Language teaching help announced


Thousands of teachers will receive extra training and support to improve the teaching of foreign languages, thanks to £1.8 million of government money to fund a series of new school-led programmes.

Schools across England will now teach the new, more challenging languages curriculum - including a new requirement for languages to be compulsory for children aged 7 to 11 years.

The English Baccalaureate (EBacc), introduced by the government in 2010, has already helped reverse the decline in the numbers taking languages GCSE - 7% of GCSE entries this year were in languages, and the number of young people taking languages GCSEs this year was higher than in 2008.

As part of its work to help teachers introduce the new programme of study, the Department for Education has given £1.8 million to 9 projects that will work with more than 2,000 primary and secondary schools over the next 2 years across England.

In March, a survey by the British Council and the CfBT Education Trust showed that while schools were "overwhelmingly positive" about the change, three-quarters felt that implementing it would be a challenge.

Of 591 primary schools polled, 23% said their teachers had only GCSEs in foreign languages, 31% had teachers with A-level and 30%, a degree in modern languages - but this figure was down from 40% the previous year.

The new projects will focus on supporting teachers in the new languages curriculum, including speaking, writing, grammar, translation and the introduction of foreign language literary texts in secondary school.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said: "By learning a foreign language young people can go on to study and work abroad, but it's not just that.

"Knowledge of different languages and cultures is increasingly important to employers in the UK too. That's why the ability to speak and understand different languages is vital if young people are going to leave school able to get a job and get on in life.

"We know that teachers are integral to this language revival so we are backing these schemes, led by teachers, for teachers, so they have the support they need to prepare our young people for life in modern Britain."

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