This paper is suitable for school leaders in the secondary phase, and all members of the senior leadership team (SLT) who are involved in pupils’ pastoral care, community links, and developing the curriculum.
What are heritage languages and where do pupils study them?
“The teaching of foreign languages in schools should be more reflective of “modern Britain”, with greater numbers of pupils learning languages such as Arabic and Polish” announced Robin Walker MP, Minister for School Standards, in October 2021.
Approximately 30,000 students take a qualification in their ‘community’ language every year. A majority of
students entering community language exams through their mainstream school do not study the subject in there, but in a community-led supplementary school setting. However, the impact of the pandemic has meant that far fewer pupils have been able to sit these qualifications in their mainstream school in the last two years and there is a danger that this downturn in examination entries will continue. Increasingly, pupils are entering school as bilinguals but leaving school as monolingual.
This information paper is aimed at supporting school communities to realise the importance of bilingualism and to support mainstream schools in facilitating heritage language exam entries for their pupils.
The value of community language examinations is recognised as strategically important to the country in terms of economic growth and exports; security, defence, and international relations; social mobility, and educational achievement of EAL pupils.
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