13 March 2001):##

The Scots language is not taught as a course, as the subject of Latin is, but is an element of more general language work aimed at giving children experience of and teaching them about Scots language and literature.

##S1W-13566 - Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 20 February 2001):##

To ask the Presiding Officer why a Scots language version of the Scottish Parliament website has not been made available.

##Answered by Sir David Steel (7 March 2001):##

The Scottish Parliament's website publishes information in English in line with Standing Orders, Rule 7.1 which states, "The Parliament shall normally conduct its business in English......". There are no plans to create a full version of the website in any other language, though summary information is presented in Gaelic, and public information resources in several other languages will be available on the website in the near future.

##S1W-11754 - Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 5 December 2000):##

To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S1W-11353 by Allan Wilson on 1 December 2000, whether it will detail the specific role school co-ordinators will play in the promotion of the Scots language.

##Holding reply by Allan Wilson (19 December 2000):##

I shall reply to the member as soon as possible.

##Answered by Allan Wilson (5 March 2001):##

In inviting education authorities to participate in the pilot programme we shall set out a general framework of objectives for school co-ordinators. We do not propose to identify particular areas of cultural activity in which co-ordinators should be involved. Within the general framework, that will be for schools and education authorities to determine.  

##S1W-12576 - Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 18 January 2001):##

To ask the Scottish Executive how it will ensure that any expansion of nursery provision will not lead to the diminution of the place of the Scots language in pre-school provision.

##Answered by Nicol Stephen (1 February 2001):##

The Executive aims to provide a part-time pre-school education place for every three and four-year-old whose parents wish it by April 2002. Within the principles set by the Curriculum Framework for Children 3 to 5, providers are free to adjust the content of learning programmes to reflect the cultural preferences of parents. The framework makes clear that a child's home language should always be valued.

##S1W-12575 - Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 18 January 2001):##

To ask the Scottish Executive how it will ensure that training for nursery nurses will include the promotion and development of pupils' Scots language skills.

##Answered by Nicol Stephen (1 February 2001):##

Qualifications held by nursery nurses are developed by the Scottish Qualifications Authority based on occupational standards determined by the industry itself, through the relevant National Training Organisation. The Executive has no direct involvement.

##S1W-12574 - Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 18 January 2001):##

To ask the Scottish Executive how it intends to encourage the production of material in the Scots language which is suitable for use with pre-school children.

##Answered by Nicol Stephen (1 February 2001):##

The provision of support materials for pre-school children is a matter for each centre to decide, taking account of the Curriculum Framework for Children 3 to 5 and any parental cultural preferences.

##S1W-12458 - Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 12 January 2001):##

To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S1W-11354 by Mr Jack McConnell on 10 January 2000, in what specific ways the guidelines for initial teacher education require institutions to prepare teachers to be responsive to the linguistic needs of pupils in relation to the Scots language.

##Answered by Mr Jack McConnell (26 January 2001):##

The guidelines for initial teacher education courses are not prescriptive. The competencies set out in the guidelines are generic to enable interpretation relevant to the particular education sector and situation the student teacher is training in. The competence to be attained by new teachers in relation to being responsive to the linguistic needs of pupils is therefore not specific to any language group.

##S1W-11354 - Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 17 November 2000):##

To ask the Scottish Executive how teachers are prepared, though initial training and continuing professional development, to promote and develop pupils' Scots language skills.

##Holding reply by Mr Jack McConnell (1 December 2000):##

I shall reply to the member as soon as possible.

##Answered by Mr Jack McConnell (10 January 2001):##

Guidelines for initial teacher education in Scotland require institutions to prepare teachers to be responsive to the needs of all pupils in respect of linguistic background. Courses prepare teachers to deliver the curriculum as set out in guidance such as the 5-14 guidelines.

##S1W-11353 - Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 17 November 2000):##

To ask the Scottish Executive what role school cultural co-ordinators will play in the promotion of the Scots language.

##Answered by Allan Wilson (1 December 2000):##

Cultural champions will identify ways of enabling all teachers to maximise the potential contribution of culture to young people's education, developing their self-esteem and core life skills and looking for opportunities to widen the range of experiences available to them.

##S1W-4992 - Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 3 March 2000):##

To ask the Scottish Executive what plans there are to include a question on the Scots language in the next Household Survey.

##Holding reply by Mr Jack McConnell (17 March 2000):##

I shall reply to the member as soon as possible.

##Answered by Mr Jack McConnell (27 March 2000):##

There are no current plans to include a question on the Scots language in the Scottish Household Survey (SHS). The SHS questionnaire is revised slightly each year and a trawl for bids will take place in summer 2000 for questions/topics for possible inclusion in the SHS 2001 questionnaire.

##S1W-4828 - Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 29 February 2000):##

To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to promote and protect the Scots language and what funds it intends to devote for this purpose.

##Answered by Mr Sam Galbraith (14 March 2000):##

The Executive directly supports the Scottish National Dictionary, the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue, the Scots Language Resource Centre and the Scottish Poetry Library (which promotes poetry in Scots as well as other languages). These grants amount to ?135,000 in the current year. Curricular guidelines encourage the teaching of Scots literature in schools and contain numerous opportunities for including Scots in the curriculum. The forthcoming national cultural strategy will provide an occasion to review the position of Scots and the means of support for it. Scots will also attract the provisions of Part II of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages which the UK Government signed on 2 March.

##S1W-3293 - Michael Russell (South of Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 14 December 1999):##

To ask the Scottish Executive how much it spends in total annually on the development and promotion of the Scots language, including grants to the Scots Language Society, Scottish National Dictionary Association, Scots Language Resource Centre and other projects.

##Holding reply by Mr Sam Galbraith (28 December 1999):##

I shall reply to the member as soon as possible.

##Answered by Mr Sam Galbraith (7 February 2000):##

In 1999-2000 the grants to the Scottish National Dictionary Association, the Scots Language Resource Centre and the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue are ?40,000, ?23,500 and ?49,000 respectively. No grant has been made to the Scots Language Society. Education Department guidelines dealing with the development and promotion of Scots do so in the context of the curriculum, and it is therefore not practicable to estimate the spending related to Scots.

##S1W-1886 - Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 6 October 1999):##

To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has plans to amend the census format to include a question on the Scots language in order to assist in the promotion and provision of Scots in education and other areas.

##Answered by Mr Jim Wallace (20 October 1999):##

The topics proposed by the UK Government for the 2001 Census of Population were announced in the White Paper (Cm 4253) published on 4 March 1999. The White Paper did not contain a proposal to include a question on Scots language in the Census in Scotland. The Scottish Executive are now responsible for the Census in Scotland and will be making proposals about the content of the 2001 Census to the Scottish Parliament later this year.

##S2W-19464 - Adam Ingram (South of Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 22 September 2005):##

To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S2W-18690 by Peter Peacock on 20 September 2005, how much funding is available for the development of educational resources for the teaching of Scottish literature and the works of Robert Burns at both primary and secondary school levels.

##Answered by Peter Peacock (30 September 2005):##

In 2004-05, the Scottish Executive provided ?13.7 million of funding to Learning and Teaching Scotland towards the development of educational resources. Some of this funding was directed to supporting Scots language and literacy in Scottish schools. However, there is no general prescription as to how these funds are specifically directed as it is important that Learning and Teaching Scotland respond to the changing demands of the primary and secondary teaching communities. The Scottish Arts Council have provided the following funding towards the promotion of Scottish Literature and Robert Burns in Scottish schools: Live Literature Scotland ?154,500 2004-05 ?164,500 2005-06 Itchy Coo ?150,000 2001 ?37,500 2004 BRAW ?30,000 2004

##S2W-18690 - Adam Ingram (South of Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 24 August 2005):##

To ask the Scottish Executive what funding is available for the development of educational resources for the teaching of Scottish literature and the works of Robert Burns at both primary and secondary school levels.

##Answered by Peter Peacock (20 September 2005):##

The Scottish Executive provides Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) with core funding part of which is directed towards supporting Scots language and literacy in Scottish schools. This funding has for example enabled LTS to develop resources such as a Tam O'Shanter CD-ROM and an electronic resource on Edwin Morgan's poetry. Funding is also available from the Scottish Arts Council who support such projects as: Itchy Coo, a Scottish story book publishing company; BRAW (Books, Reading and Writing), a Scottish Book Trust initiative with an aim of getting books, particularly Scottish into schools and Live Literature Scotland (LLS), a unique funding scheme which takes Scottish writers, playwrights, poets, storytellers and their work to every corner of Scottish society.

##S2W-17182 - Cathy Peattie (Falkirk East) (Lab) (Date Lodged 7 June 2005):##

To ask the SPCB whether it will provide details of the staff time and costs incurred in dealing with each freedom of information request made to date and whether it will automatically provide this information for future requests.

