Press release

£1.8 million training boost for language teaching

A new fund of £1.8 million will pay for a series of teacher-led training programmes to help support the teaching of foreign languages.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Teacher talking to students

Thousands of teachers will receive extra training and support to improve the teaching of foreign languages, thanks to £1.8 million of government money to fund a series of new school-led programmes, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan announced today (9 September 2014).

From this week schools across England will teach the new, more challenging languages curriculum - including a new requirement for languages to be compulsory for children aged 7 to 11 years. This will ensure that children in England learn the languages they need to succeed in the modern world.

The English Baccalaureate (EBacc), introduced by the government in 2010, has already helped reverse the decline in the numbers taking languages GCSE - 7% of GCSE entries this year were in languages, and the number of young people taking languages GCSEs this year was higher than in 2008.

As part of its work to help teachers introduce the new programme of study, the Department for Education has given £1.8 million to 9 projects that will work with more than 2,000 primary and secondary schools over the next 2 years across England.

The projects are based in:

  • Warrington
  • Reading
  • Warwick
  • Winchester
  • Birmingham
  • Gloucestershire
  • Cornwall
  • Leicester

as well as in various schools across the

  • north east
  • east of England
  • north Midlands

The projects will be focused on supporting teachers with the elements of the new curriculum that may be more challenging.

These include the use of more spontaneous speaking and writing, grammar, translation and the introduction of literary texts in a foreign language at key stage 3.

To ensure the support and training being offered is relevant, programmes were only considered for funding if they could show they were led by teachers with collaboration between primary and secondary schools wherever possible.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said:

We want our young people to have the best possible start in life - that is why, as part of our plan for education, we want every child to learn a foreign language. It doesn’t just help them to understand different cultures and countries, it opens up the world.

By learning a foreign language, young people can go on to study and work abroad, but it’s not just that. Knowledge of different languages and cultures is increasingly important to employers in the UK too. That’s why the ability to speak and understand different languages is vital if young people are going to leave school able to get a job and get on in life.

We know that teachers are integral to this language revival so we are backing these schemes - led by teachers, for teachers - so they have the support they need to prepare our young people for life in modern Britain.

The new curriculum establishes foreign languages as a compulsory part of the primary curriculum for the first time and gives schools the freedom to teach any modern or ancient language they choose.

It includes a stronger focus on the knowledge and understanding needed to learn a language and hold a conversation with native speakers. There is also a greater rigour across all ages in grammar, vocabulary and spontaneous speaking and writing.

At secondary school, students will be expected to hold more challenging conversations in a foreign language and translate into the foreign language. There will also be a specific, new requirement to read and study literary texts such as stories, songs, poems and letters in the languages students are studying.

Each project will now work with schools to identify the areas where teachers have said they would like further support.

The successful schemes, which will be funded over 2 years are:

The Association for Language Learning £300,000 This project will work with 500 schools across the north east, east of England and the north Midlands. In each area the project will set up one regional centre and 10 local centres in strategically-located teaching schools to provide training and share best practice.
Bournville Junior School, Birmingham £195,000 This school-led project will work with around 50 schools in the area offering continuing professional development to primary school teachers and subject leaders.
Callington Community College, Cornwall £105,000 Callington will provide support to 100 primary schools across Cornwall, Devon and Plymouth focusing on increasing teacher competence and confidence.
Rushey Mead School, Leicester £240,000 This scheme will work with 5 other teaching school alliances to support more than 150 primary and secondary schools to focus on phonology, grammar and assessment.
University of Gloucestershire £265,000 This project will provide training to teachers at 100 primary schools and 25 secondary schools across northern parts of the south west region. Training will be provided in partnership with a range of individual schools and schools clusters.
University of Reading £107,000 The university will train teachers in 30 primary schools and 30 secondary schools in Berkshire and Oxfordshire with specific attention on key areas including speaking skills, grammar and literary texts.
University of Warwick £250,000 Working with 300 schools, this project centres on French and aims to upskill 1,700 primary school teachers. The programme will look specifically at supporting pupils’ transition from primary to secondary school.
University of Winchester, Hampshire £202,000 This project will work with 216 primary schools across Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton and provide training for teachers. It has been set up in conjunction with Hampshire local authority and Hiltingbury Junior School in Eastleigh, which has a good record in teaching languages at primary school level.
Warrington Teaching School Alliance £117,000 The scheme will support nearly 700 primary schools across the north west on all aspects of study at key stage 2. It is led by the Evelyn Street Community Primary School in Warrington, which has a strong record of language teaching.

DfE enquiries

Published 9 September 2014