What the action group wants to see

15th December 2000 at 00:00
David Henderson reports on the recommendations of the ministerial action group

Information on the benefits of languages to be widely available so that language proficiency is seen as achievable, relevant and useful.

"A mentality of 'English alone' sells our students short, both at home and abroad, and recent UK research evidence confirms that languages graduates stand a better chance of employment than graduates of almost all other subjects.

"However, the old ideal of aspiring to native-speaker competence in another language needs to be replaced by a more pragmatic competence which enables students to draw on their full repertoire of language, sometimes using English, sometimes using their other languages, sometimes non-verbal strategies, often all of these together."

A languages entitlement for all pupils aged 5-16. "Unplanned variability is creating widespread uncertainty concerning modern languages, particularly at primary school."

Local ownership and innovation, supported by an innovation and training fund of up to pound;10 millon.

A variety of languages rather than French alone, including Gaelic and Urdu. Local authorities to ensure diversification.

ICT to have a central role from P6 onwards. Plus more opportunities to use languages with native speakers, including the return of foreign language assistants.

Languages to have a more important place in the upper secondary. Modern languages might even become a core skill, recognised by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

All initial teacher education courses for primary teachers should include a core modern language component that is coherent, progressive and sufficient to deliver the revised 5-14 guidelines. "In due course this will solve the problem of teacher supply for languages at primary school."

All intending secondary language teachers to have experience in primaries.

More continuing professional development in primary and secondary.

Businesses to audit and publicise the country's needs and opportunities relating to languages.

Promotion of lifelong language learning.

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