To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment he has made of the differences in the teaching of modern languages in state-funded comprehensive schools and in mainstream independent secondary schools. [R]
No formal research has been conducted into this issue. However, informal analysis suggests that the key features of good practice in languages teaching in independent schools and in state schools with outstanding languages teaching are the same. Common features include high levels of teacher subject knowledge, teaching being supported by strong extra-curricular activities including school trips, and strong support from school leaders.
The new curriculum for foreign languages at key stage 2 (ages 7-11) and the more demanding curriculum for modern foreign languages at key stage 3 (ages 11-14), which come into force from September 2014, will raise the quality of language teaching in state schools. The inclusion of a modern or ancient language in the English Baccalaureate is already encouraging more young people to take a language at GCSE level. The numbers sitting a language GCSE are now at a five-year-high.