Squeezed by the timetable

23rd January 1998 at 00:00
As Britain assumes the EU presidency, David Henderson investigates language learning in primaries

Several heads have highlighted the problems of a crowded curriculum and the switch to teaching the basics as the balance of the 5-14 curriculum is questioned.

Fred Forrester, deputy general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland, says most complaints centre on finding time for languages amid other pressures. "Clearly the level of competence is extremely variable and a lot of teachers do not feel able to do justice to it. A little bit of training does not alter that," Mr Forrester says.

He also pinpoints the problems caused by the parents' charter. Secondaries frequently draw pupils from many non-associated primaries and patterns of language learning vary enormously. "We do get instances of pupils taught German in primary and it is not available in secondary."

He adds: "We are not anywhere near dealing with the problem of giving Scottish children a better facility with languages. The basic motivation is often not there because they are not close to another country where another language is spoken."

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, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today