The government says ‘thousands’ more students will benefit from high quality language teaching as part of a programme to boost the number of pupils taking languages like French, German and Spanish at GCSE and A level.
Leading schools in language teaching will form a new Centre of Excellence, comprised of up to 25 schools, which will work with other schools to improve standards of language teaching across the country in line with the teaching methods set out in Ian Bauckham’s 2016 Modern Foreign Languages Pedagogy Review.
The programme will be backed by £14.9 million over the next three years, which will also aim to raise interest in studying German.
The programme will deliver on the pledge made in the Schools White Paper to create a network of language hubs and build significantly on the previous Modern Foreign Languages Hubs programme, which was made up of nine lead schools.
Languages are a key part of a broad and balanced curriculum and evidence suggests learning a language has strong economic benefits, including improving international trade. The British Council also identified that Spanish, Mandarin, French, Arabic, and German are the top five priority languages to improve the UK’s skills, security and influence in the world.
This initiative will support the Department for Education’s ambition that 90% of year 10 pupils in state-funded schools study a combination of the core academic subjects as part of the EBacc by 2025, which includes a language.
Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: “In an increasingly globalised economy, it has never been more important for our pupils to be taught modern foreign languages. There is mounting evidence which shows the economic benefits of learning an additional language.
“This programme will give teachers the rigorous training and knowledge they need to support pupils in learning some of the most prominent global languages such as French, German and Spanish.”
The Centre will be overseen by a centre of language teaching expertise – which could be a range of institutions including a trust, university or business – and will bid for the contract launched on November 14th.
The scheme will also raise the profile of learning German in schools including increasing awareness of the benefits of studying it, by setting up a German Promotion Project. Included within the investment, this project worth £400,000, will involve increasing the number of German teachers in schools and will champion German as a subject.
The Department has successfully launched Hubs Programmes for other subjects in the curriculum including English and mathematics, linking schools across the country to subject specialist schools – also known as Lead Hubs – which can support in increasing the quality of teaching.
The Lead Hubs will engage with schools to improve the languages offer and ensure more effective transition from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3, as well as ensuring pupils aged 14-18 from all backgrounds have the opportunity to study languages through to Key Stage 5.