LLAS News Blog

News articles of interest to higher education LLAS subject fields.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Gender row cooking up in classroom

JANET is adjusting the calibration of her lathe. John is lightly stewing the apples to make a juicy turnover.

Welcome to the future of Scottish education - for the Executive and qualification chiefs are to launch a radical bid to close the gender gap and move towards a 50/50 split of boys and girls in every subject taught in schools and colleges.


In Highers, female candidates make up the majority of entries in French, administration and biology, while computing and graphic communication remain the almost exclusive bastion of boys.

Sunday, 29th July 2007
Scotland on Sunday

Friday, 27 July 2007

The play's the thing

Rogelio Vallejo explains why the British are so poor at languages ad how his Bristol University course can help to put it right.

Friday 27th July 2007, p. 19
THES (subsciption required for online version)

'No promises' over Irish language

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams appears not to have won any promises about an Irish language act from the culture minister.

Thursday, 26th July 2007
BBC website

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

CILT news: Increase in language degree applications

Current UCAS data, released 19 July, indicates that many languages are experiencing increases in applications for single and major honours degrees this year. Notably, Japanese applications are up by 41%, German by 20% and Modern Middle Eastern Studies by 10%. This is compared with a 6% overall increase in applications across all subjects, compared to this time last year.

UCAS press release

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Urdu won't solve Britain's classroom crisis

Opinion piece by Sheila Lawlor.

Sunday 15th July 2007
Sunday Telegraph

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Translation tool may aid troops

A wristwatch-based translation device, designed to help British soldiers overcome language barriers, could be in production by the end of the year.

Friday, 13th July 2007
BBC website

New tour guide course speaks right language

UNIVERSITY bosses have launched a new course to train people who speak Mandarin, Cantonese and Russian to become tour guides. Heriot-Watt has 18 places on the course, which is aimed at improving Scottish tourism links with Russia and China.

Monday, 16th July 2007
Edinburgh Evening News

Call for lessons to keep Scots language alive

The Scots language should be put on a par with Gaelic, according to some responses to 'A Strategy for Scotland's Languages'

Tuesday 17th July
The Scotsman

Melissa Leach: Village voice

To know what's happening around the world, you must ask the locals, the anthropologist tells Jessica Shepherd

Tuesday 17th July 2007
The Guardian

Friday, 13 July 2007

Anger at security service language school closure

David Miliband is being asked to reverse a "moronic" decision to close down a secure Whitehall language training school attended by GCHQ and security services staff involved in counterterrorism. The Foreign Office language school offers the security services, diplomats and MPs individual lessons in 41 languages by security-vetted staff in Whitehall.

Wednesday, 11th July 2007
The Guardian

Language skills warning

Members of the Scottish Assoc­iation for Language Teaching (SALT) have joined other organisations in calling on the Scottish Executive to give greater funding and prominence to the teaching of traditional European and minority community languages. Many of the respondents to the executive’s proposed A Strategy for Scotland’s Languages argued that Scots are already being disadvantaged, at home and abroad, because of poor language skills compared with other nations.

Friday 13th July
Times Education Supplement

Uni offers degree in northernness

University students can learn about coal-mining, rugby league and brass bands as part of a new degree course in northern life.

The one-year Master of Arts course in Northern Studies will run at Leeds Metropolitan University from September

Thursday 12th July 2007
BBC website

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Curriculum to be 'more flexible'

England's secondary curriculum is being overhauled to give teachers more flexibility in the classroom whilst focusing on the basics, ministers say.

A quarter of the school day is to be freed up so that teachers can focus more on individual students' needs.

But more subjects like personal finance and cookery are set to be included - plus languages like Mandarin and Urdu.

Thursday 12th July 2007
BBC Website

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Sarah Churchwell: Why can't British students write like Americans?

Expression and thought are linked. Crude language means crude thinking

Wednesday, 11th July 2007

The Independent

Why do Turkish pupils lag behind?

Turkish and Kurdish pupils are doing worse at school than nearly all other ethnic minority groups, recent results suggest.
BBC News education reporter Hannah Goff visited a school in Hackney, east London, to find out why.

Monday 9th July 2007
BBC website

DEBATE: Should we simplify spelling?

Masha Bell, a member of the society and author of Understanding English Spelling, believes that reform of the spelling of the English language could help children learn to read and make life easier for some adults too.

Prof Vivian Cook, a linguist, expert in second language learning and author of Accomodating Brocolli in the Cemetary, believes changing spellings would be unnecessary, expensive and could harm children's ability to read.

Tuesday 10th July 2007
BBC website

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Government defends Bologna university initiative

The government admitted today that it must do more to address confusion about the Bologna university initiative and to allay fears that the process is intended to "harmonise" European education systems.


Tt said it would be a "mistake" for the UK not to engage with the process, as it would allow students to move more freely between European universities and offer them the chance to acquire experience, language skills, cultural awareness and other skills.

Tuesday, 3rd July
The Guardian

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

New Scottish Poetry

In collaboration with Edinburgh: UNESCO City of Literature, British Council Scotland has commissioned new poetry in Gaelic, Scots and English to reflect the diversity of language in Scotland today. The poems have accompanying educational packs which will be available soon and can be used by teachers in the UK and internationally.

British Council

IRELAND: Courts body to fork out €2m on interpreters as demand rises

THE Courts Service will spend €2m on interpreters this year - 20 times more than it spent in 2000.

The contract for interpretation services now covers hundreds of different languages as diverse as Vietnamese, Turkish and Swahili, and the total payout has jumped from €103,000 in 2000 to €1.25m two years ago to €2m this year.

Monday 2 July 2007
Irish Independent

Monday, 2 July 2007

Strategic split or messy divorce?

Examines the implications of splitting the old Department for Education and Skills in two.

Saturday, 30 June 2007
BBC website

Language change opposed in poll

The majority of people in Wales do not want a change in the law which governs the use of the Welsh language, a new poll for BBC Wales suggests.

Monday, 2nd July 2007
BBC website