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30th May 2014 at 01:00

Making global citizens of Edinburgh's pupils

Edinburgh has been piloting an ambitious approach to modern foreign language learning from nursery onwards in 15 schools. After a very successful evaluation, this approach will be rolled out to all schools from August.

Edinburgh's "1+2" approach is based on three key principles: accessibility, sustainability and learning together. It acknowledges the opportunities and challenges of implementation noted in the evaluation of the national trials, and seeks creative ways to overcome them.

Making languages part of the everyday life of the school is our starting point. New, engaging and accessible resources, in a wide range of languages, are available for teachers to use as part of their everyday classroom routines, from lining up to counting to 100. The resources also cover class topics, and include sound files recorded by native speakers to support pupils and teachers with pronunciation.

Sustainability is central to Edinburgh's approach; developing the capacity of our staff is at the heart of what we do. Every primary teacher will undertake training in using these resources over the next three years. We are introducing a new, flexible training model for teaching modern languages in the primary school, designed to increase participation and celebrate success. Staff will be encouraged to gain accreditation or a Scottish Qualifications Authority national qualification in their chosen language.

On my many visits to schools and centres, I see foreign or Chinese language assistants, German educational trainee teachers, student volunteers from the University of Edinburgh and bilingual parents working alongside teachers and children, sharing their language and culture. There is little that highlights more clearly languages' fundamental importance in equipping our young people for a modern world in which we are all global citizens.

Noel Miller

Media officer, City of Edinburgh Council

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