Language of waste

29th December 2000 at 00:00
YOUR editorial of December 15 is absolutely correct in stating that giving extra weighting to languages other than French will cause difficulties for some secondary schools. However, unless decisive action to ensure diversity in language learning is taken now, expensive national resources will continue to go wasted until they are no longer available.

When one considers that the number of German teachers available in Scotland fell by a third between 1994 and 1998, and that teachers of languages other than French are facing increasing difficulty finding employment, it becomes clear that national financial resources are being shamefully wasted in deceiving graduates of German, Russian, Italian etc to train as language tachers when they will not find employment in their degree subject.

In order to gain an income, such teachers must study French up to GTC standard and will then probably, like myself, find themselves teaching that language alone. All a teacher's commitment to their degree language is then lost to the nation.

The reason for such waste lies in the fact that languages on offer in schools are currently the responsibility of the headteacher, who has often more immediate concerns than the national ability to make full use of resources. The right place for ensuring diversity in modern language teaching across a region is the local education authority.

James Forbes

Corstorphine High Street, Edinburgh

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today