FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Before contacting us directly you might find that your question – or something like it– it has already been answered.
Do we have to teach a language to pupils in KS2 now? (September 2010, updated May 2012)
The existing primary curriculum will remain in force until 2013-14 and this means that
From 2011 the earmarked funding to support primary languages was "mainstreamed" into the schools budget.
Longer term the position of primary languages will depend on the review of the national curriculum, but there is good reason to suppose that Ministers will favour the inclusion of languages in Key Stage 2 as this government statement makes clear. The Government's Expert Panel on the Curriculum also proposed in December 2011 that some form of primary languages should be compulsory.
What plans are there to continue funding to support primary languages? (September 2010, updated May 2011)
Until March 2011, the relevant guidance was contained in the Standards Fund letter which read as follows –
From April 2011 it was decided that most funding would be devolved to schools.
Many but not all existing general grants were incorporated in the dedicated schools grant
In relation to languages this means that the previous Specialist Schools grant became part of the DSG. As for the National Strategy grants, only the formula elements allocated to schools were included, consisting of Universal and Targeted elements, Leading Teachers, Every Child initiatives, Early Years Foundation Stage, and two-thirds of the Modern Foreign Languages allocation. The important point here is that at least part of the Languages allocation was notionally maintained. More details are available in the technical note on the DfE website.
Can I use some of my primary LA funds to support transition activities with both primary and secondary schools?
The short answer is yes. The guidance which was sent out with the standards fund allocation states:
Secondary – KS3
Our school is planning to reduce compulsory languages provision in Key Stage 3 to one year. Is this possible? (2010)
What about disapplication?
Disapplication is permitted, for individual pupils:
and, for groups of pupils or the school community, for a specified period:
How will the proposals for the English Bac affect us and when? (October 2010, updated April 2012)
He went on to stress the government's commitment to language learning, saying 'I am deeply concerned that fewer and fewer students are studying languages, it not only breeds insularity, it means an integral part of the brain's learning capacity rusts unused.'
The EBacc was then introduced as a performance measure in the 2010 performance tables. It is not a qualification in itself. The measure recognises where pupils have secured a C grade or better across a core of academic subjects – English, mathematics, history or geography, the sciences and a language. The initial suggestion was modified however so that the humanity GCSE can only be History or Geography, It was also made clear that only specified GCSEs would "count" and that this did not include Applied GGSEs or Asset Languages for example.
A survey of almost 700 maintained secondary schools carried out in August 2011 by the National Centre for Social Research, for DfE, showed a big increase in the number of pupils taking EBacc subjects . From September 2011, 52 per cent of the cohort was studying a language, compared with 43% in 2010/11 – an increase of 22%.Ministers have confirmed that these subjects will also be used for the 2011 measure, and we expect this to also be the case until the first changes to the National Curriculum are introduced in 2013. For more information click here.
Will my school have to offer a language in KS4? (September 2010, updated January 2012)
The question of the KS4 curriculum has been considered as part of the ongoing Curriculum review. In December 2011 the Expert Panel set out its views in a Framework for the National Curriculum, which proposes that languages should be re-introduced as statutory in KS4, As yet the nature of that curriculum has not been decided.
What is the KS4 Entitlement? (December 2009)
Since 2004 schools have had to provide the opportunity for students in KS4 to take a course in all four entitlement areas, including languages. QCA guidance on this stated that "schools must provide access to a minimum of one course in a modern foreign language that leads to a qualification under section 96 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000". It is for schools to timetable option blocks in such a way that pupils have a genuine choice, though of course it's up to them how they achieve this. Schools must provide the opportunity for students to take a course in all four entitlement areas, including languages, should they wish to do so. This was underscored in the letter sent by Jacqui Smith to all Head Teachers in 2006.
This covers the legal and administrative aspects. Of course there is a perhaps more important issue which is about the importance of languages for all pupils and the opportunities which the new curriculum and many of the most recent curricular and assessment developments are providing. There are many sources of argument in this area, among them materials produced by CILT and the Subject Centre in Languages Linguistics and Area Studies. The languages Review also provided much of the argument for languages and proposes how we might best take things forward.
What is the requirement for The Languages Benchmark in KS4? (May 2008 Updated May 2012)
What are the new regulations about family stays and CRB checks and will it affect our exchange programme? (October 2009)The new regulations come into force this autumn and they have caused some concern among teachers who organise the very valuable exchange visits which we strongly encourage. The new rules are probably not as stringent as some people have believed: there will for example be no cost involved as exchanges are a voluntary activity and they will also be phased in and so may not apply to your current exchanges until 2010. Here is the guidance from the DCSF.
You might also contact the British Council with their long experience of exchanges
Of course most schools do in any case vet the suitability of families, and most parents understand amd expect this. Even so we would be interested to hear of how these new regulations work in practice and whether any further clarification might be needed.