Pitch Target: 
Print: The Independent

 

Background information & Story

Almost a quarter of primary schools in England have no staff with a language qualification higher than a GCSE, the study published by the CfBT Education Trust and the British Council has revealed this morning. Keeping in mind all schools in England will be expected to give seven to 11-year-olds language lessons from September it is worth investigating further and analyse the differences between free and private schools in England.

The figures are quite staggering: it found that in 23 percent of primary schools surveyed the highest language qualification held by teachers was a GCSE and 31 percent said they had teachers with an A-level in a foreign language. Just 30 percent of those polled had a teacher with a language degree.

However, the study shows some 85 percent of primary schools surveyed backed the change and 42 percent said they already met the new criteria.

It would be interesting for a lead story to look closely at the differences between private schools and free schools and see how languages are being taught. Special focus devoted to: equipment and resources available, teacher’s qualification and if they receive any particular training, pupils’ timetable to see how many hours are dedicated to the study of a foreign language etc.

The study also warned England’s primary schools were failing further behind their European neighbours in terms of the learning of basic knowledge in at least one foreign language. It will be interesting to have a sidebar story with a graph to illustrate those European differences. In many countries such as French pupils start learning English or German in primary schools and some schools now are trying to offer pupils a second foreign language.

 

Pictures: A picture of a British pupil (maybe one wearing a uniform) writing in French, German or any other language.

 

Interviewees

- Teresa Tinsley is the co-author if the study so she can make further comments and talk about any noticeable differences between free and private primary schools. This is the link to her linkedin page http://uk.linkedin.com/in/teresatinsley

- Department for Education Michael Gove = he can react to the study and comment on it and also give us updates information about the government’s strategy as regard the learning of a foreign language.

- Wye School is a free school in Kent - Phone 01233 811110 or email office@wyeschool.org.uk = We need to talk to the head of the schools but also to a teacher (it will be important to ensure that the teacher speak out freely without any pressure from the school administration – giving them anonymity will be considered).

- Shernold School is a private school in Maidstone – Phone 01622 752868 or email shernold@shernold.plus.com = Same interview the head of the school and teachers.

- Professor Sir Roy Anderson led the survey “Making Education Work” published earlier this year, which urged the British government to introduce radical changes into the English education system. It would be interesting to know what he has to say about those figures. Phone 020 7594 3399 or his assistant Miss Susan Hines 020 7594 3629.

Module: 
MA Practical Multimedia Journalism

Many primary school teachers 'ill-equipped' to teach languages