Following from its statement on the primary curriculum and Key Stage 3 level descriptions, the Department for Education has issued the following official statement regarding the status of primary languages and future planning, up to March 2011 in particular:

‘The Government is considering its plans for the National Curriculum in schools. They believe that the current National Curriculum has moved far away from the concept of core knowledge and from its original purpose – to set out what all children should be taught in each subject. They therefore want to return it to its intended purpose as a core national entitlement organised around subject disciplines.

In doing so, they aim to slim the National Curriculum to give schools greater freedom to build on that core entitlement to provide a rich educational experience for all their pupils, and to allow teachers to use their professional judgement to decide how to teach and to organise the curriculum. They plan to consult a wide range of academics, teachers and other interested parties to ensure that the core curriculum can compare with those of the highest performing countries in the world. They will be announcing details of that review in the autumn. The position of languages in both the primary and secondary National Curriculum will be considered as part of that Review.

The Government believes that language skills are important to the social and economic future of the country. Learning a language also helps children and young people understand the world in which they live and the different cultures of people around the world. We know that over 90% of primary schools are already offering some language teaching to their 7-11 year olds. Ministers appreciate the efforts that teachers are putting into making sure that children in primary schools are taught languages. It is thanks to their work that pupils can not only learn a language but also come to appreciate other cultures.

Given its importance, primary schools that are teaching languages should continue to do so. Funding has been given to local authorities to support primary languages until March 2011. Any future funding will depend on the spending review which will report in the autumn, as well as on decisions about the status of languages within the National Curriculum.’

(Department for Education, 26 August 2010).