Language Learning and the New Primary Curriculum

Learning a foreign language is important for so many reasons: for jobs, for accessing other cultures, for making friends…and some would say for world peace! Young children learn languages more easily than teenagers so it would seem a good idea to encourage an enthusiasm for languages as early as possible.

Labour’s proposals for a language on the primary curriculum by 2011 were abandoned by the Coalition when they came to power and much hard work by teachers and advisers was also lost. The situation is very different in private schools where languages are important at both primary and secondary level and Scotland has always been more supportive of language teaching.

Now there is cautious optimism in English state schools again. In September 2014, the new primary curriculum will require schools to teach a language at Key Stage 2, age 7 to 11. They can choose from French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Latin or Ancient Greek and they will be free to teach another language or languages in addition if they want. The teaching will be a balance of spoken and written language and focus on ‘familiar and routine matters’. The inclusion of Latin and Ancient Greek was controversial as was the exclusion of languages such as Arabic and Urdu but the proposals have been welcome despite concerns over funding. In fact 60% of schools already offer some language provision and there is much good practice and enthusiasm to build on.

Catherine Bruzzone

b small publishing ltd

About b small publishing

b small publishing publishes books for primary school aged children all around the world. Their specialisation is in language learning books and activity books and their passion for these subjects translates into great, colourful and fun books.

For more information and to view the full range of b small language learning books, click here.

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