What we need now is less focus on the problem with languages and more on the solution.
We need a national government-led campaign for languages. Also, language classes, particularly at A-level, are often small and uneconomic.
Partnerships between state and independent school would allow schools to continue to offer A-level languages to small numbers.
Syllabuses and schemes of work are in desperate need of revision. Teaching materials and language laboratories need to be modernised with digital facilities video conferencing and so on.
Many children in our schools are bilingual and speak a community language at home. As they are used to working in two languages they are often talented linguists, so we should do some lateral thinking about teaching methods. For example, there is no reason why there should not be some teaching of European languages direct from a community language.
Above all, we need a change of perspectives. Few parents these days take their children on cultural visits to foreign cities, preferring the "package tour".
S R Patriarca
William Hulme's grammar school
Spring Bridge Road