Dear Nick, Your recent decision to make the English Baccalaureate (Ebac) compulsory for all pupils has drawn significant criticism from naysayers who argue it will be impossible to recruit the 2,000 extra language teachers that will be needed.
However, at LKMco we believe that every problem has a solution and would like to propose five possible courses of action:
Redefine languages to include regional dialects. Thus, an Ebac might include GCSEs in “languages” such as Scouse, Brummy or Geordie, enabling many more teachers to become language teachers. We believe that this move would have a dual benefit in that certain underperforming regions would stand to do particularly well, helping iron out regional disparities in school performance.
Encourage Scottish Gaelic teachers to move to England, simultaneously tapping into resurgent Scottish patriotism and diluting SNP support.
Make the most of the decision to allow schools to employ unqualified teachers by encouraging pupils with English as an additional language to teach classmates their native tongue. We recognise that pupil leadership is a bit passé but this may be just the right olive branch with which to reach out to “the blob”.
Recognise silence as a “golden” language; schools will then have an added incentive to clamp down on low-level disruption. The low cost of teaching silence should make it a particularly appealing option in these times of austerity.
Send English students abroad for key stage 4 where they will complete all their studies in a foreign language. This could take place as part of a reciprocal arrangement with carefully selected “high performing” jurisdictions, considerably boosting our PISA performance.
We are more than happy to carry out a full scoping project on any (or all) of these options should the Department for Education wish to commission our services.
Loic Menzies and the LKMco team.