Here at Viva Languages we are really excited about the announcement this year by Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, that all children from the age of seven are to be taught a foreign language from 2014. This is welcome news since according to recent official figures one in ten state primary schools do not offer any language lessons and a further 20 per cent only offer it to some year groups.
This move is aimed at increasing numbers of students who study language GCSEs and higher level exams and therefore make British students better equipped once they leave school to compete in the global marketplace.
It is true that when it comes to learning languages, we lag far behind the rest of Europe. A report earlier this year found that “countries with high-performing education systems begin teaching foreign languages at a much younger age than England.”
By starting to learn the simple basics of a foreign language from an early age pupils will cope much better in secondary school and are more likely to go on to become fluent in another language or several languages.
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