Friday, 25 July 2014

Extra curricular provision in foreign languages for young children in Hyndburn

I recently wrote to LCC to ask about extra curricular provision in foreign languages for young children, particularly Mandarin and Spanish. I am now writing to all the head teachers in the constituency.

In 20 years time when most of these young children are beginning their working life the world will have moved on significantly. There is no getting away from the fact that the world will appear a smaller placed and than China long with other developing countries will have have far greater commercial and social ties to the rest of the world. China's growing economic dominance is something our children need to prepare themselves for.

Lancashire County Council have forwarded an informative reply acknowledging the importance and highlighting the opportunities that are available to schools in the constituency to support language development.
(Scan to text) Dear Graham I am writing in response to your request for information on extra curricular primary foreign languages support and opportunities in Hyndburn and Haslingden.

There is a strong tradition of primary language learning in the authority with a range of languages being offered in schools from the traditional French to Mandarin, Portuguese and of course Asian heritage languages. We agree that learning foreign languages is an increasingly important skill our children need to acquire in order to not only compete in the jobs market of the future but also to enhance their understanding and tolerance of other cultures and promote community cohesion.

Our languages team has established close links (since 2009) with the Confucius institute based at UcLAN in Preston and through this link numerous visits and exchanges to China have taken place. The Confucius institute offers fully funded visits for senior leaders/teachers and pupils (language courses) in schools to Beijing (next one October 2014);

To date:-
27 primary schools
28 secondary schools
100 staff
68 pupils
9 consultants/advisers

have taken pad in these visits in total including 4 high schools in the Hyndburn and Haslingden areas and 4 primaries. Last week we had our first resultant school to school link in East Lancashire and the institute wishes to find more partner schools in Lancashire.

The lnstitute also offers:
A wide range of cultural events and activities for schools to attend;
Chinese taster days;
Chinese language tutors (at cost to the school)
Schools can contact the Confucius lnstitute for any help

Many of the secondary schools have used their experience from these visits to offer Mandarin to their feeder primary schools. Some have set up networks in order to spread this opportunity more widely.

We also have strong links to the lnstituto Cervantes in Manchester and the Consejerla de Espafra. The lnstituto Cervantes offers a wide range of courses and events which schools can access. They can help with Spanish days in schools and training activities for teachers and provide the posters and materials that motivate and enthuse children by bringing the culture into the classroom.

They are also open to any ideas of ways in which they can help with primary Spanish and will come into schools if requested. This is a great way to ensure our children meet authentic speakers of the language and participate in activities to stimulate their interest in all things Spanish.

Schools are made aware of all these opportunities through direct mailing via our portal, presentations from cultural organisations at Lancashire courses and training events and through newsletters.
Lancashire provides support and guidance to all our schools. This includes specialist language training to enable teachers to deliver activities/cultural days, celebrate the European Day of Languages and set up links with schools abroad as well as training on pedagogy and methodology. We also offer schools the opportunity of employing a Foreign Language Assistant (FLA) (including from China at a reduced cost and Spain) through the British Council FLA exchange which the Authority administers on behalf of the British Council. It is of course a matter for the schools themselves to decide which language they will deliver as part of the school curriculum and which additional language(s) they might like to offer as extra curricular activities. We endeavour to offer as much support and guidance as we can to facilitate these opportunities to our schools. l'm sure you will agree there is much going on and much to celebrate across
Lancashire schools.
Lancashire County Council