Too few qualified teachers mean one in 10 primary schools likely to miss language targets


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The Independent Online

A shortage of qualified teachers means that one in 10 primary schools believe they are unlikely to be able to deliver on the Government’s pledge to make learning a language compulsory for all seven-year-olds from next year.

Almost a quarter (23 per cent) say they currently have no-one on their staff with language qualifications beyond GCSE, although some of these think they will nevertheless be able to deliver the required level of teaching.

“Schools have least confidence in their ability to deliver the more technical and rigorous aspects of language teaching – including reading, writing and grammatical understanding,” says a report published yesterday [Wed].

The findings emerge in the annual survey of language provision in schools published by the CfBT Education Trust which says that, while foreign language teaching is now a reality in most primary schools - there is a lack of consistency in both approach and outcomes, making it difficult for secondary schools to build on pupils’ learning.

Figures show a slight improvement in the proportion of pupils taking up languages at GCSE (41 per cent of pupils, up 1 per cent on the previous year) although because of a fall in student numbers, this is actually fewer pupils than before.

The report also finds that that opinion amongst teachers is divided as to whether the subject should again become compulsory for 14 to 16-year-olds.  Compulsory lessons for this age group were scrapped by Labour nearly a decade ago