Log on to the Hertfordshire website and you soon appreciate that modern languages play a lively part in the curriculum locally. The passion comes from Francoise Vidal, who took over as adviser in September. She has set up a web-conferencing forum for heads of department. Topics are updated regularly: the latest is kinaesthetic learning: getting pupils physically involved to reinforce their understanding and memorising.
Ms Vidal is also organising master classes for gifted linguists: 40 Year 8 stdents will soon be taking a four-hour Saturday morning session in French at St Clement Danes School, Chorleywood. A similar session for Year 9 German students is being planned.
Nor is Ms Vidal, originally from Marseilles, daunted by the prospect of a shortage of staff. She recently advertised in Watford for foreigners who would like to teach: 60 came forward. "Whether you like it or not, this is the future," she says. "The people were not all trained, but we need to be creative."