##Answered by Robert Brown (21 June 2005):##

Prior to 1 May 2005, we did not record the amount of staff time incurred in dealing with each individual FOI request. Information about time spent is recorded once the enquiry has been completed. Details of the time spent on each request completed between 1 May 2005 and 15 June 2005 are given in the attached table. Staff costs are calculated using an average hourly rate of ?20. This does not include overheads such as photocopying, printing and postal charges or the provision of legal advice, figures for which are not available. Summary of request ResponseSent Hours Estimated Cost Information relating to Freedom of Information requests received by the Scottish Parliament 09/05/2005 4.8 ?96.00 Details relating to the value and payment of wine stored at the Scottish Parliament 05/05/2005 5 ?100.00 Request for copy of items listed in the disclosure log 17/05/2005 4 ?80.00 Request for copy of items listed in the disclosure log 17/05/2005 3 ?60.00 All communications related to an alleged telephone interception incident between the constituency office of Christine Grahame MSP and Parliament Headquarters 19/05/2005 18.5 ?370.00 Request for the identity of the 48 MSPs who have used their Allowance to purchase private properties 02/06/2005 7.75 ?155.00 Details of David McLetchie taxi claims to Queen Street Edinburgh or Tods Murray solicitors. 01/06/2005 1.25 ?25.00 All information held by CE and CE Office which relates to the requester1 19/05/2005 7.75 ?155.00 Request for copies of 14 FOI responses listed in the disclosure log 20/05/2005 5.5 ?110.00 Communications from the Sheriffs' Association relating to the Justice 1 Committee's Regulation of the Legal Profession Inquiry 20/05/2005 6 ?120.00 A breakdown of all Gordon Jackson MSP's expense claims for 2003/04. How many days did Parliament sit in 2003/04. Is there a register of MSP's attendance. If so, provide figures of each MSP's attendance 05/05/2005 1 ?20.00 A detailed breakdown of all Edinburgh Accomodation Allowance paid to MSPs for the period 2003/04 10/05/2005 2 ?40.00 Name of MSP referred to in News of the World story relating to alleged sexual activity in the Parliament precincts 11/05/2005 2.5 ?50.00 The name of the person who submitted FOI request reference 2005-006611 11/05/2005 0.25 ?5.00 Information on fees paid to DLE, EMBT/RMJM and to RMJM Services during the construction of Holyrood 26/05/2005 11 ?220.00 Copy of the contract between the Scottish Executive and BEAR Scotland relating to the M90 motorway 03/05/2005 0.25 ?5.00 Copies of David McLetchie's travel claims supporting mileage, air travel, car hire and taxis in 1999-2000 and 2000-011 12/05/2005 10.17 ?203.40 Request for Argyll and Clyde Health Board accounts for 2004/2005 04/05/2005 0.4 ?8.00 Request for Keith Raffan MSP FOI responses 17/05/2005 4.67 ?93.40 Copies of correspondence sent to the Chief Executive and Presiding Officer regarding changes to the rules on Time for Reflection 07/06/2005 6.5 ?130.00 Claims made by Keith Raffan against his winding up allowance 08/06/2005 6.76 ?135.20 Copy of the 2002 report entitled "Assessment of the Potential for Event Staging at the Scottish Parliament Building, Holyrood" 09/06/2005 4 ?80.00 Copy of SPICe Briefing Paper 'Contact Orders under Children (Scotland) Act 1995' 09/05/2005 1 ?20.00 Appointment and employment details for the Clerk/Chief Executive 03/06/2005 3 ?60.00 Request for information on the number of English MSPs 24/05/2005 1 ?20.00 Request for information on Scots language use 31/05/2005 3.8 ?76.00 Total 121.85 ?2,437.00 Note: 1. Including review. We do not currently publish this information routinely on our website.

##S2W-15708 - Rob Gibson (Highlands and Islands) (SNP) (Date Lodged 1 April 2005):##

To ask the Scottish Executive whether there are any plans to teach more school pupils through the medium of Scots.

##Answered by Peter Peacock (26 April 2005):##

The detailed delivery of the curriculum is a matter for local authorities. This covers both teaching in and about Scots. The Scottish Executive's National Guidelines on English Language 5-14, advises schools to "encourage discussion and develop perceptions of Scottish languages, and how they relate to the lives and experiences of Scottish people". This guidance also comments on the status of Scots in schools by suggesting that Scottish writing and writing about Scotland should permeate the curriculum and be introduced from an early stage, taking its place beside English literature. The guidelines note that the language children bring to school is often distinctive and schools should "enable pupils to be confident and creative in this language". Scottish ministers welcome the use of Itchy-Coo materials and personnel in schools but recognise that the selection of these and other Scots materials is a matter for schools and education authorities. The Scottish Executive does not hold information on the number of schools using the Itchy-Coo Scots language materials or project.

##S2W-11830 - Mr Kenny MacAskill (Lothians) (SNP) (Date Lodged 29 October 2004):##

To ask the Scottish Executive what Scottish literature is promoted and used within the school curriculum for (a) English and (b) other studies; what mandatory study of Scottish literature there is in the school curriculum, and what minimum knowledge of Scottish literature is required for children completing their education in Scottish schools.

##Answered by Peter Peacock (12 November 2004):##

The national Curriculum Guidelines 5-14, for English language currently advise that Scottish texts should be actively sought and used in classrooms, the aim being to foster a sense of personal and national identity through pupils' experience and study of Scots writing and Scots songs and through their conscious awareness and use of Scots language. The guidelines for Social Subjects (History), Expressive Arts and Personal and Social Development stress the importance of maintaining a focus on the Scottish context There is, however, no statutory curriculum in Scotland and responsibility for the delivery and content of the curriculum rests with individual education authorities and headteachers who must assess the needs of their pupils and design an appropriate curriculum. This includes the extent to which Scottish literature is included in the curriculum.

##S2W-9841 - Chris Ballance (South of Scotland) (Green) (Date Lodged 29 July 2004):##

To ask the Scottish Executive which minister has responsibility for ensuring that it meets its obligations in respect of the Charter for Regional or Minority Languages as these relate to Scots.

##Answered by Mr Frank McAveety (26 August 2004):##

I have lead ministerial responsibility within the Scottish Executive for matters relating to the Scots language.

##S2W-8183 - Mr Kenny MacAskill (Lothians) (SNP) (Date Lodged 12 May 2004):##

To ask the Scottish Executive what action it is taking to implement the recommendations of the Council of Europe Committee of Experts' report into the Charter for Regional or Minority Languages; whether it will provide the Scottish Language Resource Centre (SLRC) with any additional funding to implement those recommendations and, if not, how it envisages implementation of the recommendations will be achieved, and whether it intends to consult the SLRC, or other organisations, on the recommendations and, if so, who it will consult and when. ##Answered by Mr Frank McAveety (25 May 2004):##

The Executive is committed to policies which will enable it to work toward meeting those Charter obligations for which it has responsibility, including those covered in the recommendations of the Council of Europe Committee of Experts. The aims of the Scots Language Resource Centre, which receives funding from the Scottish Arts Council, relate only to one of the recommendations of the Committee of Experts, "to create conditions for the use of Scots . . . in public life, through the adoption of a language policy and concrete measures, in co-operation with the speakers of the language". This will be considered within the context of the Scottish Executive's National Languages Strategy which will be developed in consultation with all relevant interests later this year.

##S2W-7400 - Donald Gorrie (Central Scotland) (LD) (Date Lodged 1 April 2004):##

To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will set up a board to promote Scots as a living language, similar to the Ulster-Scots Agency set up under the Good Friday Agreement, which advises ministers and co-ordinates activities relating to the promotion of Ulster-Scots as a living language.

##Answered by Mr Frank McAveety (4 May 2004):##

The establishment of an Ulster-Scots agency was in response to a particular set of circumstances in Northern Ireland. The Scottish Executive currently has no plans to set up a similar agency in Scotland. There is at present a wide range of groups and organisations in Scotland that support and promote Scots in its various forms. The Scottish Executive considers the Scots language to be an important part of Scotland's distinctive linguistic and cultural heritage. It appreciates that Scots is the language many children bring to school and advocates the inclusion of Scots in the school curriculum where appropriate. The Executive expects to develop a National Language Strategy to bring a new focus to all of Scotland's languages, including Scots.

##S1W-31627 - Michael Russell (South of Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 15 November 2002):##

To ask the Scottish Executive what funds have been made available to support the production of education resources that encourage language diversity in each year since 1999, as referred to in key priority 2.1 of strategic objective 2 of Creating our Future: Minding our Past.

