Language Policy Project

‘Foreign, indigenous and community languages in the devolved regions of the UK: policy and practice for growth.’


This project is a key component of the Leadership Fellowship and is led by Janice Carruthers. It focuses on policy in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, complementing research on policy in the OWRI MEITS project which has a greater (but not exclusive) focus on Whitehall.


The underpinning research questions are:

  • Where does responsibility for language policy lie in the three devolved administrations (foreign language learning, indigenous languages and community languages)? Are policies regarding these categories ‘joined up’ within the devolved administrations or do they lie in different departments? What are the implications of this?
  • What elements of foreign language learning policy in the devolved administrations provide evidence of capacity to increase the numbers studying foreign languages at school and third level? How do these relate to policy in England? What are the challenging issues?
  • What are the successful components in existing strategies for indigenous minoritised languages and community languages? How successful have different approaches been to questions of standards and regional variation? What can be learnt – either negatively or positively – from policy in two contrasting contexts outside the UK, i.e. France (where regional languages have all but disappeared in certain regions, struggle to survive in others but show evidence of revitalisation elsewhere) and the Republic of Ireland (where a minoritised language is one of the two ‘official’ languages of the State)