Last Updated: Monday, April 26, 2021

CLD Adult Literacy – Scots Resources

What is this?

Case study highlighting the development, during Covid-19, of Scots Literacy learning packs that promote informal learning, targeting older vulnerable, socially isolated adults.

Who is this for?

It is aimed at staff involved in Community, Learning and Development (CLD), adult education, family learning, youth work, ESOL and primary education;  all practitioners who have a role to play in supporting adult learners, or those working to support communities who have limited digital access.

Scots Literacy packsDuring Covid-19, Scots Literacy learning packs were developed that promoted informal learning and targeted older vulnerable, socially isolated adults. The packs celebrate the differences in Scots language, using a partnership approach to develop resources through the worker, museum partnership, learners contribution and community engagement.

Although the resources were created in the East of Scotland, learners across Scotland have accessed them and feedback has highlighted the interest and importance in learning about Scots Literacy from across Scotland.


Before the pandemic, Edinburgh CLD staff delivered Scots literacy in an informal way to community groups. Community members were keen to celebrate and promote Scots language and ensure it is not lost through time. Community forums in the area had also highlighted the lack of resources that are produced for socially isolated adults in the community. During lockdown the resources were developed to be downloadable, paper-based resources due to learners’ lack of digital equipment and skills. The Scots Literacy pack was designed as informal learning, easy to read document with easy to follow instructions as learners would be accessing the resources in their own homes, individually without tutor support due to Covid-19 restrictions. The resources were developed with certain sections following a format that learners could follow these include: how to use the pack, favourite words, poem/song, joke, quiz and feedback section- “Hae Your Say”.


The partnership consisted of Edinburgh CLD workers, community forums in south west Edinburgh, Age Scotland as well as the learners themselves, whilst distribution went even further through elderly projects with 170 contacts now on the distribution - with 120 organisations.

Organisations, who are distributed, have collated feedback for the main development group which includes quotes from learners which are then featured in future packs.

Edinburgh Museum and Galleries promoted the Auld Reekies Retold Project and have given access to thousands of images which are referenced in the packs, bringing in historical references and supporting the learning.

Learners have been key in the design and development of the packs giving feedback in area such as content giving a learner voice in the resources that are created.

Age Scotland printed off the Burns edition, including it as part of a Burns in a Bag initiative with 3000 copies being printed. Social isolated adults were targeted in January to coincide with Burns Day and support mental health of learners during a bleak month.


Scots Literacy packsFeedback is taking place on an ongoing basis with learners contributing to future packs, sharing poetry and comments on the resources. There has been feedback that has highlighted the support and improvement to mental health, loneliness and contact with socially isolated adults. Adults have also found it positive to highlight the rich diversity of Scots literacy, sharing and promoting Scots across Scotland highlighting the value of learning with a cultural focus. Learners have given feedback that the resources encourage positive memories, laughter and humour.

The partnership has improved links with sharing and developing the resources over time. The partnerships that have developed have broken down geographical barriers with learners across Scotland accessing the resources.

Feedback from participants:

"Oh, that Guid Fer A Laugh was so comical! I even took it to my bed to read (and it's not like me to do that!), and I've now read it cover to cover! I've kept all the books so far and I've learned about words and expression I've never heard of. Makes things so much more interesting. I think they're absolutely brilliant, I've had such a giggle to myself." - Dove Centre Service User

My clients really look forward to receiving these as it makes their day, especially this month’s edition as its follows the history of inspiration women. The feedback received has been 100% positive, everyone enjoys each issue received, especially the word searches and the quizzes. The Scottish language and phrases bring back some lovely memories and happy smiles, which are priceless after the effects of the lockdown.

Many thanks for sharing these packs of sunshine, I applause all the hard work and effort that goes into each and every edition published. 😊 - Fife Forum

These packs are super. They're suitable for both children and adults. The packs provide authentic, appropriate Scots language which can be learned and developed in different ways. I particularly enjoyed Sam the Skull and i'm sure many others will enjoy this too.

Learning is told through humour - always a good way to educate.

The 'Enable' format will be so useful for groups, well done!

The content is relevant and current and I'm sure all the hard work that has been put into these packs will benefit so many.

Very well done everyone!

Improvement questions

  • How am I helping adults to continue to engage in learning and wider opportunities?
  • What support and information can I signpost adults to?
  • How might the support and provision for adults need to be adapted or done differently during Covid-19?
  • How can I raise awareness of the needs of adults during this time and ensure that their needs and voices are heard in recovery planning?
  • How am I measuring the impact of new approaches and services and evolving these to suit the needs of adults?