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Lost for Words

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The number of pupils sitting modern foreign languages (MFL) GCSEs and A-levels has declined dramatically. This video for KS2/KS3/KS4 headteachers and teaching staff examines the debate over the reasons for this.

This fall in numbers has occurred since the government made MFL non-compulsory, says John Dunford of the ASCL. The Confederation of British Industry claims business leaders are alarmed by the shortage of school leavers and graduates with language skills.

In this video, recorded before the May 2006 Cabinet reshuffle, Jacqui Smith MP insists that the Labour government has demonstrated its commitment to MFL. Smith, the former schools minister, argues that new government targets will see at least 50 per cent of 14-16 year olds receiving some form of language teaching.

Meanwhile, primary teachers claim they're scared by the monumental task of the Primary Languages Strategy. Many fear they will not be ready to deliver the one hour of language lessons per week by the end of the decade.

This video also looks at research from the University of Bristol, which reveals that many primary children with language skills are obliged to start from scratch when they reach secondary school.

Part of the series: School Matters

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