The Association for Language Learning supports a broad and balanced curriculum, but as part of the wider need to support, promote and encourage language learning in our schools, it welcomes the publication of the Implementing the English Baccalaureate-Government consultation response.
The consultation response states a revised target of 90% of pupils to take EBacc subjects by 2025 with the interim expectation that 75% of pupils will be studying this combination of subjects (including a language) by 2022.
The further decline in numbers of pupils studying languages at GCSE and A Level, as announced by Ofqual in June 2017, highlights afresh the need to focus on high quality MFL provision, including issues of curriculum design and pedagogy. The Association for Language Learning will continue to play an active role in supporting MFL teachers as they respond to the latest EBacc expectations. There are significant challenges related to the recruitment and retention of MFL teachers and close collaboration between the DfE and ITT providers will be essential to meet schools’ needs. The Association for Language Learning continues to support various initiatives to address teacher recruitment issues.
Since the EU-referendum outcome, there has been widespread recognition that the UK needs languages more than ever*, but this will only become a reality if government and school leaders, including governors, lead the implementation of the EBacc and support EBacc departments, including language departments, in overcoming the various challenges that have been acknowledged in the DfE’s response to the consultation. This will require a culture change: a shift with regards to the general perception of and attitude towards languages and language learning across society is necessary to also explore the exciting opportunities that are hidden behind these challenges.
The Association for Language Learning would also like to take the opportunity to congratulate those schools that have already started to implement the EBacc policy and consequently have increased the uptake of language learners considerably over the last three to four years.
If you would like to share your success story and how you have overcome the various challenges, please do get in touch with the Association for Language Learning directly at firstname.lastname@example.org so that these can be collated and shared with the language teaching community.
On behalf of the Association for Language Learning
Dr Anna Lise Gordon, President (2016-18)
René Koglbauer, Chair of Board of Trustees
* See for example: “Brexit and Language: What future for English and for the minority languages of the UK?” in: Cardiff University blog Online 11 May 2017
Reidy, Tess: “Which language would ease our way in the post-Brexit world?” in: The Guardian Online 24 May 2017