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Young linguists snubbed

Secondaries are being urged to take primary language lessons seriously.

A Department for Education and Skills-funded study of the trial to introduce primary languages said: "There was still a feeling that many secondary schools did not really value or take full account of the work done in primary schools."

The study by Warwick university concluded that the pathfinder project had made a significant contribution but that more training and a rethinking of the key stage 3 curriculum was necessary.

It found that 61 per cent of the project schools used the class teacher to teach languages, 21 per cent used the teacher alongside a secondary specialist and 13 per cent used a secondary specialist.

The Government wants all primaries to offer languages in class time for at least one hour a week to all seven to 11-year-olds.

* Learning languages after 14 depends on where pupils live, according to a survey by three language organisations. Languages became optional at 14 a year ago.

Preliminary findings of the survey of 1,190 schools show that 40 per cent of schools in the South-east insist key stage 4 pupils learn a language compared to 18 per cent of schools in the North-west. Parents' attitudes were crucial.

The survey was carried out by Cilt, the National Centre for Languages, the Association for Language Learning and the Independent Schools' Modern Languages Association.

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