Impact of the course

Evaluating the impact of the multi-lingual foundation course

The Discovering Language project was externally evaluated by the University of Manchester. Teachers and pupils were surveyed by questionnaire and face-to-face interviews when the pilot cohort ended Year 6, then in their secondary school in Year 7 and again in Year 10.

Main findings:

Year 6

Teachers agreed that pupils had gained a great deal from the project. Lower ability pupils and boys were singled out as benefiting most. Pupils were convinced of the need to learn languages. Parents were largely positive after they had understood the purpose of the project. Teachers and heads said the teaching resources were accessible and the programme offered advantages over conventional monolingual teaching.

Year 7

The researchers surveyed the performance and attitudes of the pupils who had followed the Discovering Language programme and all the other pupils, some of whom had come from primary schools where they had been taught one language while some had no previous foreign language experience. The pupils were less nervous about learning foreign languages and more enthusiastic. The secondary school teachers were very positive about receiving pupils who had done the programme and were keen on primary schools continuing and extending it.

Year 10

More Discovering Language pupils had opted for languages in KS4 than non Discovering Language pupils but differences in school policies make it impossible to claim significance in this finding. However, pupils from the programme were enjoying languages more.

Secondary teachers said that the approach seemed to have excited curiosity about culture as well as language. They saw it as a realistic and practical solution to the multiple problems surrounding the primary to secondary transition.