French could be the first foreign tongue taught in Perth and Kinross primary schools under plans to ensure children learn a second language.
The Scottish Government has committed to introduce a new norm for language learning based on the European Union’s 1+2 model.
It envisages every child having an opportunity to learn two languages in addition to their first language by 2020.
The first modern language will be introduced from Primary 1, with the second language commencing no later than Primary five.
Following an audit of modern language skills carried out in Perth and Kinross primary schools in November 2013, it was found that French is the most commonly known language among school staff.
Of the 249 identified language skills, nearly two-thirds indicated French as a known language. German was the second most known language, followed by Spanish.
The audit showed that among primary staff 10 languages are spoken to some level, including Mandarin, Italian, Russian and Ukrainian, with some teachers having skills in more than one language.
Perth and Kinross Council executive director John Fyffe said: “Responses to this audit have informed current language provision with regard to languages taught and teachers trained to deliver in the primary sector.
“As French is the most commonly known modern language amongst primary teaching staff, initially, that will be the language that all children entering Primary one will learn in addition to their first language.
“This is known as L2 as it is a second language. In future it is envisaged that there will be a choice of L2.
“By no later than Primary five, all children will be expected to begin to learn a third language, known as L3.
“There is greater flexibility for schools and local management groups to choose different languages for L3 and this could include, for example Gaelic, Mandarin, Polish, Scots.”
Perth and Kinross councillors are tomorrow expected to approve proposals to make the 1+2 approach a feature of future school improvement plans.
They are also set to rubber stamp an ongoing training needs analysis to ensure teaching staff are fully trained.
Convener of the lifelong learning committee, Councillor Bob Band, said: “This approach ensures that all children will have access to learning additional languages and associated cultural aspects and give them a greater understanding of the multicultural society we live in.”