##Answered by Dr Elaine Murray (26 November 2002):##

As stated in the second annual report of Scotland's National Cultural Strategy, published 12 November 2002, core funding of ?80,000 from the Scottish Arts Council, with ?30,000 for establishment costs, has secured the new body, Scottish Language Dictionaries, offering a definitive resource relating to the Scots language. The first annual report of the strategy referred to St򲬡nn - a national resource for Gaelic teaching materials. In 1999-2000 the Executive provided ?80,000 to St򲬡nn; in 2000-01 ?120,000 in 2001-02, ?145,000, and in 2002-03 ?160,000. I can also report that since 1999 the Scottish Arts Council has granted a total of ?2,312,392 towards education resources designed to encourage language diversity in Scots and Gaelic. This breaks down into ?409,321 in 1999-2000; ?545,013 in 2000-01; ?746,233 in 2001-02, and (to date) for 2002-03, ?611,825. Further support of resources encouraging language diversity and learning is evidenced in the Executive's specific funding of Gaelic-medium education, modern language teaching resources, and of Glasgow's International Language School: ?7,902,000; ?1,145,532, and ?962,000 respectively covering the three-year period from April 1999 to March 2002.

##Questions on the National Languages Strategy##

##S2W-27705 - Maureen Watt (North East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 4 August 2006):##

To ask the Scottish Executive how often it plans to meet Scots language organisations to assist in the process of developing its national languages strategy.

##Answered by Patricia Ferguson (28 August 2006):##

I refer the member to the answer to question S2W-27704 on 28 August 2006.

##S2W-27704 - Maureen Watt (North East Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 4 August 2006):##

To ask the Scottish Executive how many meetings have taken place between civil servants and Scots language organisations in connection with the development of the national languages strategy, since February 2006.

##Answered by Patricia Ferguson (28 August 2006):##

Scottish ministers intend to issue the National Language Strategy for consultation later this year and to have it finalised within the life of this Parliament. This timetable is consistent with the Executive's commitments set out in the Partnership Agreement for a Better Scotland. This will provide the opportunity for organisations representing the regional forms of Scots to submit their views to the Scottish Executive. Since February 2006, Scottish Executive officials have met with the representatives of two Scots language organisations. At present there are no plans for further specific meetings with Scots language organisations before the draft National Language Strategy is published.

##S2W-18947 - Sandra White (Glasgow) (SNP) (Date Lodged 5 September 2005):##

To ask the Scottish Executive what the provisional date is for publishing the national language strategy.

##Answered by Patricia Ferguson (13 September 2005):##

The Scottish Executive is committed to introducing a national language strategy within the lifetime of this Parliament.

##S2W-18946 - Sandra White (Glasgow) (SNP) (Date Lodged 5 September 2005):##

To ask the Scottish Executive how many of its officials are currently working on the national language strategy.

##Answered by Patricia Ferguson (13 September 2005):##

The responsibility for the preparation and oversight of the National Languages Strategy resides with the Tourism, Culture and Sport Group of the Scottish Executive Education Department. Officials within this group are also drawing on the expertise of officials with other language interests elsewhere in the Executive.

##S2W-8404 - Alasdair Morgan (South of Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 20 May 2004):##

To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S2W-7400 by Mr Frank McAveety on 4 May 2004, whether its statement that it expects to develop a national language strategy allows for the possibility that such a strategy will not be developed.

##Answered by Mr Frank McAveety (4 June 2004):##

The Partnership for a Better Scotland, which sets out the policies and direction of the Scottish Executive for this Parliament, states that, "We will develop a new focus for Scotland's languages recognising both our heritage and our diversity. We will legislate to provide secure status for Gaelic through a Gaelic Language Bill. We will introduce a national language strategy to guide the development and support of Scotland's languages, including British Sign Language and ethnic community languages. We will give local authorities and other public bodies a responsibility to draw up a languages plan which reflects the communities they serve".

##S2W-8196 - Donald Gorrie (Central Scotland) (LD) (Date Lodged 13 May 2004):##

To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S2W-7400 by Mr Frank McAveety on 4 May 2004, who will be involved in developing the National Language Strategy referred to in the answer.

##Answered by Mr Frank McAveety (25 May 2004):##

The National Language Strategy is a partnership commitment of the Scottish Executive and as such is the responsibility of Scottish ministers, working with relevant interests where appropriate.

##S2W-3647 - Alasdair Morgan (South of Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 27 October 2003):##

To ask the Scottish Executive what consideration it has given to the recommendations of the report An Institute for the Languages of Scotland in relation to the commitment in A Partnership for a Better Scotland to introduce a national language strategy to guide the development and support of Scotland's languages, including British Sign Language and ethnic community languages .

##Answered by Mr Frank McAveety (10 November 2003):##

We are currently preparing proposals for a national language strategy and the recommendations of the report An Institute for the Languages of Scotland are being considered as part of that process. Consultation on the strategy will take place in due

##S2W-18947 - Sandra White (Glasgow) (SNP) (Date Lodged 5 September 2005):##

To ask the Scottish Executive what the provisional date is for publishing the national language strategy.

##Answered by Patricia Ferguson (13 September 2005):##

The Scottish Executive is committed to introducing a national language strategy within the lifetime of this Parliament.

##S2W-14410 - Michael Matheson (Central Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 11 February 2005):##

To ask the Scottish Executive what specific actions it has taken to implement the advice on enhancing the status of the Scots language contained in the last report of the European Committee of Experts on the United Kingdom's application of the provisions of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages.

##Answered by Patricia Ferguson (8 March 2005):##

The Committee of Experts recommended to the UK government that it should help create conditions for the use of Scots in public life, through the adoption of a language policy and concrete measures, in co-operation with the speakers of the language. The Executive has committed itself to the development of a national language strategy to this end.

##S2W-14377 - Michael Matheson (Central Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 10 February 2005):##

To ask the Scottish Executive whether any advice has been issued to civil servants concerning the application of the provisions of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages as these relate to Scots and what the reasons are for its position on the matter.

##Answered by Patricia Ferguson (8 March 2005):##

Officials of the Scottish Executive have been charged with advising ministers on the development of a national language strategy which will include measures in relation to Scots. The development of such a strategy is one of the government's partnership commitments.

##S2W-13617 - Michael Matheson (Central Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 18 January 2005):##

To ask the Scottish Executive what its response is to the study carried out in line with the National Cultural Strategy and funded by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland into the feasibility of an institute for the languages of Scotland.

##Answered by Patricia Ferguson (31 January 2005):##

The proposal for an Institute for the Languages of Scotland was made by a group of Scottish language interest groups and universities on the basis of an opinion survey. The proposal is uncosted and assessing its feasibility and value for money would require substantial further work. The Executive will consider how best to proceed in the context of its commitment to develop a National Language Strategy.

##S2W-9840 - Chris Ballance (South of Scotland) (Green) (Date Lodged 29 July 2004):##

To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S2W-8183 by Mr Frank McAveety on 25 May 2004, what specific initiatives it has taken in response to the recommendations of the Council of Europe Committee of Experts' report into the Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, as they relate to Scots.

##Answered by Mr Frank McAveety (26 August 2004):##

Action in relation to the recommendation of the Committee of Experts and the Charter undertakings for Scots are for a range of bodies and institutions. A wide range of Scots initiatives is being taken forward throughout Scotland. The Executive will also consider these matters within the context of the Partnership commitment to develop a National Language Strategy.

##S2W-8549 - Mr Jamie McGrigor (Highlands and Islands) (Con) (Date Lodged 25 May 2004): To ask the Scottish Executive what action it is taking to promote the future well-being of the Scots language, in light of its support for Gaelic culture and language.

##Answered by Mr Frank McAveety (8 June 2004):##

The Scottish Executive considers Scots to be an important part of Scotland's linguistic and cultural heritage. There is a range of groups supporting and promoting Scots in Scotland, some of which receive support from the Scottish Arts Council. The Executive has also advocated the inclusion of Scots in the school curriculum where appropriate. The Executive is committed to the introduction of a national language strategy during the course of this Parliament which will take account of the distinctive position of different languages used in Scotland. The approach to Scots in the future will form part of that strategy.

##S2W-8404 - Alasdair Morgan (South of Scotland) (SNP) (Date Lodged 20 May 2004):##

To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S2W-7400 by Mr Frank McAveety on 4 May 2004, whether its statement that it expects to develop a national language strategy allows for the possibility that such a strategy will not be developed.

##Answered by Mr Frank McAveety (4 June 2004):##

The Partnership for a Better Scotland, which sets out the policies and direction of the Scottish Executive for this Parliament, states that, "We will develop a new focus for Scotland's languages recognising both our heritage and our diversity. We will legislate to provide secure status for Gaelic through a Gaelic Language Bill. We will introduce a national language strategy to guide the development and support of Scotland's languages, including British Sign Language and ethnic community languages. We will give local authorities and other public bodies a responsibility to draw up a languages plan which reflects the communities they serve".

