In June the National Centre for Languages (Cilt) is holding a national conference for those who teach and advise languages teachers at A-level. The conference's aim is to motivate and inspire teachers, giving them the ammunition they need to recruit learners on to A-level courses. It will include updates from exam boards, ideas for teaching, ways to develop exam skills and introduce downloadable resources and short films. The conference will also address languages in higher education and opportunities for pupils to pursue languages at university and beyond. It takes place on June 30. Visit www.cilt.org.uk for more details.
Last month a top public school head called for exams in Mandarin to be made easier. Anthony Seldon (pictured), headmaster of Wellington College, says exam boards should make GCSE exams more accessible for UK pupils rather than being aimed at native Mandarin speakers.
While the number of pupils taking European languages at GCSE has plummeted, the popularity of Mandarin and Japanese has grown. Mr Seldon believes this is largely due to more native speakers taking the subject at GCSE level, rather than an increase among native-English speakers, who find Mandarin too difficult.
Almost 300 employers have signed up to a campaign to help young people add a language to their CV, according to Cilt. A survey it conducted found that employers rank foreign language skills second only to IT when it comes to recruiting. HSBC and Arsenal FC are among the companies to have signed up to become Business Language Champions. Cilt has launched an online information hub called Languages Work to support the initiative. See www.languageswork.org.uk.