British Council wants multiple languages to be compulsory

The British Council has rejected proposals to make just one language compulsory at key stage 2 ― arguing that exposure to multiple languages is critical as pupils move up to secondary education.

It has also called for the government to consider making languages compulsory at key stage 4.

The government wants to make languages at key stage 2 compulsory from September 2014, but its consultation document proposes requiring just one language to be taught. 

The document explains: “We are seeking to make provision under the 2002 Education Act to ensure that all maintained schools must teach a foreign language at key stage 2, from year 3 to 6. This could be either a modern foreign language or an ancient language such as Latin or ancient Greek.”

The British Council’s response to the consultation, which has now closed, said: “If foreign language teaching at key stage 2 is of one foreign language, this benefit at key stage 3 will not be realised unless all key stage 2 pupils going into any one secondary school learn the same foreign language – which, rightly, is not proposed.”

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