Foreign Language Set To Become Part of Primary National Curriculum
UK – Learning a foreign language will become a compulsory part of the primary school syllabus, the government is to reveal in the next few days. Education Secretary Michael Gove is expected to announce the plans which include learning French, German, Greek, Latin, Spanish or Mandarin alongside normal subjects such as Maths and English. Part of the announcement was the revelation that pupils as young as five will be expected to learn and recite poetry.
The plans are part of a major overhaul of the education system which ministers are hoping will make students better prepared for competition in the global workplace. Growing concerns over a dramatic decline in numbers of students taking foreign language GCSE’s have also contributed to the proposals. Compared to 75 percent of pupils entering for GCSE language exams in 2002, only 43 percent of students were recorded in 2010 as having entered for a foreign language GCSE exam.
Stephen Twigg, shadow education secretary welcomed the Tory-LibDem ideas, saying “I think it’s absolutely right. Children will get a love of languages if they start them young.”
Children’s writer and poet, Michael Rosen however expressed scepticism towards the proposals. Writing on his blog, he said the plans implied “the itch to instruct and dictate to teachers and children because it will do them good.”
According to official figures, one out of every ten state school in the UK offers no language subjects, with a further 20 percent only providing lessons to certain ages. An Ofsted report last year found a quarter of all primary schools in the UK depended on outside help from specialist tutors to come in and teach language lessons.
Proposals for the new initiative have stemmed from a report conducted by a panel of experts on the future of the national curriculum. Chairing the panel was the director of research at the Cambridge Assessment exam board, Tim Oates,
A public consultation will be held later in the year, before a scheduled introduction of the plans begins as early as 2014.