A model choice

A selection of schemes for teaching languages in primary schools is to be published soon by the Centre for Information on Language Teaching (CILT). The Government has said that all primary-aged children will have an "entitlement" to learn a foreign language by 2012.

Based on good practice, the seven models will range from those which are suitable for individual schools and don't rely on having a language expert, to more far-reaching schemes which cover a whole authority and include advisory teachers, foreign language assistants and teacher training such as that operating in Liverpool (see main article). In between will be models involving a cluster of schools. The schemes can all be used to teach any language, including community languages such as Urdu or Greek.

CILT concluded that a curriculum to fit all schools was not feasible, says director Lid King, partly because of the lack of trained teachers. By allowing schools to choose a model that suits them, children everywhere could benefit. The report will outline the advantages and disadvantages of each model and the implications in terms of costs, curriculum planning, staffing and training.

The CILT models are also expected to fit in with the Nuffield Foundation's work on a new national grading structure for languages. Education minister Baroness Ashton has already said that languages are likely to be graded on an attainment scale similar to that used in music, so recognising skills which children acquire outside school.

The report's publication will coincide with that of the Government's consultation document on languages. It will be published on the website of the National Advisory Centre on Early Language Learning: www.nacell.org.uk.

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