Skip to main content

Foreign Language Teaching

Volume 455: debated on Tuesday 16 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what progress has been made in the teaching of foreign languages in primary schools. (115289)

According to the latest Headspace survey, conducted by Education Guardian and EdComs, 71 per cent. of all English primary schools are either delivering or planning to deliver language learning programmes—a significant increase since 2002 when only 20 per cent. of primary schools were offering opportunities to learn languages. The Department, over the two financial years 2006-08, will have distributed £49.5 million amongst all local authorities through the Standards Fund to support language learning programmes.

To build workforce capacity in English primary schools, the Department funds the cost of initial teacher training for new primary teachers with a languages specialism in French, Spanish, German, Italian or Portuguese. To date 2,000 new teachers with a language specialism have been trained.

In addition, we are funding training for existing primary teachers with language skills so that they too can support language learning programmes in their schools.

Finally, we have published the Key Stage 2 Framework for Languages which offers a practical reference tool for planning, teaching and monitoring the learning process.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will re-instate as compulsory the teaching of foreign languages in secondary schools. (112786)

Lord Dearing is currently carrying out a review of language learning in secondary schools and is due to submit his final report to the Secretary of State for Education and Skills by the end of February. The Secretary of State will consider Lord Dearing’s recommendations and formally respond to them.