Saturday, 8 January 2011

Another reply

You'll have read in my Christmas Eve post that a couple of months ago I wrote to my MP, Michael Gove and Nick Gibb about the position of MFL in the Key Stage 2 curriculum, as sending to the DfE my comments on November's White Paper.

Yesterday evening I received a response from "a member of the Secretary of State’s correspondence team".  It doesn't, unfortunately, tell us anything that we didn't already know.  I also know, from reading the Primary Languages Linguanet forum, that I'm not the only person to have received this stock response.

Here is the response:

Thank you for your email and e-card of 6 December to the Secretary of State, regarding the importance of language teaching in primary schools. As a member of the Secretary of State’s correspondence team I have been asked to reply, and I apologise for the delay in doing so.

The Coalition Government is fully committed to the teaching of languages in schools, not only for its social and economic benefits, but also because learning a language helps pupils to understand the different cultures of people around the world.

We know that primary school teachers and others have worked very hard over the last few years to stimulate an early interest in language learning, and a recent NfER study showed that 92 per cent of primary schools are now teaching foreign languages within class time at Key Stage 2. The Government believes that learning a language at primary school can inspire children with a love of languages that will stay with them throughout their secondary education and beyond. Given the importance of language learning, and the benefits of an early start, Ministers expect that the majority of primary schools that are already teaching languages will continue to do so.

On 7 June 2010, the Minister of State for Schools announced that we would be carrying out a review of the National Curriculum to return it to its original purpose - a core national entitlement organised around subject disciplines. The review will consider the place of languages within the National Curriculum in both primary and secondary schools, and will ensure that our core curriculum can compare with those of the highest performing countries around the world. In designing the new curriculum, we plan to consult a wide range of academics, teachers and others with an interest in what is taught in schools. More details about how to contribute to the review will be announced shortly via our website at, and I hope that you will feel able to respond.
Yours sincerely,
Kate Jarrett
Correspondence Team

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