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East Lancashire children to be taught languages from seven upwards
CHILDREN in East Lancashire aged from seven upwards will be taught a foreign language as part of new measures to be introduced by top education bosses.
But children as young as four in the area are already taught a foreign language in some primary schools, it has been revealed.
Education Secretary Michael Gove is set to put forward proposals to make learning a foreign language compulsory for pupils from the age of seven.
Under the plans primary schools could offer lessons in Mandarin, Latin and Greek as well as French, German and Spanish from September 2014.
Ministers said that equipping children with foreign language skills was essential to allow them to compete in a global economy and support economic growth in future.
Simoni Anders, year four teacher responsible for primary modern languages at Haslingden Primary School, said: “We teach in Spanish after there was a big, big drive from government to teach languages in primary school.
“We started teaching it to children in reception and carried on even though it wasn’t made compulsory.
“We are really excited that it could be compulsory by 2014.
“However when we carried out an audit and we found teachers had some basic French and Spanish, and while there were some free courses, funding for other language courses had stopped.
“We are actually finding that teachers and children are now learning together.
“Learning languages creates opportunities. It gives children a global dimension.
“It teaches them respect and awareness of other children in school who might already speak another language.”
Deborah Thorpe, Westholme School French teacher, who teaches the language from year one children upwards, said: “You can see the real progression when children learn another language.
“But it was supposed to be mandatory in 2007-2008 and most primary schools are teaching some form of language.”
Bob Stott, Lancashire County Council's director with responsibility for schools, said: "Our specialist advisers have been working closely with our schools for the last five years to enable and encourage language teaching in primary schools.
"Around 90 per cent of primary schools currently teach at least one language, usually French or Spanish.
“And the children enjoy it very much."