The teaching of languages in Scottish schools has been in long-term decline for several years, so it is welcome news that a new language may soon be added to the national curriculum.

The fact that the new language is Polish is a sign of the changing national landscape in Scotland. Some 60,000 Poles live in Scotland and many of them have children attending local schools. Introducing Polish would be a way for the children to maintain and strengthen the Polish cultural identity, but it would also meet the growing demand for Polish from other pupils who hear it spoken more and more around them and would like to learn it.

There would also be benefits for Scotland as a whole in teaching Polish The most recent report by Scotland's Chief Statistician showed that Poles are the most economically active group in Scotland and anything which encourages them to stay is good for the economy. But learning Polish could help Scots tap into the Polish export market, which is the UK's 9th biggest.

The introduction of Polish would also help underline the importance of language learning in schools. The teaching of a foreign language is sometimes seen as a non-essential in a world where English is everywhere, but teaching Polish, Russian, Chinese and more familiar languages such as German and French can produce brighter, more able pupils and help promote a more outward-looking, successful country.