Languages: Curriculum

Department for Education written question – answered on 15th April 2019.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the provision for modern foreign language lessons in schools.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The reformed National Curriculum makes it compulsory for pupils in maintained schools to be taught a foreign language in Key Stage 2, and the English Baccalaureate performance measure, which includes languages, has seen the proportion of GCSE entries from pupils in state-funded schools in a modern foreign language (MFL) increase from 40% in 2010 to 46% in 2018.

Ofsted's survey of Key Stage 3, published in September 2015, found that of 51 routine inspections carried out during June and July 2015, achievement was not good enough in just under half of Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) classes observed.[1]

The Teaching Schools Council review of MFL pedagogy at Key Stages 3 and 4, conducted in 2016, focussed on how foreign languages are taught, and made a number of recommendations.[2]

Based on these recommendations, the Government is providing £4.8 million for the MFL Hubs programme, the aim of which is to improve access to high quality MFL subject teaching. The Department has also funded nine projects across the country to provide continuing professional development for primary and secondary teachers.

[1] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/459830/Key_Stage_3_the_wasted_years.pdf.

[2] https://www.tscouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/MFL-Pedagogy-Review-Report-2.pdf.

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