##S2W-8196 - Donald Gorrie (Central Scotland) (LD) (Date Lodged 13 May 2004):##

To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S2W-7400 by Mr Frank McAveety on 4 May 2004, who will be involved in developing the National Language Strategy referred to in the answer.

##Answered by Mr Frank McAveety (25 May 2004):##

The National Language Strategy is a partnership commitment of the Scottish Executive and as such is the responsibility of Scottish ministers, working with relevant interests where appropriate.

##S2W-7400 - Donald Gorrie (Central Scotland) (LD) (Date Lodged 1 April 2004):##

To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will set up a board to promote Scots as a living language, similar to the Ulster-Scots Agency set up under the Good Friday Agreement, which advises ministers and co-ordinates activities relating to the promotion of Ulster-Scots as a living language.

##Answered by Mr Frank McAveety (4 May 2004):##

The establishment of an Ulster-Scots agency was in response to a particular set of circumstances in Northern Ireland. The Scottish Executive currently has no plans to set up a similar agency in Scotland. There is at present a wide range of groups and organisations in Scotland that support and promote Scots in its various forms. The Scottish Executive considers the Scots language to be an important part of Scotland's distinctive linguistic and cultural heritage. It appreciates that Scots is the language many children bring to school and advocates the inclusion of Scots in the school curriculum where appropriate. The Executive expects to develop a National Language Strategy to bring a new focus to all of Scotland's languages, including Scots.

##S2W-6837 - Mr Alasdair Morrison (Western Isles) (Lab) (Date Lodged 9 March 2004):##

To ask the Scottish Executive when it expects the Council of Europe to publish its report on the application of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in the United Kingdom.

##Answered by Peter Peacock (10 March 2004):##

That report was published today, and it addresses recommendations to the UK Government on areas where the Council of Europe considers action is required to ensure that its charter obligations are met. Specific recommendations are made in relation to Scots and Gaelic. Progress has already been made since the Council of Europe collected the information on which its report is based. B�rd na G�idhlig has been established as the primary Gaelic development agency in Scotland and is channelling government funding to priority areas of Gaelic language development. The Executive has consulted on a draft Gaelic Language Bill, which will be introduced to Parliament later this year. Steps are being taken through the Standards in Scotland's Schools Act 2000 to improve the delivery of Gaelic Medium Education. The UK Government and the Scottish Executive are in dialogue about funding for the Gaelic Media Service. The Executive is also committed through A Partnership agreement for a Better Scotland to develop a national language strategy, which will develop a new focus for all of Scotland's languages, including Scots. Work on the strategy will start this year. The implementation of the objectives and principles of the charter is a matter not only for the Executive but for local authorities and other public bodies and institutions, and the Executive expects that due recognition will be given to charter obligations at these levels. We will shortly write to all those with an interest in the charter reminding them of the UK's obligations and what practical steps can to be taken to meet them. The Executive is committed to policies which will enable it to work toward meeting those charter obligations for which it has responsibility, and looks forward to the opportunity to contribute to the UK's next report to the Council of Europe.

Oral Questions Session 3    Sessions 1 & 2    Written Questions Session 3

10 March 2011
Rob Gibson(Highlands and Islands) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive what plans are being made to ensure that the Scots language is included in the Scottish Qualifications Authority exam schemes from 2011-12. (S3O-13270)

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning (Michael Russell): The Scots language is alive and well in Scottish education, I am glad to say. A number of excellent resources have been prepared by Learning and Teaching Scotland, and I recently asked it to consider a new vision that will provide more consistency and focus to the Scottish elements of the curriculum. The study of Scottish texts is already a requirement of national qualifications in English, and the Scottish Qualifications Authority will work with partners to ensure that Scots is given a high profile within the new qualifications that are being developed for curriculum for excellence.

Rob Gibson: I welcome the place of Scots in the curriculum, but could guidelines extend the requirement beyond studying at least one Scottish text and allow students to use Scots in any oral or written assessments, if they wish to?

Michael Russell: Those are sensible contributions, but we need to join up all the elements of Scots and Scots study in the curriculum. The work of Learning and Teaching Scotland will bring that forward and provide consistency and focus to the whole issue. As that work rolls out, I am sure that the member will be pleased and excited.


25 November 2010
Maureen Watt (North East Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to support the use of the Scots language. (S3O-12091)

The Minister for Culture and External Affairs (Fiona Hyslop): We have taken a number of important steps to support the Scots language. Those include an audit of Scots language provision, a national conference on the Scots language, the funding of two Scots bodies, a survey of attitudes to Scots, the introduction of a census question on Scots and the establishment of a ministerial Scots language working group. The report from that group will be published soon and we will then consider how we can make further progress in responding to the recommendations of the group.

Maureen Watt: Does the minister agree that any successful strategy for encouraging the greater use of the various regional dialects of Scots must be based on an accurate picture of how widely they are currently used in day-to-day life? If so, does she agree that it is essential that members of the public are made aware of the meaning of the Scots language question in the 2011 census in order to avoid confusion over its meaning and to ensure an accurate response?

Fiona Hyslop: The member raises an extremely important point. We want accuracy in the census, but that relies on people being aware of what is being asked and what is appropriate in reply. That is why we have established the short-life working group to focus on raising awareness of the Scots language question in the census. The aim is to ensure that we inform people of the choices so that we receive accurate responses to the question and that people have the confidence to respond. We are working with representatives from the General Register Office for Scotland and the Scots language centre on that.

Alasdair Allan (Western Isles) (SNP): Will the Scottish Government consider implementing any recommendations of the Scots language working group that refer specifically to the use of the language by children of primary school age?

Fiona Hyslop: I look forward to the group publishing its report. I will give serious consideration to any recommendations in the report, and I suspect that it will include recommendations on the preparation of materials as well as on teaching and learning. I was extremely impressed by the Falkirk teachers I met who have integrated Scots into their learning. They have found that learning in their own dialect and language has a great impact on children, who can then respond properly in the classroom with confidence and an improved performance. The Scots language is not just a celebration of our culture; as those teachers from Falkirk relayed to me, it has an important role to play in improving the educational experience of many of our young Scots.

28 October

Linda Fabiani (Central Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Government how it supports the Scots language. (S3O-11683)

The Minister for Culture and External Affairs (Fiona Hyslop): The Scottish Government has put in place a range of measures to support the Scots language. That includes an audit of Scots language provision, a survey of attitudes to Scots, funding of two Scots language bodies, the introduction of a census question and the establishment of a Scots language working group. Those actions are based on the pre-election commitments that we made in respect of the Scots language. I acknowledge the member's personal contribution to many of those actions.

Linda Fabiani: I thank the minister for that. Is she aware that in the early 16th century Gavin Douglas translated Virgil's "The Aeneid" into Scots and that that was the first translation of such a major Latin work into any of the languages of these isles? Will she join me in welcoming the further edition of that great work, launched by Scottish Language Dictionaries and now online, which was started by John Law and finished by Caroline Macafee following John's untimely passing earlier this year? Will she encourage as far as possible recognition of the value of our historical and current Scots tongue?

Fiona Hyslop: I am indeed aware of the launch of the book, and although I was unable to attend the official launch on 21 October, I have heard that the event went well. I look forward to reading the book in the near future, having translated parts of "The Aeneid" from the original when I studied Latin at school.

John Law's untimely passing earlier this year is a great loss to those who are involved in promotion of the Scots language. I am sure that we all agree that he made a great contribution with enormous passion to a cause that was close to his heart.

17 June 2010
Linda Fabiani (Central Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Government whether it will support the provision of resources in the Scots language as part of the curriculum for excellence. (S3O-11005)

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning (Michael Russell): Aye, we will. The Scottish Government actively promotes the teaching and learning of Scots in the curriculum. The curriculum for excellence guidance offers flexibility to teachers to design inspiring and stimulating material to raise the profile of Scots in the curriculum. Learning and Teaching Scotland provides and signposts a wide range of resources to support high-quality learning and teaching in and through Scots.

Linda Fabiani: The cabinet secretary will be aware of the good work that the cross-party group on the Scots language has carried out over the years. It has an education sub-committee, which includes education professionals. Will the group’s views be taken into account on what parts of the curriculum would be of best use for the Scots language and which organisations would be best placed to help in that provision?

Michael Russell: I am aware of the sub-committee’s good work. I was unable, alas, to meet the sub-committee when I was last scheduled to do so because of a most regrettable clash of parliamentary business. I think that an important contribution is being made by the individuals involved, whom I am encouraging to talk to Learning and Teaching Scotland and to a range of other providers. I personally will have conversations with one or two of those involved shortly. I believe that everyone should work together to make this happen. Scots has an important place in the curriculum and should be taken forward as one of the issues that broadens and deepens Scottish education.

7 January 2010

Alasdair Allan (Western Isles) (SNP): Tae speir the Scottish Guivernment whit it wull dae tae mak shuir awbodie at the high scuil gets Scottish leiteratur.

