Lingotot backs call for foreign languages to be compulsory
Posted: Thu, Jan 9, 2020 11:03 AM
Learning a new language should be compulsory for pupils up to the age of 16, according to a new report highlighting the UK’s recent abysmal record in encouraging young people to study languages other than English.
A new report on published by the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) has been released stating that a new language should be compulsory for pupils up to the age of 16. The report cites an EU survey which shows that 32% of young people in the UK say they are able to read or write in more than one language, compared with 79% of their peers in France and more than 90% in Germany.
Until 2004 languages were compulsory up until the end of Key Stage 4, when pupils take GCSE exams in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The government then dropped the compulsory study of languages, which has led to a steep decline in student numbers going on to study languages at colleges and universities.
“It was a big mistake to scrap compulsory foreign languages at GCSE,” said Megan Bowler, the report’s author.
She continued, “Rather than continuing to present languages as not suitable for everyone, we need to include a broader range of pupils learning through a variety of qualifications geared to different needs.
National languages provider, Lingotot, has already identified the need for a range of languages qualifications and since 2016 has offered the only language qualifications for primary school children in the UK available in French, Spanish, German, Mandarin and Arabic fully accredited by NCFE, an OfQual regulated awarding body.
Lingotot Founder and CEO, Angela Sterling said, “There is a massive shortage of language skills in the workforce, we should prioritise language learning. Our business is committed to playing our part at the younger end of the spectrum, but we cannot work in isolation and the findings of this report are welcomed.
She continued, “We also think that the government should prioritise extra-curricular language learning opportunities, something we focus on as a business.”