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)


Meet The Team

Anik Nandi

Former Postdoctoral Research Assistant

For this project, Anik worked on language policy and practice in relation to community languages in Northern Ireland and Scotland. Anik left this role in early 2020 on completion of his research work.

Anik Nandi holds a PhD in Sociolinguistics (‘Language Policies on the Ground: Parental Language Management in Urban Galician Homes’) which he completed at Herriot Watt University under the supervision of Professor Bernadette O’Rourke. Before joining Queen’s, he was directly involved in language planning with regard to the Galician language and acted in an advisory capacity to the General Directorate of Language Policy in Galicia, Spain. He has published extensively in English, Spanish, Galician and Bengali in several academic and non-academic journals. He is also an external collaborator at the Sociolinguistic Seminar of the Royal Academy of the Galician Language (Spain) and at the research centre attached to the UNESCO Chair on World Language Heritage at the University of the Basque Country (Spain).

Bernardette Holmes

Bernardette Holmes MBE

Bernardette Holmes MBE is Director of Speak to the Future, the national campaign for languages and Past President of the Association for Language Learning. She is Director of CLERA (Cambridge Language Education and Research Associates) and Trustee/Director of CIOL/IoLET. Her current research focus is on languages policy and employment.


Bernardette conceptualised and was Principal Investigator of Born Global, a major policy research project, funded by the British Academy, engaging key stakeholders from employment and education in a radical rethinking of languages education for 21st century Britain.

Bernadette Holmes is a language consultant, who has previously advised government on curriculum reform for modern languages in primary and secondary schools. She is a drafter of the new AS and A level Subject Content Criteria for modern foreign languages and writer of the GCSE criteria for both modern and ancient languages.

Bernardette is recognized as an innovative and inspiring linguist, who throughout a long career in languages, as adviser, inspector, teacher trainer and researcher, has made a major contribution to languages education in England.  Bernardette received an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2015 for services to languages education as a teacher and a modern languages advocate.

Leanne Henderson

Research Fellow in Language Policy

Leanne joined the Leadership Fellow Team to undertake research into modern languages education policy, provision and practice in the devolved regions. She is particularly interested in language learner aspirations and expectations in relation to curriculum and assessment.

Before undertaking a PhD in Education at Queen’s University Belfast, which focused on the transition to secondary education in Northern Ireland, she worked as a French teacher and Head of Modern Languages at post-primary level.