Current Status of Primary Modern Language Provision in the UK * 'Every child should have the opportunity throughout KS2 to study a foreign language and develop their interest in the culture of other nations' (National Learning Strategies, DfES 2002). * This means that, at present, there is no formal requirement for all schools to offer languages although there are many examples of schools that do offer some if not many languages. * Newsham Primary School (BBC Article – in folder) offers a different language every month and they have taught languages including Afrikaan, Swahili and Arabic. They do this by using the fact that the school is a highly multicultural school with English being the minority language. * In the schools that I have been on placement in they all offer languages to at least KS2 students – the languages offered are French, Spanish and occasionally German. My placement school this year offered a language on a weekly basis but this was brought in from outside (Bankfield School), but in this school all students were offered the opportunity to study a language including KS1. * 'Over 92% of our primary schools now teach a language' (Languages for All: Languages for Life, DfES, London. 2002). * 'Primary languages remain somewhat of a movable feast in the primary curriculum, often being moved or cancelled altogether for extra-curricular activities' (Primary Languages in Practice, Open University 2009). * I have seen this in practice, as in my placement school for year on the lead up to Christmas all language provision was removed except the after school club. Also, I have seen that whenever the Language Teacher is not available to come from Bankfield then they do not take part in any language activity – possible lack of training/confidence from the Teachers. * 'languages remain fairly low on schools' priorities, mostly due to perceived pressure to perform well in national testing'. (Primary Languages in Practice, Open University 2009). * 'Availability of, and funding for, appropriate materials and resources' (Primary Languages in Practice, Open University 2009). * This is a big issue especially as schools are having to budget even more in the current economic climate, however from 2014 this should and must change to ensure that the compulsory language provision requirements are met. Schools are not able to purchase subscriptions to effective learning resources such as Linguastars, and Education City in order to enhance the learning of the children and to boost the confidence of teachers. * Lack of funding also means that there is a lack of training that can be provided therefore meaning that the number of properly trained teachers is at a low. Therefore the lessons that are being taught are not necessarily at the required standards.
Reasons for Language Provision in Primary Schools.
* Increases Cultural awareness – language learning is not just about the ability to learn a new language it is also important to learn about the cultures of the different countries. For example, if the schools were to learn Swahili then they would also learn about the Masai culture, if they were learning Japanese then they would also possibly dress up in Kimonos and eat Sushi. The language provision is important as it helps young children to accept new cultures and therefore becoming a more accepting citizen in today’s society. * Boosts oracy and literacy skills – learning a new language helps to improve the oracy skills of the children in the class. The expectations at year 3 according the to the DfES are for children to be able to 'listen to sounds, words and phrases... [and]... they repeat and chorus, learning accurate pronunciation'. The emphasis on