Positive networks

In North Staffordshire, collaboration between managers from further education colleges, universities, schools and education authorities is aiming to boost language learning among Year 10 and 11 students.

The Staffordshire Languages Group was formed in 1998, though its roots go back to networks between colleges, schools and local authorities established before incorporation. It aims to foster more positive attitudes towards modern languages and make students aware of the opportunities for post-16 languages.

"It's a fairly informal network, but it's quite an effective one," says David Winter of Newcastle-under-Lyme College. "Thereare maybe half a dozen to 10 individuals who know each other pretty well and will help out. And so there has been a tradition over the years of collaborative ventures."

One of the group's initiatives has been to make a promotional video , called What's The Point?, for schools and colleges. "The video is selling well throughout the UK," says Mr Winter. "Orders have flown in and we've had very positive feedback. We're now just getting a batch out to FE colleges."

Proceeds from the video will be ploughed into the group's strategic work. One idea is to set up intensive residential courses in languages for Year 10 pupils.

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