To ask the Scottish Government what steps it will take to ensure that every secondary pupil has access to Scottish literature. (S3O-9027)

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning (Michael Russell): The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that the place of Scottish literature is emphasised in our schools. The literature of Scotland provides a rich and valuable resource for children and young people to improve their literacy and to learn about Scotland's culture, identity and language.

Curriculum guidance on literacy states that learning should include

"examples of writing by Scottish authors which relate to the history, heritage and culture of Scotland. They may also include writing in Scots"—

the member has a distinguished background in that regard—agus Gàidhlig cuideachd.

Alasdair Allan: Wull the caibnet secretar tell's whit success compulsorie questions on Scottish leiteratur athin exams is haein in giein a heize tae the nummers o fowk stuidiein Scottish screivers, an whit place dis the Scottish edication colleges gie tae Scottish leiteratur noo tae alloo sic authors tae be teached?

Michael Russell: We do a great deal of work, but there is always space for more work to be done. I am happy to give the member access to the information that we have on work in colleges.

A more central question is whether every pupil in Scotland has access to literature and writing in the three languages—what Iain Crichton Smith called the "three voices of Scotland"—so that they understand the linguistic and cultural diversity of that part of Scotland and Scotland's wider cultural diversity in terms of other voices and cultures that have come to us. We should think about studying writing and literature in that way and every school, college and university should encourage in their students knowledge of the great richness of our culture and tradition.

Aileen Campbell (South of Scotland) (SNP): Is the cabinet secretary aware of a project that Napier University runs, which allows third-year publishing students to manage the whole process of publishing and printing new editions of Scottish classics that are out of copyright? This year's project is James Hogg's "The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner". The books are given free to secondary schools, so that great Scottish literature is made more widely available to pupils. Does the cabinet secretary agree that this virtuous and simple project is worthy of recognition and will he join me in congratulating the Napier students who are doing their bit to keep Scottish literature alive?

Michael Russell: Very much so. I am always keen to see writers' works being distributed as widely as possible, although given that the project that the member mentioned does that for free, as a working writer I am glad that it deals with works that are out of copyright rather than in copyright.

The "Memoirs and Confessions" is one of the three great unfilmed books in Scotland—the others being "Annals of the Parish" and "The Cone-gatherers". If it is read by a much wider audience in Scotland, there will be a much better understanding of our dual nature in Scotland.

Dave Thompson (Highlands and Islands) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Government what progress is being made with support for the Scots language. (S3O-9050)

The Minister for Culture and External Affairs (Fiona Hyslop): I am pleased with the steps that the Government has taken in support of the Scots language. Within the past year, a number of important Scots initiatives have been taken forward. We have supported the first audit of Scots language provision; we have held the first Government conference on the Scots language; we have taken over the direct funding of two Scots language groups; we have established the first Government working group on Scots, which will make its recommendations later this year; and we have commissioned, for the first time, a survey into attitudes towards the Scots language, more details of which I will provide shortly. All of those are clear and positive steps that the Scottish Government has taken to raise the profile of Scots and promote confidence in its use.

Dave Thompson: The fèisean movement has been successful in the promotion of Gaelic. Does the minister have any plans to copy that success and encourage the transmission of Scots language oral culture in the same way?

Fiona Hyslop: In recent years, I have taken great pleasure in attending fèisean workshops in Ullapool. In my previous role, I met Arthur Cormack and discussed some of the issues around the development of the movement. It is important that we promote the movement in areas that are not traditionally associated with it, such as Edinburgh, because it is about the oral tradition in many different forms.

When we see the talented young people who take part in the fèisean movement, we can see that it is a good showcase for success—in a way, the point is similar to the one that Nanette Milne made earlier. The momentum that is currently being built up around the fèisean movement gives us an opportunity to take it forward. I am interested in the progress that can be made and in any suggestions that the member might have in that regard.

29 October 2009

Dave Thompson (Highlands and Islands) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Government what progress has been made since completion of the audit of the Scots language. (S3O-8247)

The Minister for Culture, External Affairs and the Constitution (Michael Russell): Good progress has been made on matters relating to the Scots language since the completion of the audit. Following the audit, the Scottish Government has organised a conference for Scots language interests; taken over the funding of two key Scots language bodies—Scottish Language Dictionaries and the Scots language centre; commissioned further research; and invited nominations for a Scots language advisory group.

I am pleased to say today that the group will be established and Derrick McClure will be its chair. I hope to attend the first and last meetings of the group. The other members announced today are Matthew Fitt, Michael Hance, Billy Kay, Alasdair Allan, John Corbett, Laureen Johnson, Janet Paisley, James Robertson, Christine Robinson and Rab Wilson. There is a further member still to respond, but I hope that we will add one more member. I look forward to the recommendations that come from the first ever group to look at policy and the Scots language.

Dave Thompson: It is good news that we are making progress. Although there seems to be a lot of good work by teachers in promoting Scots at primary level, I understand that it is not matched at secondary level. Will the minister confirm that the advisory group will consider issues such as the lack of such provision at secondary level and the need for teacher training?

Michael Russell: The group will be fully familiar with all the work that is being done, including through the curriculum for excellence. There is a broad commitment throughout Government to ensure that Scots has its rightful place, and I am grateful for the work and co-operation of my colleagues in education, who are present as a sort of visual aid this afternoon. We are all working in the same direction and we will complete the task.

18 September 2009
Bill Wilson (West of Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Government whether it considers that, to make an intelligent choice about our future as a nation, we should be knowledgeable about our history and culture and, if so, that libraries should play an important role in this. (S3O-7848)

The Minister for Culture, External Affairs and the Constitution (Michael Russell): Yes.

Bill Wilson: I like that answer and thank the minister for his brief reply. Will he encourage libraries to use a portion of their acquisition budgets to ensure that they carry a substantial selection of the many excellent works of poetry, fiction and non-fiction in English, Scots and Gaelic by Scottish authors?

Michael Russell: I am always in favour of supporting Scottish authors, being one myself. The more resource that is used by Scottish libraries to purchase work from Scottish publishers and work that is written by people who write and work in Scotland—which is a slight difference in emphasis, but I am sure that the member will take it—the happier I will be.

One of the jobs that is being undertaken by the literature task force, which is ably chaired by Rosemary Goring, is to consider support for Scottish writing and publishing. The purchasing power of libraries is an important part of that resource. I am fully in favour of the member's suggestion.

23 April 2009
Bill Wilson (West of Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Government how many higher education institutions ensure that their teacher training graduates are competent to teach Scots. (S3O-6664)

The Minister for Schools and Skills (Keith Brown): There is no teaching qualification in the Scots language. However, the higher education institutions that offer initial teacher education are committed to preparing all new teachers to deliver the curriculum for excellence, which contains a clear commitment to the promotion of Scottish history, culture and languages. Therefore, all teachers should be prepared to build on the diversity of language that is represented in the communities of Scotland and value the languages that children and young people bring to school.

Bill Wilson: In light of the compelling testimony from front-line teachers that increased provision of the Scots language can enhance literacy, social inclusion, English skills and the understanding of Scots culture, does the Scottish Government have plans to significantly increase investment in Scots in schools? Does it have plans to commission research into the provision of Scots education?

Keith Brown: As Bill Wilson knows—or as he kens fine, as I should perhaps say—local authorities are responsible for allocating budgets to their schools to meet the demands and priorities in their local area. It is for schools, in the light of the curriculum framework within which they operate, to determine how best to organise the syllabus for all subjects, including Scots in schools. There is no extra funding for Scots and the Scottish Government has no plans to increase significantly investment in Scots in schools.

The member will be aware that, at the Equal Opportunities Committee's meeting on 24 February, it agreed to refer points relating to the Scots language audit report to the Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture Committee. Those included the suggestion that the Government consider commissioning further research to explore attitudes to the Scots language in teaching and the finding that provision appears more frequent in primary than in secondary schools. I can confirm that Scottish Government officials met on 18 March to consider how further research could build on the findings of the recent Scots language audit to provide an understanding of the barriers to provision in secondary schools.

5 March 2009
Bill Wilson (West of Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the recently published "Audit of Current Scots Language Provision in Scotland" and my survey of local education authorities, which identified the benefits of teaching Scots in schools, and anecdotal evidence suggesting that the expansion of such provision is constrained by a lack of qualified teachers, what steps it will consider to remedy the situation. (S3O-6158)

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning (Fiona Hyslop): The Scottish Government considers Scots to be an important part of Scotland's distinctive linguistic and cultural heritage. The audit of current provision provides baseline data and is the basis for consideration of the provision of and planning for the Scots language in public life across Scotland.

The curriculum for excellence experiences and outcomes encourage appropriate emphasis on Scotland's literature and the languages of Scotland. The curriculum for excellence offers teachers the flexibility to respond innovatively to the needs and interests of their pupils.

