FOR many of us, speaking Scots in the classroom would have resulted in a sharp rebuke.

But now pupils at one Aberdeenshire school are to use the leid for learning as researchers examine whether or not this will boost grades across subjects.

Banff Academy will work with Aberdeen University's Elphinstone Institute to work out whether studying towards the Scots Language Award – a national qualification – aids attainment.

Lead researcher Claire Needler and humanities teacher Dr Jamie Fairbairn will observe the impact on young learners.

Needler said: "More than 50% of people in Aberdeenshire identify as Scots or Doric speakers, with even higher numbers in our northern coastal communities. Working in partnership with pupils from Banff Academy has shown me that Scots is very much a living language that is used every day.

“Jamie Fairbairn has a real passion for the Scots language and has been teaching the Scots Language Award for a number of years.

“He has observed that for many of the pupils, having an opportunity to engage with and to write in the language of their homes can help them to excel. It can provide a real boost in confidence which reaps rewards not only in this area but right across the curriculum.

“However, this is purely anecdotal and we wanted to investigate it in a more robust way.”

She went on: "Doric, or North-East Scots, is a regional dialect of the Scots language, one of three indigenous languages in Scotland, alongside English and Gaelic.

"Scots speakers are actually bilingual, and this is an additional language skill that many pupils do not even recognise that they have.

Fairbairn said: “Since we introduced the Scots Language Award in 2014 it has been enthusiastically received by many of our pupils.

“Many of our students come from Doric speaking families and have grown up using the Scots language, however many have never had an opportunity to write in it or to use it in a more academic way.

“For some, it has had a quite transformative effect. They can see that this is a subject in which they can really shine and, particularly for those who may have struggled in some other areas, it can boost their self-esteem which in turn has an impact on their wider achievement in school."

He added: “Doric is a wonderfully expressive dialect in which to write and the pupils have really engaged with it.”

Councillor Gillian Owen, chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee, said: “It is very pleasing to see Aberdeenshire’s rich cultural heritage being used to educate, inspire and excite young people as well as giving them the opportunity to learn about their mother tongue."

Commenting, The National’s Scots columnist Ashley Douglas called the project “gey braw news,” adding: “Multi-lingualism is a guid thing, whitivver the leids, but whit braw forby tae Scots recognised an treatit as the national language that it is.”