Midlands German Network (MGN) launched in January 2015

Connecting Local Schools, Universities and Businesses

MGN logoGraduates with German language skills are highly sought-after on the British and international labour markets. The Midlands German Network (MGN) is a university-led initiative which fosters cooperation between local schools, universities and businesses. Its aim is to make young people aware of the manifold opportunities, increase the uptake of German, and support recruitment for local employers.

The Midlands German Network will be officially launched at Aston University on January 21, 2015. This launch event will be an opportunity for networking across all three levels. Organisations represented include the German Embassy, the Goethe Institute, and UK-German Connection.

For: Secondary and Primary school teachers, pupils from Year 9 onwards; local businesses and universities, including students; anyone interested in German culture and language.

To find out more about the launch and to register for the event, please click here. Please forward details of the event to interested parties.

Registration deadline: 10 December 2014, although later registration is possible by contacting midlandsgermannetwork@aston.ac.uk. Any questions or comments should be addressed to this email address.

Manifesto for Languages launched today

MFLThis morning, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages launched its ‘Manifesto for Languages’, calling on “all political parties to make general election manifesto commitments to boost language learning”. The call for stronger commitment to MFL teaching and learning is supported by many major businesses, organisations and universities whose role in improving British language skills is said to be crucial, and the manifesto calls for “a commitment to maintaining and developing UK expertise in modern languages and cultures in university language departments”.

At the same time, the University Council of Modern Languages (UCML) is calling on all universities to make “a GCSE A*-C grade or equivalent in a modern foreign language a pre-requisite for admission to undergraduate programmes in any discipline” in order to contribute to the development of “global graduates”.

(All quotes from the THE article “University role ‘crucial’ for languages recovery“.)

The APPG’s manifesto is receiving widespread press coverage today; follow the links to some of the reports:

TES news: “Modern languages need ‘national recovery programme’, say MPs

BBC: “Modern languages ‘recovery programme’ urged by MPs

British Council: “The APPG launches the Manifesto for Languages today

The Independent: “Lack of foreign-language skills ‘threatens the UK economy’

Modern languages in the news: UK skills shortage

In the past week, numerous news outlets have reported on the alarming shortage in language skills in the UK which is predicted to jeopardize the UK economy, according to a new report by the British Council.

To read some of the news stories on the new findings, follow these links:

SKY News: Poor Language Skills ‘Hampering UK Economy

The Guardian: Shortfall in the languages the UK needs the most

BBC: ‘Alarming Shortage’ of foreign language skills in UK


Join the #1000 Words Challenge

Layout 11000 Words is a new national challenge which aims to inspire everyone to have at least 1000 words in another language. It’s designed to be an open and creative way of spreading the word, and has already been taken up by schools, universities, businesses and individuals. The 1000 Words Challenge is funded jointly by the British Academy and Routes into Languages.

Not everyone will become a fluent linguist, but the aspiration for EVERYONE to have 1000 Words in another language is realistic and achievable.

You can show your support for this goal by:

  • displaying the 1000 Words logo
  • taking action to help more people achieve it
  • spreading the word on Twitter #1000words
  • taking the 1000 Words challenge yourself!

Find out more about the 1000 Words challenge by clicking on this link.


Launchpad Languages showcases varied career opportunities for MFL graduates

The European Commission Representation in the UK has teamed up with ThirdYearAbroad.com to produce a series of video interviews with languages graduates to promote the wide range of careers that a degree in modern languages can lead to and to highlight the importance of the year abroad. The graduates featured in the clips have found work in business, finance, the media, the police, international development, education, sport, diplomacy and translation thanks to their language abilities and the skills developed on the year abroad.

Languages serve as a launch pad to a whole host of different careers and these videos are intended to give young people a better idea of where languages can take them and to encourage them to continue with their language studies and take advantage of the unique opportunities afforded by the year abroad.

There are fourteen two-minute video interviews, each featuring a different graduate, and one longer five-minute video summarising the key message that languages boost your career. To view the videos, go to the project website or watch here:

No Island Is An Island: European Perspectives on Language Learning in Britain

“Only 30% of English native speakers in the UK can have a conversation in a foreign language, compared to an EU average of 54%.”
European Survey on Language Competences 2012

No Island conferenceAlongside this year’s Language Show Live 2013 (18-20 October) in London, the European Commission’s conference ‘No Island Is An Island: European Perspectives on Language Learning in Britain’ will take place on Friday 18 October. The event will focus on the social, economic and political significance of languages in Britain.

