Foreign languages to be taught from age 7

Michael Gove is to announce details of the coming overhaul of the national curriculum later this week. One item currently making waves is his announcement that languages will become compulsory in primary education:

©DailyMail

In common with high-performing schools in this country and other high-performing jurisdictions, I want to add breadth to the primary curriculum by requiring all schools to teach a foreign language at Key Stage 2, from Year 3 to Year 6.

The new foreign languages Programme of Study will require an appropriate balance of spoken and written language. Pupils must learn to speak in sentences, with appropriate pronunciation. They will have to express simple ideas with clarity. Pupils should also learn to write phrases and short sentences from memory. They should develop an understanding of basic grammar. And they should become acquainted with songs and poems in the language studied. Teaching should focus on making substantial progress in one language.

Numerous news outlets and language organisations (BBCIndependent, Network for Languages, to name a few) have reported this story, and the accompanying comments pages show a wide range of reactions, from ecstatic to furious. Feel free to weigh in on the matter by leaving a comment here!

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