ATTEMPTS to introduce foreign languages to young children in Government-targeted zones have got off to a slow start.
Just 10 out of the 73 action zones have applied for grants of up pound;50,000, which they have to match, for primary modern foreign language programmes.
Other zone grants proved more popular - there were 29 bids for cash to improve adult to child ratios and 15 for money to establish student learning accounts.
Harry Devonport, director of Blackburn and Darwin zone, said language achievements were not a priority.
The Nationa Primary Heads Association and the Association for Language Learning blamed an overcrowded primary curriculum for the reluctance.
Steven Faukes, president of the Association for Language Learning, said: "We need a national strategy which addresses issues like teacher shortages, training to make primary teachers confident in the subject, funding and how languages transfer from primary to secondary."
A feasibility study being carried out to see if languages can become a part of the compulsory primary curriculum is due in March 2001.