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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

Education group talking havers - academic

17th July 2007

A senior academic from Aberdeen University's Department of English has said the head of a right wing education group is talking "havers". Derrick McClure hit out at Nick Seaton after the York based Campaign for Real Education criticised proposals to teach children Scots. In the Sunday Times (8 July 2007), Nick Seaton said that schools, "should be getting the basics right before indulging a minority interest such as Scots". Seaton was responding to news that the Scottish Arts Council and others have suggested that the Scottish Executive should establish an agency to support Scots. The CRE has been a long standing opponent of linguistic diversity in the UK and has adopted a hostile position to the teaching of Welsh in schools in the principality. CRE has been unable to explain why it has maintained its position on Welsh when evidence shows that children educated in Welsh medium schools consistently outperform those in monoglot English schools. All recent academic and educational research on the subject shows that teaching pupils more than one language helps develop their intellectual skills. Derrick McClure described the CRE's views as "short sighted nonsense that all thinking people should have put behind them years ago." Michael Hance from the Scots Language Centre said that Seaton's views appeared to be based on him, "knowing nothing about Scotland, nothing about our education system and nothing about the Scots language. Sales of books from children's publisher Itchycoo show how much public enthusiasm there is for Scots." Seaton claims that the CRE has 3000 members, based mostly in England. Despite Scotland having its own education system and its own government the CRE has no office in the country, no staff here and no Scotland based campaign strategy.