The list of speakers includes

  • Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner responsible for Education, Youth, Sport, and Multilingualism
  • Baroness Garden Government Spokesperson: Higher Education and Skills, Government Whip and Spokesperson: Education and Defence
  • Kristina Cunningham, Head of Sector, Multilingualism policy, European Commission
  • Lid King The Languages Company
  • Marco Benedetti, Director General DG Interpretation, European Commission

More information about the conference is available on the conference website (click Register to access the full programme.)

Encourage language learning: British Academy Schools Language Awards 2013

Do you have a great idea to encourage students post-16 to take language learning to advanced levels? Have you found an effective way to inspire your A-level students to take up MFL at degree level?

If so, apply now to the British Academy Schools Language Awards 2013! The Academy is looking for schools and colleges which can demonstrate that their plans for sparking enthusiasm for MFL learning are both effective and attainable. The Academy especially welcomes projects “which involve collaboration between sectors (e.g. between schools/colleges/universities, or with business or employers), or which target learners from less advantaged social groups or areas of the country”.

For more information, and to apply, go to the BA website.

Schools language 2013 award eflier

Petition: Keep our languages exams – every language is an asset

OCR (Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations), the UK awarding body, plans to reduce its Asset Languages assessment scheme from 25 to only 5 languages (French, German, Spanish, Italian and Mandarin) from 2014.

Asset Languages currently offers accreditation for Cantonese, Cornish, Hindi, Somali, Swedish, Tamil and Yoruba, for which no GCSE examination exists. Even where GCSE exams exist, the GCSE is often designed only for learners who speak the language at home, not for those who have learnt it as a foreign language. Reducing the number of Asset languages will set back attempts to encourage the learning of a broader range of world languages, especially languages such as Arabic, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish and South Asian languages, which business leaders say are needed to develop British exports to BRIC and other high-growth countries.

Dr Terry Lamb (University of Sheffield) of the Speak to the Future campaign has started a petition urging OCR to reconsider its plans for Asset Languages, and the government to reconsider its policy towards this accreditation.

To find out more, and to sign the petition, go here.

British Academy’s first Language Week: a boost for languages in the UK

Next week, the British Academy will hold its first Language Week, comprising of a series of events for a combination of public and invited audiences. The events will
explore and champion the learning and use of languages in schools, universities,
policy making and public life. Events will take place primarily at the British Academy.

Multilingualism and the Internet (a joint event with the AHRC)
Tuesday 20 November, 6-8pm
Speakers will consider how the spread of a high-speed global internet and increasing use of social media has changed the way in which global citizens interact linguistically.
The discussion will be chaired by Professor Shalom Lappin FBA and panellists will include Professor Louisa Sadler, Dr Matthew Stuttle (Google) and Dr Ivan Panović.
This event is free to attend. Register here.

Languages and Entrepreneurship (a joint event with the Higher Education Academy)
Wednesday 21 November, 6-8pm, followed by reception
This event will explore how student international mobility and language learning can give rise to entrepreneurship and commercial success.
The panel will be composed of entrepreneurs, including founder of Applingua Ltd, Robert Lo Bue, founder of Claire L Grant Language Services, interpreter and translator Claire Lucia Grant and co-founder of Memrise, Ed Cooke.
This event is free to attend. Register here.

The Language Cauldron: Making the most of Multilingual Britain (a joint event with Cumberland Lodge)
Thursday 22 November, 10am – 5pm
This conference will bring together leading academics and public sector workers, educationalists and writers in a vibrant and constructive cross-sector discussion that takes a positive approach to existing language resources in the UK.
The conference will be divided into three panel discussions; The Language
Landscape; Multilingualism and Community Languages in Schools; and, Engaging
Education – the Arts and Multilingualism.
Confirmed speakers include: Professor Dick Wiggins, Prof Yaron Matras, Professor Mike Kelly, Bernardette Holmes, Professor Itesh Sachdev and Dr Raymonde Sneddon.
This event is free to attend. Register here.

Please contact Hannah Burd (h.burd@britac.ac.uk) for further information on Language Week 2012.

New Oxford German Network launched

Earlier today, the Oxford German Network, established earlier this year, launched its new website. The Network is an initiative of the Faculty of Medieval and
Modern Languages at the University of Oxford, with the support of the Founding
Partners Jesus College, Oxford, Magdalen College School, Oxford, and BMW Group
Plant Oxford. The network is designed to encourage and promote the study and enjoyment of German-language culture.

The website hosts a Learners Network with information about student competitions and German-related events, courses, etc., a Teachers Network as a platform for teachers of German at all levels, as well as information about Lifestyle topics, incl. events in and around Oxford, and news about Research and Work opportunities in the German-speaking world.

Alongside the website, the network will facilitate workshops and events for learners of German and running a national competition: the Oxford German Olympiad.

To learn more, go here: www.oxford-german-network.ox.ac.uk