Schools: Foreign Exchange Students
House of Lords
Baroness Coussins (Crossbench)
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the decline in one-to-one family-based foreign exchanges for maintained school pupils, in furtherance of their modern language studies; and what if any action they propose to take to encourage such exchanges.
Lord Hill of Oareford (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Education; Conservative)
The Department for Education does not collect data on one-to-one family-based exchanges and has made no specific assessment of the numbers of pupils taking up these opportunities.
The Government recognise that school links and exchanges can provide valuable opportunities to improve language skills. Large numbers of schools take part in such activities; for example, through the British Council's Connecting Classrooms programme. It is, however, for individual schools to decide whether or not they wish to participate in such exchanges.
Good teaching of languages is very important. It improves the mind and helps pupils to understand the world in which they live. It is also important for the social and economic future of the country. That is why we have introduced a modern or ancient language as one of the academic subjects making up the EBacc at GCSE level. The EBacc is already encouraging more young people to take a language at GCSE level.