According to the British Council, millions of children did not receive any language tuition during lockdowns in England. During the first lockdown more than half of primary school children and 40% of secondary school pupils did not do any language learning.
With these worrying statistics the government will not meet its target of three-quarters of pupils taking a modern language GCSE by 2022.
The poor take up of languages in schools is concerning as a country trying to compete in international markets. According to Lady Coussins, co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on modern languages, “Having a foreign language skill, even at a basic level, improves social mobility and employability. Without it, our young people are at a disadvantage in a global labour market.”
Considering this lack of language study due to the pandemic, if your child is due to take a language GCSE exam either next summer or in 2023 this is highly concerning.
There are many benefits of having a private language tutor alongside school lessons:
By having a weekly session with a private tutor your son or daughter can go through any problems they are having in lessons. They may just need something explaining in a different way or a little extra practice on certain things. With one-to-one instant feedback they can progress quickly and feel more confident when speaking or writing the language.
Even before the pandemic teachers find it difficult to find sufficient lesson time to cover all the vocabulary on the different topics, teach the grammar points and find time for all the students in the class to practice their speaking. This is where you really need individual attention to improve the oral aspect of the exams. A private language tutor will use past papers and extra speaking activities similar to those in the exams so that the student is exposed to as much practice as possible.
Students are often reluctant to speak in a foreign language in front of their peers which makes a one-to-one lesson with their own private tutor the ideal opportunity to practice their speaking.
Your tutor should be up-to-date with the latest exam syllabus and the types of questions they will be facing. Lesson material will be designed to focus on exam technique, how to impress the examiner in order to achieve the best grade possible. This extra practice will prove invaluable when the real exams begin.
Your private language tutor can reinforce what is being taught in school with extra exercises to practice and tackle the most difficult aspects of grammar. GCSE students are finding that they are being asked to learn set phrases off by heart rather than understanding the grammar used to be able to form their own sentences and express themselves as they want to. Once it comes to the oral and written aspect of the exams, this is where they can fall down because they do not fully understand grammar and sentence building rules.
However, there is some good news; nearly 110,000 pupils are due to sit Spanish this year, almost double the number than in 2003 and up 20% since 2018.
Vicky Gough, school’s adviser at the British Council, says: “As education begins to recover from the pandemic, it’s essential that language learning is prioritised and available for all pupils. The benefits of having language skills and some understanding of other cultures cannot be overstated, particularly as the UK renegotiates its place on the world stage.”
If you would like to know more about how our language lessons work or if you would like to enquire about booking a lesson for your son or daughter, please contact us.