It is now compulsory for children to learn a language from Key Stage Two (ages 7 to 11). The children will have a choice between French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Spanish, Latin or Ancient Greek. This is a new requirement implemented to create a more uniform approach across England, with a greater focus on grammar and written languages.
According to the Department of Education programme of study: ‘High-quality language education should foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world.The teaching should enable pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing’ .
In a recent European study of 16 countries, English teachers were scoring the lowest for having foreign language skills.
A positive first step towards improving language skills in all key stages, is to start earlier. Fortunately schools are providing this start. You can enhance their skills by visiting the country whose language they are studying – take a language book for the whole family to use in shops. For example if visiting France, go to the local patisserie, boulangerie and the boucherie and get them to order using their new phrases! This really builds up their confidence.
Make sure you encourage this – I believe it is very important as when they are all grown up, another language skill really helps!
Until next time,