Teacher shortage would jeopardise drive

12th May 2000 at 01:00
PLANS to boost pupils' foreign language skills will be hampered by the shortage of language teachers, the Nuffield inquiry acknowledges.

Pupils' lack of interest in languages and the shortage of suitably-qualified teachers form a vicious circle that only drastic action will break, it found.

The team welcomed the Government's decision to give a pound;6,000 training salary and pound;4,000 golden hello to language students on postgraduate certificate in education courses, but warned that more needed to be done to address the shortage of linguists.

They called for a training programme for existing primary teachers to ensure that a sufficient numbe would be able to teach a foreign language.

Fewer than one in 10 teenagers continues to study a foreign language beyond 16 - leading to a shortage of candidates for language degree courses. This has a knock-on effect on the number of candidates with language skills applying for initial teacher training courses.

The picture is even more gloomy for boys - who are increasingly unlikely to specialise in languages.

Only 255 of this year's 1,409 PGCE students are men and nearly half of the men are from outside the UK. The number of linguists joining PGCE courses has fallen as fewer now spend a year abroad as language assistants.

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