Bill Wilson: According to Katrina MacLeod of the Scots Language Centre and Perth and Kinross Council library service, the demand for Scots language teaching resources significantly outstrips supply. In this year o hamecomin, will the Government take action to ensure that supply meets demand?

Fiona Hyslop: Learning and Teaching Scotland already provides examples of good practice and materials that can be used to address the shortages and the demand that Bill Wilson has identified. In the year of homecoming, I have already seen excellent practice in the Scots language. Dunning primary school, which is in the Perth and Kinross Council area, has an excellent homecoming project, and Scots language provision is part and parcel of that experience.

8 January 2009
Marlyn Glen (North East Scotland): To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will provide an update on future funding for Scottish Language Dictionaries. (S3O-5406)

The Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture (Linda Fabiani): The funding arrangements for Scottish Language Dictionaries that have prevailed until now do not serve the best interests of the organisation. I am currently considering how that situation may be addressed.

Marlyn Glen: I thank the minister for that answer, such as it was. I had hoped for an update on what the funding would be.

Does the minister agree that, to survive as an authoritative source of Scots, Scottish Language Dictionaries should be treated as a special case for financial support? Such organisations need the stability of secure, long-term funding, particularly in this year of homecoming. Does she agree that any uncertainty must be resolved as soon as possible?

Linda Fabiani: I reassure Marlyn Glen that I am considering how the situation may be addressed. I do not think that the funding arrangements that were put in place by our predecessors in government best serve the interests of that organisation. The Scottish Arts Council, which funds Scottish Language Dictionaries, has agreed transitional funding until November 2009, which has allowed me the space to consider how best to take the matter forward.

The member may be interested to know that we are arranging a major seminar for 9 February, in Stirling, with representatives of the Scottish language groups, Scottish Language Dictionaries and other interested people, to consider the results of the audit of the Scots language that we commissioned and to discuss ways of moving forward to protect the heritage Marlyn Glen referred to.

11 December 2008
Bill Wilson (West of Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will make representations at European level in favour of extending to the Scots language the provisions of Part III of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages that apply to the Welsh, Gaelic and Irish languages. (S3O-5229)

The Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture (Linda Fabiani): I should first clarify a point of procedure. The Scottish Government would in the first instance be required to satisfy the United Kingdom Government of its ability to implement specified additional undertakings with regard to extending part III coverage to Scots before the UK Government made any referral in that respect to the Council of Europe. Any additional measures of support for the Scots language to be ratified by the UK Government would likely have to be in place at the time of ratification. I think, therefore, that the right thing to do just now is to ensure that, as a minimum, the undertakings that have already been ratified in respect of Scots in part II of the charter are being fulfilled in the best possible manner.

Bill Wilson: In light of that response, I highlight a complaint that I recently received from a constituent about the Department for Work and Pensions providing material in Welsh, but not in Scots and Gaelic. The DWP has informed me that it provides material in Welsh because of obligations under the Welsh Language Act 1993 and that no similar provision exists for Scots or Gaelic. Will the minister consider making representations to the UK Government on ensuring that Scots and Gaelic have equal status with Welsh and English?

Linda Fabiani: I am concerned by the case that Mr Wilson has highlighted, given that all those who sign up to the charter have a responsibility for ensuring that these matters are progressed. I am happy to meet Mr Wilson to find out more about the case so that we can indeed make representations to the UK Government.

30 October 2008
Hugh Henry (Paisley South) (Lab): To ask the Scottish Executive what action is being taken to support Scottish traditional arts and the Scots language. (S3O-4606)

The Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture (Linda Fabiani): Traditional arts and the Scots language are extremely important to the Government. We are undertaking an audit of current provision for the Scots language to establish what measures are in place to promote it and what opportunities exist to make further progress. I acknowledge that concerns have arisen following the Scottish Arts Council's recent decisions in its flexible funding allocations. I therefore welcome the council's extension of funding for Scots language organisations until October 2009 and its encouragement to three traditional arts groups to apply for further funding. I am considering how we can best ensure that our traditional arts can be supported in the longer term.

Hugh Henry: It hardly bears resemblance to the facts to say that there is support for Scottish traditional arts, because consideration does not pay the bills. A number of organisations in Scotland face financial crisis and an uncertain future. Will the minister ensure that adequate financial provision is made to ensure that those organisations are able to survive?

Linda Fabiani: Since the flexible funding round, the Scottish Arts Council has announced a strategic fund of £300,000 to address the future of the affected organisations. So far, £80,000 of that money has been committed to supporting the Scots Language Resource Centre and Scottish Language Dictionaries for a further six months on completion of the current funding in April 2009. Further details of allocation will follow the Scottish Arts Council's discussions with the traditional music forum, and I will also hold discussions with the forum. The unsuccessful organisations have been invited to apply for up to £30,000 to address strategic issues.

Bill Wilson (West of Scotland) (SNP): In light of the multiple benefits of introducing the Scots language into the school curriculum—which have been reported by local education authorities, and include the improvement of children's English—and of the imaginative measures that some LEAs have taken to introduce the Scots language, would the minister encourage a formal mechanism or forum for the sharing of best practice in the area?

Linda Fabiani: I am very impressed by the recent survey that Mr Wilson carried out across education authorities in Scotland. As I said, I await the results of the audit into the Scots language, which I expect next month. I have committed to holding a major seminar of interested persons and organisations in January; I hope that Mr Wilson will attend that, in light of the findings of his survey, and contribute to the on-going discussion.

John Scott (Ayr) (Con): As the minister knows, many traditional groups and others in the Scottish arts and culture sector are concerned about the possible cost of a merger between the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen, and the impact that that could have on their funding. Can the minister give an estimate of what the overall transitional cost will be? Will she offer an assurance that that cost will not lead to cuts in funding to traditional arts and other grass-roots organisations?

Linda Fabiani: As I said at committee recently, the transition cost for creative Scotland will be in the financial memorandum to the public services reform bill, which is due to come to Parliament and to the appropriate parliamentary committee. Out of respect for the Parliament, the cost will be discussed at that time and not before.

19 June 2008
Cathy Peattie (Falkirk East) (Lab): To ask the Scottish Executive what is being done in preparation for the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns and, in particular, to ensure that Scots language and traditional arts organisations will be able to organise, contribute and participate fully in next year's homecoming Scotland events. (S3O-3871)

The Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture (Linda Fabiani): I am delighted by what I heard about the AGM of the Parliament's Burns club this lunchtime.

The homecoming Scotland 2009 programme will formally begin on the weekend of Robert Burns's 250th anniversary. The programme, which was launched by the First Minister on 16 June, will begin with six Burns events in key locations throughout Scotland. There will be a further 13 Burns-related events in the homecoming programme and the total projected spend during 2009 will be £789,000. The programme overall contains a significant cultural element and key events will celebrate the best of our traditional heritage, arts and language.

Cathy Peattie: Is the minister aware that Scottish Language Dictionaries has issued redundancy notices to staff? Some 20 years' work on Scots dictionaries is under threat. Is she also aware that traditional arts organisations face severe problems and simply cannot wait until next year to hear about funding? Given that the minister has expressed a commitment to traditional arts in the past, will she please find a way of supporting our traditional arts and language now?

Linda Fabiani: We commissioned an audit on Scots—the first ever such audit—and I have committed to considering its results and developing a way forward for our Scots traditional heritage. The Scottish Arts Council is in discussion with Scots language groups about the way forward.

Members might be interested to know that VisitScotland told me that it received 55 applications for traditional arts events, of which 27 were granted funding.

24 April 2008
Dave Thompson (Highlands and Islands) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has for the promotion of the Scots language under the European charter for regional or minority languages.(S3O-3037)

The Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture (Linda Fabiani): As part of our undertakings for Scots under the European charter for regional or minority languages, this month the Scottish Government will write to local authorities and public bodies to remind them of their responsibilities and to ask what activities and initiatives have been introduced and are taking place in their area of operation. We are also in the process of commissioning an audit of Scots language provision in Scotland, which will take account of current provision in the context of the charter. I am looking forward to the outcome of the audit, and our future plans for Scots will be guided by its findings.

Dave Thompson: As the minister his said, she is cairrying oot an audit at the minute. Fit progress has been made by the audit, and fit will the next step be efter the ootcome o the audit?

Linda Fabiani: I will shortly announce who will carry out the audit, which I hope will be completed round about October. I will consider the findings, which will largely dictate what we will do next. I reiterate the Government's commitment to valuing the Scots language.

