Skip to main content

Language Teaching

Volume 404: debated on Thursday 8 May 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) if he will make a statement on the teaching of languages in secondary schools; [111711](2) what assessment he has made of the effects of languages being non-compulsory at GCSE level. [111712]

Our National Languages Strategy document, published in December 2002, makes clear our intention to ensure that the opportunity to learn languages has a key place in the transformed secondary school of the future. At Key Stage 3, all pupils will continue to have an opportunity to learn at least one language and develop cultural understanding. We also want to raise standards and enrich the language learning experience.The current National Curriculum requirements at Key Stage 4 include modern foreign languages. However, we do not believe that requiring schools to teach languages to every young person beyond the age of 14 is the best way forward. Around 36,000 pupils currently do not study a language at Key Stage 4 under the present disapplication arrangements. We therefore intend to amend the statutory requirement at Key Stage 4 so that schools will no longer be required to teach modern foreign languages to all pupils. However, every pupil has an entitlement to study a modern foreign language and are therefore required to ensure as a minimum that they are available to any pupil wishing to study them. Our ultimate goal is to move to a position where young people are motivated to study modern foreign languages, rather than being forced to do so.