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Languages: Education

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what recent steps the Government has taken to improve the quality of teaching foreign languages in schools. (184117)

[holding answer 4 February 2008]: My hon. Friend will be aware from my answer of 13 December that the Children’s Plan, published that month, has announced a review of the primary curriculum that will examine how best to introduce languages as a compulsory subject in primary schools.

We are taking a number of steps to build up the capacity of the primary school system to deliver this, including a teacher training programme in a primary languages specialism. This has so far trained nearly 3,000 teachers, with thousands more to be trained over the next few years. A report by Ofsted, published on 29 January, showed that trainees on the course are being well prepared as future teachers of languages. Increased funding for local authorities to support the delivery of primary languages—£32.5 million in 2008-09, up from £27.5 million in 2007-08 will help schools to buy in specialist advice or resources. Teachers can also make use of sources of support in the classroom, such as schemes of work in French, German and Spanish and materials on the Primary Languages Training Zone, the online training resource for teaching and learning languages at Key Stage 2.

My answer of 13 December set out what we are doing to raise standards of teaching and learning at Key Stage 3. In addition, to ensure that gains made at primary level are not lost, CILT, the National Centre for Languages, is working with groups of primary and secondary schools in a variety of contexts to develop solutions to transition, and will be publishing draft guidelines later this term. There is already guidance for schools in the Key Stage 2 Framework for Languages and as part of the National Strategies and CILT Key Stage 3 programme to ensure that teaching of languages in secondary school builds on progress made earlier.