A new initiative has been launched to boost the uptake and teaching of modern foreign languages (MFL) in Welsh schools.
The Global Futures programme, which is to be supported by up to £480,000 of funding from the Welsh government in the first academic year, will come into effect from September.
It will involve one secondary school in each of Wales' four regional consortia being appointed as a Centre of Excellence for Modern Foreign Languages. These institutions will then partner with other schools in their area to raise standards in education across the board.
Teachers at the Centre of Excellence will receive targeted Continuing Professional Development and benefit from partnerships with Welsh universities and language institutes, including the Goethe-Institut and the Alliance Francaise.
A mentoring programme will also be created for Key Stage 3 pupils to better inform pupils of the benefits of learning a foreign language.
In order to ensure the plan is fully implemented, an MFL steering group will be established made up of experts from schools, universities, Estyn, the British Council, language institutes and education consortia.
This group will develop a wider strategy for promoting MFL subjects, and consider how to encourage undergraduates and postgraduates to work with new Centres of Excellence to improve language learning.
It will also consider how to harness new digital technologies for the benefit of pupils and teachers.
Education minister Huw Lewis said that the uptake of MFL has fallen recently, despite the importance of such subjects to Welsh businesses and young people looking to compete for jobs in the global economy.
"I want to ensure that more and more of our young people actively choose to study an MFL as part of their school education, and develop the skills they need to thrive in a modern global economy," he added.
Posted by Alan Douglas