La Grande Illusion: why Scottish further education has failed to grasp the potential of modern languages

Hannelore Doughty

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The most recently available data from the Scottish Qualifications Authority show that modern language provision in the Scottish further education sector is on the verge of a total collapse. Building on previous research by Doughty (2005) and Bourdieu’s concept of habitus this article shows how the self-perpetuating belief that ‘English is enough’ has unintentionally affected data that are used to inform the content of vocational qualifications. The taken-for-granted assumptions underlying the data collection methods are challenged and some alternative conceptualisations are proposed regarding the role of modern languages in vocational education and society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-14
Number of pages8
JournalScottish Languages Review
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2011


  • further education
  • labour market surveys
  • language statistics
  • relevance
  • habitus

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