Language policy & practice in the UK
Language policy & practice in the UK
Dr Lid King, Director of the Languages Company, was invited to attend the ‘No Island Is An Island’ Conference, hosted by the European Commission in London on 18 October 2013.
He and Baroness Blackstone, member of the House of Lords (UK upper chamber of Parliament) debated the merits of language learning.
The debate can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVXyCYFbsto&feature=youtu.be
The British Academy and the Guardian are holding a national Language Festival throughout November 2013 to celebrate the UK’s diverse cultural richness and raise the profile of language learning among learners of all ages.
The Language Festival website, hosted by the Guardian, provides a platform for schools, higher education institutions, policy makers and businesses from across the UK to debate and explore all the benefits of language learning.
It also includes useful resources, such as a series of downloadable packs for primary and secondary schools, and businesses, to provide ideas for organising events to celebrate languages.
The British Academy will also be hosting a series of public events.
Everyone is invited to get involved, and join the debate on Twitter using #languagesdebate
On 11 September 2013 the Secretary of State for Education published the new national curriculum framework following a series of public consultations. The majority of the new national curriculum will come into force from September 2014.
The big news is that languages will be compulsory in primary schools for the first time at Key Stage 2 (ages 7-11). Contrary to original proposals, put out for consultation earlier in the year, for an approved list of 7 languages (which included Latin and Ancient Greek), primary schools will now be free to teach any language at KS2.
Languages at secondary school remain compulsory only to KS3 (ages 11-14). The new KS3 curriculum refers to grammar, written texts (including literature and poetry) and translation.
The curriculum will be implemented in all maintained state schools in England (i.e. not private schools or state-funded academies or free schools, all of which have freedoms to devise their own curricula). In practice most primary schools are maintained schools whereas an increasingly large proportion of secondary schools are not.
The new national curriculum framework is available at:
The British Council is promoting the importance of building an international dimension into the education of young people in the UK at primary and secondary levels. The IEW section on the British Council website has lots of information on how to get involved and how to promote language learning. For details see: http://schoolsonline.britishcouncil.org
Not everyone will become a fluent linguist, but the aspiration for everyone to have 1000 Words in another language is realistic and achievable. The Speak to the Future Campaign is leading the way with the new 1000 Words Challenge. The key message is: Our society and our economic prospects will be vastly transformed for the better if everyone has 1000 Words of another language! For more information go to: www.speaktothefuture.org/
Join the national debate on the importance of language learning and help us put languages back on the agenda.’ The Guardian, supported by the British Academy, is running a series on the importance of languages in our society. Join the language festival on the campaign website: www.theguardian.com/education/series/the-case-for-language-learning
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