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German given boost as part of new schools language programme

New flagship language programme launched, designed to boost the quality of language lessons in primary and secondary schools

  • Programme to improve language lessons in schools to be led by University College London from September 2023.

  • Part of the Language Hubs programme will be to promote German language in schools.

  • Government remains committed to boosting language learning in schools by announcing an expansion to the Mandarin Excellence Programme.

Thousands of pupils will benefit from a new flagship language programme, designed to boost the quality of language lessons in primary and secondary schools. The programme aims to meet Government’s targets of increasing the number of pupils taking languages at GCSE level and beyond, by providing high-quality, evidence-based language training.

The Department for Education today (Friday 3 March) is announcing IOE, University College London’s (UCL) Faculty of Education and Society has successfully secured a contract worth £14.9 million to run its Language Hubs programme in primary and secondary schools over the next three years, building on the ground-breaking work the National Centre for Excellence for Language Pedagogy (NCELP) had delivered to improve language teaching.

Recruitment will begin for up to 25 lead schools who specialise in languages to support up to 105 partner schools who sign up to the programme, in its first year. The lead schools will work with partner secondary schools by modelling best practice and evidence-based training for language teachers. The programme aims to improve the transition of language learning from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3, so students have strong language knowledge – an important component of a broad and balanced curriculum.

Another part of the Language Hubs programme will be focused on German. Plans will be developed to promote German language learning and culture, working with trained German specialist teachers to widen the participation of German language learning in both primary and secondary schools. UCL IOE will partner with Goethe-Institut to implement these phased plans.

This will support the Department’s EBacc ambition for 90 per cent of year 10 pupils in state-funded schools to study a combination of core academic subjects including a language, by 2025.

Nick Gibb, Minister for School Standards said:

Our economy needs people who can communicate across the globe and trade with overseas businesses. This programme is about ensuring we have the next generation of young people with the languages needed to compete on the world stage. Raising academic standards in schools has been a key priority for the Government since 2010. Our range of Curriculum Hubs - exemplary schools spreading their best practice - have played a huge part in improving the quality of teaching in schools. Language teachers will benefit from rigorous training and knowledge, working with experts, to improve language lessons in both primary and secondary schools, opening up these global opportunities for generations to come.

The Language Hubs programme will be rolled out in line with Ian Bauckham’s 2016 Modern Foreign Languages Pedagogy Review which recommended the need for systematic knowledge of the vocabulary, grammar, and phonics of the language being studied. It will also deliver on the Department’s Schools White Paper pledge to create a network of Language Hubs.

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