Friday, 24 December 2010

A Christmas present, and my Christmas wish

This morning I received a letter about Primary Languages from Sharon Hodgson, my MP. 

I emailed her on 6th December in response to the government's White Paper "The Importance of Teaching", expressing my concern at the lack of clarity, or indeed any word at all, about the future of language teaching in KS2.  I also emailed the address provided for feedback to the White Paper, I emailed Michael Gove, and I emailed Nick Gibb.  Sharon Hodgson is the only one from whom I have had a response.  Not even an automated response from the others to say that my message has been received.

Ms Hodgson's letter has brightened my day.  She is a Shadow Education Minister, and keen that the previous Government's commitment to Primary Languages be carried forward:
"In a global economy, the country needs people who can communicate effectively with those in different countries, and the education system should recognise and support that."
She has also written to Mr Gove to ask him to reply to me, and has tabled the following Parliamentary Question to give him the opportunity to put his commitment to Primary Languages on Parliamentary record:
"To ask the Secretary of State what steps he has taken toward establishing Modern Foreign Languages as part of the primary school curriculum from the academic year beginning 2011."
She has asked me to keep in touch and has expressed an interest in visiting a class or workshop in the constituency at some point.

So that is my Christmas present.  What about my Christmas wish?  My Christmas wish is that the current Government tell us as soon as possible what they intend to do with Primary Languages and whether or not they are going to fund it anymore.  The announcement of the new curriculum in Autumn 2012 is too long to have to wait.  Primary schools need help and support now.

So I urge you, if you haven't already done so, to contact your own MP to put the case for Primary Languages.  You could always send them this ecard
Let's bombard them from all sides!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Baroness Coussins is coming to the north-east

Baroness Coussins, Realising the Strategic Importance of Languages
Venue: Royal Station Hotel, Newcastle upon Tyne
Time: 8:30-12:30 includes breakfast and lunch
£300 to be awarded the first 40 schools who come with senior management.

It's the biggest event for languages the North East has ever seen....It's confirmed for could change what happens in your schools....and its got big names!

You might have heard about it on the blogosphere and we are now pleased to confirm that Baroness Coussins, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages will visit the North East on Tuesday 11th January.

We know how crucial it is to influence your senior management as well so this event is geared towards them too.

Baroness Coussins will be joined by:

  • Richard Hardie, Vice Chair UBS Ltd. and advocate for A-level Languages
  • Dr. Michael Wardle, Deputy Head and Ofsted Inspector for Languages
  • Dr. Liz Andersen, Member of the National University Council for Modern Languages
  • Bernadette Holmes, President incumbent of the Association for Language Learning
The event includes keynote speeches, workshops and a panel, so plenty of chance for contributing and questioning as well.

The first 40 schools who bring along a member of their senior management team will receive £300 so take this to your SMT straight away and get signed up on the website here!

We know this is short notice but as this is such a fantastic opportunity to really make the case for languages we hope you don't miss it.

If you have any queries please get in touch with Ruth O'Rourke by email or on 0191 222 5814.

Your Head of Languages will soon receive an invitation to this event to pass on to your Headteacher.

This is primarily for secondary schools but we will welcome primary schools, Further Education and Higher Education Institutes as well.

Sign up here before you venture out into the cold:

The Links into Languages NE team