10 January 2008
Bill Wilson (West of Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive whether, in light of the response of the teachers participating in the "Cuddy Brae: Language at Letham" project, it will encourage teacher training colleges to raise Scots language awareness among trainee teachers to eliminate unconscious discrimination against Scots-speaking pupils. (S3O-1794)

The Minister for Schools and Skills (Maureen Watt): The Scottish Government advocates the inclusion of Scots in the school curriculum where appropriate and deplores any form of discrimination, whether conscious or unconscious. Awareness of the Scots language will be part and parcel of the emerging curriculum for excellence and teachers will develop this awareness through initial teacher education and continuous professional development.

Bill Wilson: Will the minister acknowledge that it is to say the least anomalous that, one year short of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, the Scots language still does not enjoy recognition equal to that of other British languages, such as Gaelic or Welsh? Will she consider commissioning a study to identify areas where Scots speakers may face discrimination and to determine what level of discrimination towards Scots speakers may exist in the wider school system?

Maureen Watt: As I said to Bill Wilson initially, we deplore any form of discrimination—conscious or unconscious. It is absolutely unacceptable. In many schools, as in Letham, teachers are using children's knowledge of Scots to build on their literacy competence.

I agree that it is unfortunate that previous Governments have not recognised the importance of Scots in Scotland's linguistic, cultural and artistic heritage. As she was born in Alloway, my Cabinet colleague Fiona Hyslop is determined to ensure that the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns's birth will be an occasion to remember.

29 November 2007
Aileen Campbell (South of Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Government what consideration will be given by Learning and Teaching Scotland to including the Scots language in the experiences and outcomes headings in respect of language in the curriculum for excellence. (S3O-1437)

The Minister for Schools and Skills (Maureen Watt): Learning and Teaching Scotland will produce draft outcomes and experiences for English language and literacy, which will include references to Scots. That will build on the guidance that has already been issued on the curriculum for excellence, which makes it clear that the languages and literature of Scotland provide a valuable source for learning about culture, identity and language.

Aileen Campbell: I spent Tuesday afternoon at Kirkton primary school in Carluke with the bestselling author Matthew Fitt, who was giving lessons on the Scots language to primary 7 pupils. The children's reaction was incredible to watch. Every child was fully engaged and their confidence grew. That is not an isolated example of what can happen. Does the minister agree with me and the teachers at Kirkton primary school that the teaching of Scots in schools and the inclusion of Scots in the curriculum for excellence will increase the confidence and self-belief of Scotland's children, which in turn will make for successful learners?

Maureen Watt: Yes, I absolutely agree with Aileen Campbell. I think that I have mentioned the delightful time that I spent on the reading bus in and around Aberdeen taking part in the same kind of activity.

Much good work is going on in local authorities throughout Scotland. Matthew Fitt and James Robertson of Itchy Coo do a fantastic job in helping teachers and officials to show how the language that children hear in the playground and in their families can be built on in their learning of English and other languages. This morning, I had a delightful time judging the 2007 Itchy Coo competition. It was a delight to read all the entries and to see how well children write in their own language.

The Presiding Officer (Alex Fergusson): I call Margo MacDonald to ask a supplementary question—I ask her to bear in mind that the subject is the Scots language.

Margo MacDonald (Lothians) (Ind): My genuine and heartfelt thanks, Presiding Officer.

The minister talked about the connection between learning Scots and an improved understanding of the English language. May I commend to her the teaching of Latin alongside Scots and English? According to a letter that I received today from a former HM inspector of schools, such an approach would undoubtedly help to promote the correct use of grammar and syntax.

Maureen Watt: I acknowledge the member's long-standing interest in the matter and I agree that learning Latin helps in the learning of other languages—it helped in my case. I understand that her letter to the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning on the subject will be answered in due course.

Written Questions Session 3    Sessions 1 & 2​    Oral Questions Session 3

S3W-40251 Bill Wilson: To ask the Scottish Executive when it will make representations to the UK Government regarding the Council of Europe’s Charter for Regional and Minority Languages and agreement of part III undertakings for the Scots language and what the reasons are for its position on the matter.

Answered by Fiona Hyslop (Monday, March 14, 2011): At this time we have no plans to extend Part III coverage to the Scots language.

There is still some work to do to fully meet the Part II provisions and it is fitting that we complete this work before considering the requirements of the Part III provisions in respect of Scots.

S3W-40098 George Foulkes: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has provided any (a) agencies, (b) organisations and (c) public bodies or services with (i) books and (ii) literature on old Scots dialect and, if so, what the cost was.

Answered by Fiona Hyslop (Monday, March 14, 2011): We have not provided books or literature on Old Scots dialect to any agencies, organisations, public bodies or services.

S3W-38925 Bill Wilson: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S3W-38364 by Michael Russell on 19 January 2011, whether it will provide the information that it holds regarding the funding of Scots language education in each year since 1990.

Answered by Michael Russell (Wednesday, February 02, 2011): There have been Scots language education initiatives since 1990, funded by Government or Scottish public bodies. The Scottish Government does not have a full list of these initiatives nor the funding attached to them.

We provided Learning and Training Scotland with £690,500 in 2008-09, £690,500 in 2009-10 and £600,000 in 2010-11 to produce support resources for Literacy and Numeracy, of which Scots is part.

Scottish Language Dictionaries received £200,000 and the Scots Language Centre received £70,000 in both 2009-10 and 2010-11. This was as a result the Scottish Government assuming responsibility for direct funding of these two organisations in February 2009, after its current allocations of funding from the Scottish Arts Council expired in 2009.

We spent £19,500 on research costs for the Audit of Current Scots Language Provision in Scotland published in January 2009. We spent a further £16,900 on research costs for the Public Attitudes Towards the Scots Language survey which explored public perceptions of, and attitudes towards, the Scots language amongst the general public of Scotland, which was published in January 2010.

The Scottish Government has provided the National Trust for Scotland with a grant of £8.6 million to develop £21 million Robert Burns Birthplace Museum which was officially opened on 21 January this year.

S3W-38365 Bill Wilson: To ask the Scottish Executive what funding will be allocated to Scots language education in 2011-12.

Answered by Michael Russell (Wednesday, January 19, 2011): Our commitment to national languages will remain in the financial year 2011-12, including the place of Scots within Curriculum for Excellence. We expect to continue supporting educational practitioners on Scots through our continued programme funding for Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS).

We are considering the recommendations of the recently published Scots Language Working Group report, including those relating to education, and I will meet with LTS shortly to consider the implications for their work.

S3W-38364 - Bill Wilson: To ask the Scottish Executive how much funding has been allocated to Scots language education in each year since 1990.

Answered by Michael Russell (Wednesday, January 19, 2011): We do not hold a full breakdown of funding for Scots language education since 1990.

Today, the value of Scots is recognised within the Curriculum for Excellence guidance, which indicates teachers should promote and encourage the use of Scots in developing young people''s literacy skills. In order to support practitioners with this, our ongoing programme funding for Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) across a number of curriculum areas has enabled the production of Scots resources, including the Scotland''s Songs and Stories website and the online Scots Knowledge of Language Module.

Other recent funding which supports Scots language education includes the provision of £8.6 million to the National Trust for Scotland to develop the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, due to open in January 2011, which will be the first development in the country to use the Scots language to explain its collection. Also, the Scots Language Centre and Scottish Language Dictionaries, have been in receipt of funding since 2009-10, with £70,000 provided in 2009-10 and 2010-11 for to the Scots Language Centre and £200,000 in 2009-10 and 2010-11 for the Scottish Language Dictionaries.

S3W-33470 Bill Wilson: To ask the Scottish Executive how it intends to raise awareness of the Scots language question in the 2011 census.

Answered by Fiona Hyslop (Wednesday, May 12, 2010): The General Register Office for Scotland (GROS) has, and will continue to, engage with Scots language organisations who can provide guidance on completion of the question on the Scots language in the 2011 census.

The intention is to provide context-specific help which will be available both via the census website www.scotlandscensus.gov.uk and the census helpline, in due course.

The Scottish Government will, with GROS, consider options for raising awareness of the question.

S3W-28520 Dave Thompson: To ask the Scottish Executive whether, in order to fulfil its responsibilities under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, it requires accurate information on the status of the Scots language and, if so, whether the census will include adequate questions on Scots.

Answered by Michael Russell (Monday, November 09, 2009): Accurate information on the numbers of Scots speakers would contribute to the Scottish Government making progress with other Scots undertakings in Part II of the Council of Europe''s Charter for Regional and Minority languages. In relation to the census, Parliament will be asked later this year to approve the final choice of questions.

S3W-21111 Christina McKelvie: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will produce a Scots translation of Choosing Scotland’s Future: A National Conversation: Independence and responsibility in the modern world.

Answered by Michael Russell (Tuesday, March 17, 2009): A summary of Choosing Scotland''s Future: A National Conversation: Independence and responsibility in the modern world has been translated into Scots and can be found on the Scottish Government website.

