LLAS News Blog

News articles of interest to higher education LLAS subject fields.

Monday, 4 January 2010

DCSF statement on languages in schools

Statement from the Department of Children, Schools and Families
From http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/pns/DisplayPN.cgi?pn_id=2010_0002


As Mandarin becomes a GCSE this year, the Government is also today setting out their aspiration that all secondary school pupils should have the opportunity to learn languages like Mandarin if they choose and called for all primary schools to make sure they provide pupils with their entitlement to learn a foreign language from this year.

Through language partnerships between schools, Ministers want every school to have access to specialist teachers, and are encouraging Heads to join up with neighbouring schools to share knowledge and expertise to give all pupils the chance to learn.

From this year, all key stage 2 children in England should have the opportunity to learn a language in class time. This comes a year ahead of foreign languages becoming a compulsory part of the national curriculum for children over seven, which will allow schools to choose which language to teach, from Arabic to Mandarin, Japanese to French.

On top of putting more specialist language teachers into schools, Teach First is into its second year of a pilot to recruit the best language graduates to become specialist teachers in the most challenging schools, for two years.

Teach First is highly successful in secondary schools and the primary pilot has been designed to encourage the best candidates into the profession, and attract more specialist primary teachers.

To back up the Government’s commitment to get all children learning a language for at least 6 years, it has invested £7 million in training around 5,000 specialist primary language teachers since 2003 the most primary subject specialists to have ever been trained. Around one thousand more will start courses in September 2010, which means that around 7,000 language specialists will have been through the intensive training by September 2011, when learning a foreign language become a compulsory part of the primary curriculum.

Schools Secretary Ed Balls said:

"In this new decade our ties with emerging economies like China will become even more important and it’s vital that young people are equipped with the skills which they need, and British businesses need too, in order to succeed in a rapidly changing world.

“That’s why we want all secondary pupils to have the opportunity to learn up and coming languages like Mandarin if they choose, either at their own school or a nearby school or college.

“And to ensure children develop a love for languages early on, I want primary school pupils to be able to learn a foreign language from this year. That’s why we have invested £7 million in training 5,000 language specialist teachers with more to start training later this year as we make languages compulsory from the age of 7 in 2011.

“A growing number of schools are now teaching Mandarin and in the coming years I think we will see this subject sitting alongside French, Spanish and German as one of the most popular languages for young people to learn.

"At the heart of any excellent schools system are good teachers and we are continuing to invest in the schools workforce. The specialist maths teacher programme and the new Masters in Teaching and Learning add increased specialism and status to the teaching profession and will mean that our teaching standards remain excellent.

“Record investment and bold reforms have made a real difference to children and young people. Exam results have never been higher and schools, academies and colleges across the country are being rebuilt as part of the biggest investment in buildings for decades.”

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