From September 2014 it will be compulsory for children aged seven and above to be taught at least one foreign language in Primary Schools – however why are the celebrations at the VICI Language Academy cautious when surely founder Nathalie Danon-Kerr would applaud such a move?
The caution comes in case this is all just a little bit of history repeating itself. Back in 2002 the then government launched similar initiatives due to start in 2010. Many West Berkshire schools were keen and started investing their own money into delivering language lessons for children. However the change of government in 2010 and ensuing cuts meant that it all stopped.
“However, you worry that this might just be publicity for the Coalition ahead of the election or will something solid and constructive actually come out of it?
“There is much pressure at the moment to make sure English children have a decent education when it comes to languages; for although English remains the international language, it no longer offers a competitive advantage.’
“Whatever the truth, the schools need support else, there is no point asking them to put more into place within their curriculum.”
Clearly it is powerful for young children to learn a foreign language; we know they find it easier when they are younger and stand a real chance of becoming bilingual.
It comes not a moment too late with the British Council saying the lack of language skills is impacting on the UK’s competitive edge in the world and the European Commission has revealed that English schools come bottom in the EU when it comes to reading, writing and listening in a foreign language.
Even before this announcement VICI has been working with schools and is able to help ensure they satisfy the Government’s demand to teach foreign languages at KS2.
Nathalie again: “If you do not yet satisfy the demands we have developed a programme that will add value to your school’s curriculum with a host of activities including:
- Organising Language days, mostly for free, to entertain and teach pupils about foreign languages.
- Offering weekly or fortnightly language lessons given by fully trained native speakers of your chosen language.
- Putting into place a ‘Train the Trainers Scheme’ to help ensure your teachers are at the forefront of best practice to deliver their own language lessons.
- Helping both the development of gifted and talented children and supporting children with learning difficulties. We can also support and improve communications with children where English is not their first language
So the welcome must remain cautious for as much as language teaching relies upon repetition to embed learning, we have heard this story of commitment toward learning a language before.
Schools that would like help should contact Nathalie Danon-Kerr as she is offering free consultations to help guide teachers on how to deliver quality language learning that will make their pupils bilingual.