A new Centre of Excellence for Modern Languages aims to improve the teaching of Spanish, French and German in England.
Funded to the tune of £4.8 million over the next four years, the Centre is part of what School Standards Minister Nick Gibb calls a new drive to deliver a nation of confident linguists and ensure that businesses have the skilled workers they need.
Backed by the CBI, the new facility will be part of a wider network based around nine leading schools across England which will act as language hubs.
A survey of employers by the CBI and Pearson has found that almost two thirds of businesses say foreign language skills are important, particularly in helping build relations with clients, customers and suppliers.
The initiative will give teachers the expertise and support they need to teach pupils key languages such as Spanish, French and German explained Nick Gibb, and the knowledge that pupils will gain in at GCSE and A level will help deliver the skilled workforce we need.
Studying foreign languages, developing cultural awareness and understanding global business is vital if the UK is to maintain a competitive edge on the international stage, commented CBI UK Policy Director Matthew Fell.
Although the launch of a Centre of Excellence and regional hubs will play a big part in delivering this, he added, businesses can play a role too by championing foreign language skills among their employees and supporting training wherever possible.
The Centre will start working with the first hubs this autumn. The nine regional hubs will be led by the following schools: Archbishop Temple School, Preston; Blatchington Mill School and Sixth Form, Hove; Broxbourne School, Hertfordshire; Cardinal Hume Catholic School, Gateshead; Dartford Grammar School, Kent; Dixons Kings Academy, Bradford; Presdales School, Hertfordshire; Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School, Marlow; and St James’ School, Exeter.