New National Curriculum for primary schools in England
Learning a foreign language will be compulsory from the age of seven in England's primary schools in an overhaul of the national curriculum. The plans will be subject to public consultation in 2012, with a scheduled introduction in 2014. The proposals come amid concerns over a decline in pupils studying foreign languages at age 14-16.
UK Education Secretary, Michael Gove, said: “In common with high-performing schools in this country and other high-performing jurisdictions, I want to add breadth to the primary curriculum by requiring all schools to teach a foreign language at Key Stage 2, from Year 3 to Year 6... We will work closely with the teaching profession over the coming months to determine exactly how the new National Curriculum will be enhanced and assessed. Our guiding principle will always be to learn from the highest-performing schools and give special weight to the experience of those professionals who have done most to raise attainment for all students and who have helped the disadvantaged most of all.“
The Association for Language Learning (ALL) in the UK fully supports this decision; and in an initial response to the announcement, ALL President Bernardette Holmes said: “This long-awaited confirmation that primary language learning will be a statutory part of the Key Stage 2 curriculum is excellent news. ALL has tirelessly argued the case for language learning from the age of seven. At last, primary schools will be able to begin to plan coherently for languages in the new curriculum.”
“We believe that learning a new language will bring considerable benefits to children’s personal, cultural and cognitive development," said Bernardette, "which will have an impact not only on their skills in and attitudes towards other languages but will also make a significant contribution to their general literacy.”