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Languages: Primary Education

Question for Department for Education

UIN 59833, tabled on 12 January 2017

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment her Department has made of the adequacy and effectiveness of the provision of modern foreign language education in primary schools; and if she will make a statement.

Answered on

18 January 2017

The Government is committed to the teaching of foreign languages as part of a core academic curriculum. Since September 2014, maintained primary schools in England must teach a modern or ancient foreign language to pupils at Key Stage 2 (ages 7 to 11). The British Council’s Language Trends survey 2015/16 found that all the primary schools in a representative sample taught languages. Just over half had access to specialist expertise in the teaching of languages. A little under half had either a native speaker or a member of staff with a degree in the language they are teaching.

The Teaching Schools Council (TSC) published a report on its review of modern languages teaching practice in secondary schools last November. In addition to providing practical advice to teachers to improve their pedagogy in secondary schools, the review reported considerable variation in the levels of knowledge and expertise shown by secondary school pupils, depending on their experience of being taught a language in primary school, in addition to some examples of good practice. It recommended that secondary schools should support the teaching of languages in primary schools wherever possible. The TSC is considering how further to support schools to engage with the report’s recommendations.

Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.