After English, Polish is now the most commonly spoken language in the UK. The numbers speaking it probably total around a million - the children and grandchildren of the wartime exiles in addition to the new migrants who arrived after 2004. More people in Scotland now speak Polish than Gaelic.

The British response to this situation?

In Scotland, the idea has been floated of introducing Polish into the state school curriculum. In England, it has just been announced that A Level Polish is to be withdrawn in 2018.

I should declare an interest. My wife is Polish, part of the generation that made their home in the UK after the war. Both her parents fought against the Nazis, her father as an artillery officer in the Polish army, her mother as a nurse in North Africa. They couldn't return home. The Soviets murdered 20,000 of my father-in-law's fellow officers, most dispatched with a bullet to the back of the head.

My wife's first language was Polish and she brought up our children bi-lingually. This meant Saturday for them was no day off study. Instead, throughout their childhoods and teenage years, there was a seventy mile round trip and four hours of Polish school. GCSE and A Level Polish were additional study burdens - but great incentives to continue the formal study of their mother tongue until at least the age of eighteen.

The news that A Level Polish is to be withdrawn came out of the blue. No consultation. No warning. It's a case study of the inanities of the A Level system in England. Scottish families should be very glad they are spared its absurdities.

For example, the decision about Polish was made by an examination board, AQA, not the Department for Education. When the Polish community raised the matter with Nicky Morgan, the Education Minister, she shrugged her shoulders and said it was the exam board's business, not hers.

I taught A Levels for many years, mainly History. Every year, my colleagues and I would review the syllabuses offered by different exam boards to pick one that "best suited the needs of our students." ie the one we thought easiest!

There are fewer boards now than there were then but curriculum development in England is still like going to the supermarket, considering the wares offered by different exam boards to attract customers, trying to spot any advantageous special offers.

At least in Scotland, when students sit a History paper, all of them from Wick to Wigton, answer the same questions.

But how can AQA withdraw Polish when the number of children attending Polish Saturday schools has increased hugely in recent years? Profit margins. Apparently, the costs of employing examiners are too high relative to the number of candidates.

Maybe all this is indicative of the evolution of English culture: blinkered short-termism, knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.

It's not just Polish A Level that is threatened. Punjabi, Bengali, Hebrew are also to be cut. So much for international understanding and the valuing of diversity. The roots of the Little Englander mentality behind UKIP become more understandable.

The silver lining for Scotland is that if Polish examinations are introduced north of the border, there will be plenty of additional customers in the booming Polish Saturday schools down south.

Poles never give up easily, no matter the odds. There's a campaign to reverse AQA's decision. But it'll be a great reassurance to Poles to know there's a part of the UK sympathetic to them and their culture. Who says the differences between Scots and English are wafer thin?

Perhaps Herald readers would like to learn some of the language of their Polish neighbours or colleagues? After AQA's decision, two words might be especially useful: "tak" - yes; "niepodległość" - independence.

Nye-pod-leg-wosh-ch. Nobody ever said independence was easy!