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Disadvantaged pupils 'should be encouraged to study languages'

12/01/2011 Joanna
It is important that students from disadvantaged backgrounds recognise the importance of learning a language at school.

This is according to Teresa Tinsley, director of planning, delivery and communications at the National Centre for Languages, who said we must not let languages be viewed as elitist subjects that have no relevance for lower performing students.

She also expressed concern that too few pupils are keeping languages on until their GCSEs.

"We have welcomed the announcement of the English baccalaureate as a way of increasing numbers. However, increased numbers will also increase the challenges in providing motivating and high quality teaching, especially in those schools where language departments have been seriously weakened," Ms Tinsley commented.

"We are particularly concerned that these schools are ones with higher than average numbers of pupils on free school meals, and that high quality language learning is concentrated in grammar schools, specialist language colleges and the independent sector."

A report published this week by Ofsted noted that there are some schools in England where not one pupil is studying a modern foreign language beyond the age of 14.
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