The Scottish Government is demonstrating its commitment to the development of Scots through initiatives such as the publication of the audit of Scots language activity; the Scots language seminar held on 9 February 2009 and our financial support for two important Scots language bodies*. We are considering, in light of these initiatives, further actions to support the development of Scots.

*Scottish language Dictionaries and Scottish Language Centre.

S3W-21039 Christina McKelvie: To ask the Scottish Executive how it intends to take forward the recommendations contained in the report, Audit of Current Scots Language Provision in Scotland.

Answered by Michael Russell (Thursday, March 05, 2009): It is clear to me that the recommendations contained in the report of the Audit of Current Scots Language Provision in Scotland cannot be taken forward seriously without involving the Scots language community.

My predecessor Linda Fabiani also shared this view, and shortly after publication of the audit hosted a conference on 9 February 2009 for individuals and organisations with an interest in Scots language matters, where the findings of the research were formally presented and possible ways forward to better promote and develop the Scots language in future were discussed.

I intend to capitalize on the suggestions and views expressed by delegates at the conference and as a next step will soon carry out more focused consultation on the emerging issues with representatives from the Scots language community.

S3W-21040 Christina McKelvie: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will institute ongoing monitoring of provision of support for the Scots language in order to build on the work done in the audit of current provision for the Scots language.

Answered by Michael Russell (Thursday, March 05, 2009): The Audit of Current Provision for the Scots Language was not intended to be exhaustive and could not capture every single act of provision in Scotland during the time available to the staff undertaking the research. However, the Scottish Government recognises the potential that such a resource offers to policy makers and language practitioners, and will take steps to enable individuals or organisations whose acts of provision were not captured in the first instance by the audit to send reports on their activities. Our intention is that the table of provision contained within the audit becomes a living document, so that a broader picture of provision in Scotland may be presented throughout the year, as reported by Scots language providers.

S3W-19867 Karen Whitefield: To ask the Scottish Executive on how many occasions (a) officials and (b) Scottish ministers have met representatives of (i) Scottish Language Dictionaries, (ii) the Scots Language Centre and (iii) Itchy Coo since May 2008.

Answered by Linda Fabiani (Friday, February 06, 2009): During this period officials and Ministers from the Scottish Government, as well as officials from the Scottish Arts Council, have met representatives from these organisations on a number of occasions.

S3W-19868 Karen Whitefield: To ask the Scottish Executive what the membership is of the Scots Language Audit Research Advisory Group.

Answered by Linda Fabiani (Friday, February 06, 2009): The Research Advisory Group comprises the following members:

Janet Ruiz, Principal Research Officer, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Analytical Services, Scottish Government

Julie Carr, Senior Research Officer, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Analytical Services, Scottish Government

Michael Napier, Policy Officer, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Directorate, Scottish Government

Emma Wilson, Policy Adviser, Schools Directorate, Scottish Government

Matthew Fitt, Itchy Coo

James Robertson, Itchy Coo.

S3W-19869 Karen Whitefield: To ask the Scottish Executive on how many occasions the Scots Language Audit Research Advisory Group has met.

Answered by Linda Fabiani (Friday, February 06, 2009): The Research Advisory Group met four times in an advisory capacity to facilitate the research process for the audit and to provide relevant contacts in the Scots language sector to the contracted researcher.

S3W-19870 Karen Whitefield: To ask the Scottish Executive when it will publish the recommendations of the Scots Language Audit Research Advisory Group.

Answered by Linda Fabiani (Friday, February 06, 2009): It is not within the remit of the Research Advisory Group to make recommendations in respect of the audit. The audit report and findings were published on 27 January and can be viewed on the Scottish Government''s website.

The Scottish Government is hosting a one-day conference at the University of Stirling on 9 February to formally present the findings of the audit to interested parties and to enable discussion of possible ways forward for promoting and developing the Scots language in future.

S3W-13213 Malcolm Chisholm: To ask the Scottish Executive what support it will provide to Scottish Language Dictionaries when funding from the Scottish Arts Council is discontinued at the end of 2008-09.

Answered by Linda Fabiani (Thursday, May 29, 2008): I have recently commissioned an audit of the measures that are currently in place to promote the Scots language and what opportunities exist to make further progress. The Scottish Government's future funding priorities for Scots provision will be considered within the context of this audit and its outcome and I will, at that stage, examine how we can assist this extremely important sector of Scottish culture.

S3W-8781 Cathy Peattie: To ask the Scottish Executive whether the Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture has met representatives of Scottish Arts Council-supported Scots language organisations and, if not, when the minister plans to do so.
Answered by Linda Fabiani (Tuesday, February 05, 2008): I refer the member to the answer to question S3W-8782 on 5 February 2008.

S3W-8782 Cathy Peattie: To ask the Scottish Executive how it plans to apply the provisions of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages to the Scots language.
Answered by Linda Fabiani (Tuesday, February 05, 2008): Scots is a valuable part of our cultural life. I am keen to see its use promoted in education, the arts and literature. For this reason I have asked for an audit of what measures are currently in place to promote the Scots language, and what opportunities exist to make further progress.

The cycle of reporting for the Third Periodic Report on the Council of Europe Charter for Regional and Minority Languages has commenced and the Scottish Government will be providing information to the Council of Europe in connection with the undertakings which have been agreed for Gaelic and Scots.

In connection with the Scots language, the Scottish Government will be writing to authorities and public bodies to remind them of the Charter undertakings and to ask what provision is in place in their areas. At a later stage we will be informing the Council of Europe of the terms of our proposed audit of Scots language provision and the progress we hope to make with this in connection with our Charter undertakings.

My colleague, the Minister for Schools and Skills, and I have both met and corresponded with a range of Scots language organisations. This includes groups supported by the Scottish Arts Council and others.

The fundamental aim behind the United Nation’s International Year of Languages, 2008, is the preservation and promotion of linguistic diversity. We share this aim, welcome this initiative and will encourage local authorities and schools to engage with national and international initiatives such as this.

The proposals in the previous administration’s report, A Strategy for Scotland’s Languages, are being taken forward by a range of business areas within the Scottish Government.

S3W-8783 Cathy Peattie: To ask the Scottish Executive how it plans to mark the UN’s International Year of Languages 2008, with particular reference to activities and events that promote and encourage the Scots language.
Answered by Linda Fabiani (Tuesday, February 05, 2008): I refer the member to the answer to question S3W-8782 on 5 February 2008.

S3W-5124 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S3W-4117 by Linda Fabiani on 26 September 2007, whether it has any plans to consult dialect interest groups and other bodies on the development of policies to support and encourage the use of local dialects and, if so, when the consultation will take place, what form it will take and which groups and bodies will be consulted.
Answered by Linda Fabiani (Wednesday, October 31, 2007): The Scottish Government is committed to promoting and encouraging the use of Scots in all its regional forms in education, broadcasting and the arts. As stated in the answer to question S3W-4117 on 26 September 2007, we have no plans for a formal consultation on the use of dialects in Scotland but would always welcome the views of groups and individuals on this subject.

S3W-5125 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S3W-4117 by Linda Fabiani on 26 September 2007, whether it has any policies for supporting and encouraging the use of local dialects in Scotland, including in Shetland, and, if so, what these policies are.
Answered by Linda Fabiani (Wednesday, October 31, 2007): I refer the member to the answer to question S3W-5124 on 31 October 2007.

S3W-5126 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S3W-4117 by Linda Fabiani on 26 September 2007, what plans it has to develop policies for supporting and encouraging the use of local dialects in Scotland, including in Shetland.
Answered by Linda Fabiani (Wednesday, October 31, 2007): I refer the member to the answer to question S3W-5124 on 31 October 2007.

S3W-4117 - Tavish Scott (Shetland) (LD) (Date Lodged 7 September 2007): To ask the Scottish Executive whether its policies for Scotland's languages will reflect the diversity and vigour of Scotland's many dialects.
Answered by Linda Fabiani (26 September 2007): The Scottish Government will seek to promote the richness and diversity of the languages spoken in Scotland in their different forms. Good progress is being made in a number of areas of language activity and promotion within Scotland and we intend to build on and strengthen this. The submissions to the previous administration's consultation on a strategy for Scotland's languages have been useful and helpful but Scottish ministers have no current plans to respond to these nor to develop or consult on a single strategy for all the languages spoken in Scotland.

Bill Wilson: ... as you know, convener, at the away day I raised several times the issue of the Scots language. I would like to know fairly soon whether the Executive has any particular strategies on that and how it proposes to ensure equality for Scots language speakers. In the past, the Scots language has been neglected and its issues have not been raised -- they have been quietly dropped. I do not want them to be dropped in the Parliament. Although I accept the suggestion that there is no point in asking for the strategy just now, I would like some kind of note to be passed forward, saying that the issue of the Scots language should be raised. (col 10 Equal Opportunities Committee meeting, 11 September 2007)