A network of women driving changes in primary education

Posted: Fri, Mar 8, 2019 7:36 PM

Today is International Women’s Day and it seems fitting to share with you the exciting changes Lingotot are introducing to primary education - made possible by the fiercely passionate and capable women working throughout the UK and Ireland, to encourage the next generation of learners to embrace and enjoy languages.

This week, the news has been filled with responses to the BBC report highlighting a steep decline in the number of UK teenagers learning a language. This follows the government’s 2004 decision to reverse the “Languages For All” policy, in which students within the UK were required to take a language at GCSE. 

Angela Sterling, a qualified foreign languages teacher, became increasingly worried about the declining numbers and, based on her experience within schools and extensive research on early language acquisition, she developed a languages programme for children aged 0-11. She launched Lingotot in 2010, coinciding with the government’s attempt to reverse declining numbers by making language learning compulsory in English primary schools. 

Following the release of the BBC report, Angela said: “If the government is serious about reversing this decline through engaging children at a younger age - which language professionals fully endorse - it is essential that there is an obvious pathway for progression.”

At Lingotot, not only are we keen to harness a love of languages within primary pupils, but we are very much focussed on high-quality provision, mapped to the EYFS and British Curriculum, with excellent progression pathways into secondary school. With that in mind, we have created the UK’s ONLY MFL qualifications for primary school pupils, which are accredited by NCFE and benchmarked at Entry Level (one step below GCSE!). 

In addition to this, we are aware of the shortage of MFL teachers and so created two recognised primary languages qualifications (the Certificate in Teaching Early Years Languages and the Diploma in Teaching Primary Languages, both accredited by NCFE). This has allowed us to hire experienced linguists and train them to deliver high-quality early years and primary languages. 

Angela continues: “Having official qualifications at primary level will help secondary schools to ensure progression continues from the outset which will go a long way to fulfilling the government’s pledge to make MFL a priority.”

Kate Thorne, Owner of Lingotot Southend On Sea, commented: “The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is “Balance For Better” and it really strikes a chord with me. I am a linguist and a teacher but I am also a mother and stepmother and after the birth of my second daughter, I found it difficult to obtain a good work/life balance. It was stressful. 

"Lingotot is led by an inspirational female franchisor and we have a network of genuine and supportive women who are collectively working to improve the delivery of languages in primary education while building sustainable businesses that work around our busy lives.

"For me, it feels empowering to know that I can have it both - I can be the hands-on mum, AND I can have a career that I love. I am delivering a multi-award winning programme and inspiring young children to love languages AND I’m able to do the school run and go to playgroups. I am still working hard to build up my business but it is an incredible feeling to know that with the support of my husband, I can do both. I have balance and life is better."

Angela continues: “The vast majority of our network are mothers who are looking for balance. They are skilled professionals and they want to use that experience to do something rewarding but they also have families and commitments and want to enjoy precious downtime with their children - so balance is at the very heart of our business.“

We are very proud to have built a network of fantastic, passionate women who are collectively trying to support schools and nurseries in delivering a high quality, multi-award winning, languages programme and inspiring the next generation of learners to enjoy languages.