Saturday, 26 January 2008

Lost in translation

A lack of communication between primaries and secondaries is threatening to undermine young children's learning of languages. Figures obtained by the TES suggest most primary schools are giving secondaries too little information about pupils' progress in learning a foreign language. As a result, secondary teachers do not know what level, if any, the pupils have reached, or even what language they have been learning.

The National Foundation for Educational Research is monitoring the introduction of languages in primaries. Their recently released report suggests that 70% of primaries are offering languages. However, just 17% send information on the children's progress to secondaries. It also said that there was no difference between children who had learnt French from 8 and those who started at 11, partly because many secondaries had treated all pupils as if they knew nothing.

I think there's a lot of work to do if languges are going to be taught properly in schools. For a start, primaries should teach the same languages as they do in their feeder high schools.

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