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Languages For All? The Push and Pull of Policy

May 8, 2024
This is School

Join Dr. Abigail Parrish to explore research findings on the decline in GCSE language exam entries.

"You should not learn other languages because everyone should learn English."

This is just one of the responses from students Dr. Abigail Parrish shared during their webinar Languages For All? The Push and Pull of Policy when they joined us to discuss how education policy, including EBacc and P8, has impacted language learning in schools across the UK.

Although it can feel somewhat jarring (and saddening!) to be faced with negative attitudes from students, it's a relevant and timely reminder of how we need to continue celebrating the wide ranging benefits of learning languages, and ensuring these are instilled throughout our education systems.

Abigail explores this and more throughout their webinar, including:

📉 The impact of making language learning optional beyond primary school level

✈️ The nature of the curriculum and how focusing on 'tourist interactions' can impact the perception of language learning

📃Current language assessment methods, and the lack of global context in many classrooms

🔍The "hidden injury of class" when it comes to access to language learning

🏫Wider challenges being faced by the education system, including teacher recruitment and physical space in schools

And, although the opening opinions shared from students may have felt gloomy, there is light at the end of the webinar as reflected by some much more hopeful student statement shared at the end of the session!

"Multilingualism means you're really cool!"

Watch the full recording to explore these topics in further detail. Don't forget to tell us what you think and submit your ideas for future webinars here.

If you would like to read more of Abigail's work, you can download their recent paper Policy tug of war: EBacc, progress 8 and modern foreign languages in England here.

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