Briggs concerned about decline in Capital’s Modern Language Assistants.

The number of modern language assistants working in Edinburgh’s schools remained at a low of only 24 in 2016/17, the same as in 2015/16 and some 20 fewer than the 44 working in the city in 2004/05. The statistic was revealed to Lothian Tory MSP Miles Briggs in a Parliamentary answer from Education Secretary John Swinney.

Commenting today Miles Briggs said:

“ It is a matter of real concern that the number of modern language assistants working in schools in Edinburgh has declined by such a significant amount compared to the number typically working between 2003 and the end of the last decade.

“ John Swinney says that the Scottish Government values the contribution of modern language assistants but it is difficult to reconcile this sentiment with the fact that his SNP Government has presided over such a fall in their number in the capital and indeed across Scotland more generally.

“ Parents in Edinburgh are very clear that modern language assistants play a really important role in modern language classes, not just in improving pupils’ conversational skills but in increasing understanding and awareness of other countries and cultures. As many pupils as possible should have access to them as they can make such a difference when learning a modern language at school.

“ I will be following up this matter both in Parliament and with the Council and hope that we can see more efforts made to increase the number of these assistants working with Edinburgh’s pupils and helping develop the modern language skills that can be so important for job prospects for our young people.”


Miles Briggs