Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, has criticised the standard of language learning in British schools, referring to language lessons in secondary schools as “weak”. It reported that many pupils had few opportunities to use the language they were learning, and that teachers were often reluctant to use the language they were teaching, meaning that students “were not taught how to respond to everyday requests”.
Language learning stopped being compulsory in 2004, and uptake of language classes has fallen sharply as a result. National Union of Teachers (NUT) general secretary Christine Blower commented that the decision to make modern languages optional was “mistaken”. Steps have been taken recently in an attempt to revive modern languages in Britain, and primary schools are now teaching the foundation stages of modern languages, in an effort to prepare children for secondary school. Although Ofsted found that primary schools were succeeding in this role, and encouraging an enjoyment of languages, the fact remains that only 44% of British GCSE students studied a language in 2010. This is frankly shocking, especially considering the role that globalisation is going to have in the future – languages have never been so important.
Lingua Translations believes that we have to encourage a love of languages, and has committed itself to doing so. Lingua Translations has given talks to students as part of its work with Go Wales, and helps graduates to get on the career ladder by offering internship programmes.