Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Say Sayonara to Languages That Have Not Made the List: News

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Say Sayonara to Languages That Have Not Made the List: News

Article excerpt

New KS2 curriculum options exclude community languages.

Community languages such as Urdu, Polish and Hebrew have been excluded from the new primary national curriculum despite opposition from the majority of responses to a government consultation. Ministers have decided that key stage 2 pupils should study one or more of a list of languages restricted to French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Spanish, Latin or ancient Greek.

But 61 per cent of the 562 teachers, parents, schools, universities, unions and other organisations and individuals who expressed a view believe the primary national curriculum should cover a much wider range of languages.

The Department for Education argues that its list "broadly reflects" the languages that primaries said they intended to teach anyway, and that the schools will also be free to teach another language outside the national curriculum.

But many of the respondents said that, in practice, expecting a school to teach the language of its choice in addition to selecting one from the compulsory list would "put a strain on what was already regarded as a crowded curriculum".

The news comes a week after TES revealed that education secretary Michael Gove is pushing ahead with key GCSE reforms that received little support in a separate consultation.

A third of those responding to the KS2 languages proposals supported the requirement to teach one of the list of seven languages. They said it would allow better planning for pupils' transitions to secondary school and allow for better joint working between networks of schools.

But the majority disagreed, with many saying the list implied that some languages are more important than others. Japanese, Arabic, Portuguese and Polish, which was recently found to be the second most spoken language in England, were among the options people wanted added to the national curriculum. There was a particular campaign for Hebrew, with 44 per cent of respondents saying it is essential that Jewish primaries are able to choose it as their national curriculum language.

The government argues in its consultation report that a wider array of languages "could have the potential to undermine secondary schools' efforts to build on teaching in primary schools". …

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