From education to employment

Enriching Key Stage 2 Curriculum; Language Learning Natural Part of Preparing for Life

Language learning has become a crucial part of a child’s basic education, more so because of the growing demands of globalisation. At a time when language learning in the country still faces difficulties, the National Centre for Languages (CILT) has welcomed the Department for Education and Skills (DfES)’s publication of its Framework for Languages in Key Stage 2 document.

The Government has pledged £49.5 million over two years to support the implementation of the Framework as it takes forward its objective of introducing an entitlement to language learning for every Key Stage 2 pupil by 2010. This follows a successful pilot across nineteen local authorities, involving almost 1,400 primary schools. The core content will act as a reference tool for all those involved in planning, teaching and monitoring primary languages.

The Target Groups

Research on the use of languages in the business world business context that the earlier languages are learnt, the more confidence people have in using them. Indeed, the Director General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has just this summer expressed the importance of language literacy in the world today. The Framework presents learning objectives over the four years of KS2, in oral practice, literacy and intercultural understanding, which are underpinned by two cross-cutting strands: Knowledge about Language and Language Learning Strategies.

The Framework includes targeted guidance for those new to teaching primary languages as distinct from those who are already doing so, plus sections for Head Teachers and educational planners, and another section for secondary schools. As this is a flexible document, the Framework provides for schools or groups of schools to create their own courses and to teach the languages most suited to their circumstances.

Investing in the Language and Cultural Expertise

Translators and interpreters specialising in finance, IT and legal services are the busiest in the profession, with demand expected to remain at the same level or even rise in the future. It is also predicted that the requirement for language services will rise in the tourism and public-service sectors.

The results of a survey of language and cultural service providers, published by CILT, highlight the extent to which these business sectors draw on expertise from translators, interpreters, language trainers and cultural-briefing consultants. The survey shows an overall increase in demand for translation services as well as a growing trend towards localisation and cultural-training services, while demand for language training is decreasing.

The most demanded languages in businesses commissioning language services are French, Spanish and German. Providers registered on CILT’s BLIS Professionals database expect Chinese to replace German in the top three and Spanish to overtake French as the most sought-after language. Director of CILT, Isabella Moore, said: “We know that businesses and organisations who invest in language expertise perform better than those who don”t. The trends identified in this survey further highlight the value of professional language and cultural services to the business community and the important role they play in supporting the UK economy.”

Aakriti Kaushik, International Education Correspondent

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