Languages: Curriculum

Children, Schools and Families written question – answered on 30th March 2010.

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Photo of Robert Wareing Robert Wareing Independent, Liverpool, West Derby

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether he has plans to increase the (a) time spent on study of foreign languages and (b) number of languages studied in schools; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Diana R. Johnson Diana R. Johnson Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Children, Schools and Families) (Schools)

holding answer 29 March 2010

We do not specify how much time schools should spend teaching individual subjects. It is the role of schools and teachers to decide how best to organise learning, including ensuring that sufficient time is allowed to teach the statutory requirements for each subject at each Key Stage.

Schools are free to choose which languages they offer. Since 2008, secondary schools no longer have to teach first a working language of the European Union before offering any other language. They can now teach any major world or European language. Examples given in the programme of study are Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish and Urdu. This should act as an incentive for schools to offer a wider range of languages.

In primary schools, languages will become compulsory from September 2011, subject to parliamentary approval of the Children, Schools and Families Bill. Schools will be free to choose which languages to offer.

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