Supporting modern foreign languages in your school

This paper has been produced primarily for secondary schools, and in association with the British Council and the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL). It is designed to assist governors, trustees and governing boards to support language learning in their schools and trusts.

Download guide to Supporting Modern Foreign Languages in your School (PDF)

Why is language learning important?

"We are calling for a step change in the way that we as a nation approach language learning... at a time when we need to communicate with the world better than ever before, language learning is in decline at almost every life stage and in numerous contexts. Language skills cannot be perceived as nice-to-have. The UK has the potential to become a linguistic powerhouse. If it did, it would be more prosperous, productive, influential and, literally, healthier. Languages must be the wind in global Britain’s sails."
David Cannadine, President of the British Academy

The report includes practical ways to help your modern foreign language department:

  • Restructure the curriculum or options to encourage pupils to choose a foreign language.
  • Ensure appropriate numbers of hours for language teaching at KS3 and KS4.
  • Promote the importance of foreign languages, for example, support for international experience, visits, trips and Erasmus schemes.
  • Develop relationships and encourage collaboration with primary schools to support effective transition.
  • Liaise with local universities, language institutes, subject associations, and local businesses which support MFL.
  • Develop promotional information for parents at option evenings, and information and careers advice.
  • Support continuous professional development for MFL teachers through subject communities.
  • Encourage and support opportunities for pupils to practise their language skills outside the classroom.
  • Encourage governors and parents with language skills to act as role models for language learning.

Further reading

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