British government pushes measures to boost language education in schools

  • Thursday, 05/09/2024
  • Admin



The 2023-2024 academic has started, and schools across the UK are taking proactive measures to enhance language education for children and teenagers.

Earlier in the year, a £14.9 million contract was made between the British government and University College London (UCL) to initiate a three-year program aimed at revitalizing language learning in primary and secondary education.

The measures were taken after noticing a decrease in the number of pupils entering the English Baccalaureate (Ebacc), which meant a reduction in students taking a language as a subject during their studies at school.  

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”.

Central to this endeavour is the establishment of the National Centre for Languages Education (NCLE) by University College London's Institute of Education. This centre will comprise up to 25 lead schools specialising in languages, working with 105 partner secondary schools to elevate the standard of language education.

The British Council identified five prioritised languages that would allow the UK to improve their international security and influence in the following decades: German, Spanish, Mandarin, French and Arabic. Of these, particular emphasis will be placed on promoting German language proficiency and cultural understanding, partnering with Goethe-Institut and providing trainer German specialist teachers to work with students in the selected schools.

It Is not surprise that German is given special importance in the programme. Entries of students for a German GCSE has been consistently declining from 10.3% in 2009/2010 to 5.8% in 2020/2021.

Furthermore, Germany ranks as the largest economy in Europe, and the fourth largest in the world after United States, China and Japan, and German is the second most-commonly used language in scientific research. Considering that the contract was arranged to boost the UK’s national prospects in international economy in the following decades, the German-focused operations are consistent with their ethos.

The NCLE will also aim to create an online toolkit for teachers to support them in the improvement of curriculums and assessment methodologies.

These measures work as a reminder of the importance of working towards earning skills in a second language to have an extended number of opportunities in businesses and careers.


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