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NAHT: Olympic legacy shouldn't just involve sports

17/08/2012 Joanna
The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) has called on the government to ensure that the legacy of the Olympic Games stretches to more than just sports provision.

While sports pitches have been dominating the headlines in recent days, following the publication of A-level results showing that the take-up of French, German and Spanish continues to plunge, general secretary of the NAHT Russell Hobby called for the development of a strategy to promote modern foreign languages (MFL).

"If London 2012 showed us one thing, it is the potential to forge stronger business and cultural links overseas," he commented.

"One of the keys to securing these opportunities will be our willingness to learn the languages of those with whom we hope to establish mutually beneficial relationships."

The decline in those taking core European languages is not just being seen at A-level. According to the National Centre for Foreign Languages, total language entries accounted for just six per cent of all GCSE entries in 2011, down from seven per cent in 2007 and ten per cent in 2000.

And just last week, the Welsh Conservatives called for MFL teaching to start as early as Key Stage 2 to help reverse the slump.

Mr Hobby also suggested that those in language teaching jobs should be placed at the heart of the reforms.

"From investigating the possibility of giving talented language teachers a golden hello to setting up advisory networks, we must begin to raise the status of MFL," he explained.

However, while there is no doubt French, Spanish and German are in decline, those who have taken up teaching vacancies in emerging languages will have seen an increase in the number of pupils taking their classes.

The Press Association says that the number taking Polish A-levels rose from 844 last year to 923 this year, while there were 3,425 entries for Mandarin, up 188 on 2011.

There were also more exams sat in Arabic, Japanese and Russian, although at GCSE-level last year, Modern Hebrew was the only language not to experience a drop. 

Posted by Alan DouglasADNFCR-2164-ID-801431166-ADNFCR
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