FLEA BITES: Language Learning on the Verge of Crisis

Language Learning In Secondary Schools Is On The Verge Of Crisis

The facts show that the learning of Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) in schools is on the verge of a crisis. The Teaching Schools Council published data in November 2016 showing that less than half of secondary school pupils take a MFL GCSE with just one third achieving a good grade. It also reports that there is a chronic shortage of MFL teachers.

The Future of Modern Languages in Secondary Schools

The situation has prompted *Westminster Briefing to hold an event entitled, “The Future of Modern Languages in Secondary Schools” on Tuesday 25th April 2017 at ETC Venues in London. The Morning session will focus on, ‘The Future of Modern Languages’ with the Afternoon session dedicated to ‘Strategies to improve Engagement and Attainment.’

**Ian Bauckham, who will be speaking at the conference has said, “Modern foreign languages in our schools are in a very fragile state. We heard many examples during our enquiry, of schools restricting their languages curriculum in recent years and these decisions were more often than not driven by small or falling pupil numbers. Without concerted action, languages in our schools are at risk, and may become confined to certain types of school and certain sections of the pupil population.”

A Lack Of Interest In Learning A Second Language

Ian Bauckham’s reference that the language curriculum restrictions are driven more by small or falling numbers seems to indicate a lack of interest in learning a second language from pupils. Schools are now trying to learn how they can deliver much-needed improvements in the standards of language teaching and find out the best ways to increase pupils’ interest and success, which has been prompted by recent changes also being made to MFL GCSE assessments.

Ian Bauckham goes on to say that, “As a teacher and a linguist, I know that there are powerful educational benefits and career and workplace advantages to be gained from studying a modern foreign language. It is also important that, as a country, the United Kingdom has a strong foreign language capacity. To underline the importance of languages in schools and to incentivise take up, the government has included a language at GCSE in the English Baccalaureate suite of qualifications.”

Learn French At An Early Age

Here at Les Puces, we think that learning another language should start at grass roots level. It is well known that pre-school and primary education opens minds and hearts to subjects that young adults will later choose to study. Virtually all other subjects are introduced in one form or another at a very early age, so why not languages? At a time when we need our workforce to be more flexible with languages than ever before, we need to give our children the tools they need to compete in the global market place.

Les Puces is the French language class of choice in the South East and has classes from Portsmouth to Whitstable and from Brighton to Bromley where children can learn French in an innovative and inspiring way. Please call us 01892 457135 or 07534 954807 to learn more and book your child onto a class near to you.




*Westminster Briefing is part of Dods Group Plc, Europe's leading political information, public affairs & policy communication specialist.

** Ian Bauckham is Executive Head Teacher of the Bennett Memorial Diocesan School and CEO of the Tenax Schools Trust, a multi academy trust. Ian has an MA in Modern and Medieval Languages from the University of Cambridge, and Master's degrees in Education and Philosophy.

Photos from DepositPhotos and Les Puces

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