THE teaching of the Scots language is having a positive impact on the attainment of pupils in English qualifications, according to a new report.

Research shows teachers believe the language can particularly help disengaged pupils and those who are not high academic achievers.

The findings comes in a report from curriculum body Education Scotland which explores the use of Scots in primary and secondary schools.

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There have been attempts in recent years to support the language with a new online resource for teachers providing information on the history of Scots as well as tips on grammar and spelling.

Herald View: Braw news that speaking Scots is helping pupils

Scots now has official recognition in the new Curriculum for Excellence, which calls on schools to support children in maintaining their own first language.

And the Scottish Government has also made a commitment to increasing awareness of Scots language, literature and song.

However, there are still negative attitudes towards Scots, with some arguing it is a dialect rather than a language and others believing it to be a slang form of English.

In 2011, an official survey found nearly two-thirds of the Scottish public do not believe Scots is a real language.

Herald View: Braw news that speaking Scots is helping pupils

The new report from Education Scotland said most teachers interviewed during school visits agreed the use of Scots could help to engage “reluctant learners”.

It said: “At the primary school where Scots was included in the expressive arts curriculum, staff were clear that this was increasing the confidence of some learners to a notable extent.

“In particular, the use of Scots gave some lower-attaining children the confidence to take on leadership roles for the first time.”

The report found the use of Scots allowed young people to participate in class discussions and complete written tasks much more successfully than usual.

It added: “Pupils greatly increased their confidence as a result and went on to perform well in national qualifications in English.

“Teachers interviewed in another secondary school felt that allowing pupils to use Scots removed the barriers to learning experiences for some, and created opportunities for them to access the curriculum.

“There was evidence that the use of Scots resulted in improvements in some lower-attaining pupils’ writing skills, motivation and behaviour.”

The report’s findings were welcomed by Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney.

Herald View: Braw news that speaking Scots is helping pupils

He said: “This report highlights how learning and using Scots language in the classroom can help young people become confident learners who appreciate Scotland’s linguistic heritage and culture.

“The Scottish Government takes the promotion and preservation of Scots language seriously and our ambition is for Scots language to be recognised, valued and used in Scottish public and community life.”

?An Education Scotland spokeswoman said: "Our review of the impact on literacy of learning Scots provided clear evidence of the educational benefits of including Scots in children and young people’s experiences. "Education Scotland will continue to support teachers and learners through our Scots initiatives.

"We would encourage schools and early learning settings to consider how they could enhance their learners’ experiences and achievements by including Scots in their curriculum."

Herald View: Braw news that speaking Scots is helping pupils

The Education Scotland research was conducted at a number of primary and secondary schools in April this year.

In most of the schools visited Scots is part of the literacy and English curriculum.

It can also be taught in Scottish Studies and Scots Language Awards in secondary or as part of expressive arts.