This month has seen the schools start their new academic year and with it a new curriculum. A key feature of this new curriculum is Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) as a compulsory subject for KS2. For several years now MFL has increased it’s profile in the KS2 classroom with both staff and pupils becoming increasingly aware of it’s importance.
What does the change mean for our children? Of course, there are many benefits to studying a language in Primary School. Firstly, it is a valuable skill that children can develop in secondary school and keep with them for their adult life. With the studying of the language itself also comes the opportunity to engage with and find out more about other countries and cultures. By the time they leave Primary school, children will have spent four years studying languages. In some cases they will have studied one language for the duration of this time and should be quite competent in reading, writing, speaking and listening on a variety of topics and from a variety of sources. Other children will study more than one language during this time and will develop in the same four skills in both languages. Either way, children will build up a base of language learning skills, giving them an understanding of how languages work, techniques for how to learn languages and confidence to put this into practice.
It will not go unnoticed by many who have spent time in other European countries that children there begin to learn modern foreign languages such as English at a young age and by the time they are 11 the expectation is that they are quite proficient at a second or even third language. The good news is that thanks to these changes and the continued commitment of schools, specialist teachers and education professionals, children in the UK should soon be able to do the same.