Speaking English fluently is a true advantage but speaking only English can be a disadvantage. To be successful in our ‘globalised’ world there is an ever increasing need for our young people to be competent in one or more languages and possess intercultural capability.
This message resonated at the Westminster Higher Education Forum Keynote Seminar focusing on Priorities for modern language learning where Sarah Shaw, A Level French Tutor and LIFT (Languages: Inspiring Futures Together) Project Manager, was invited to speak. The event, which was chaired by Baroness Coussins from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages, brought together dignitaries from the British Council, the Higher Education Funding Council, UBS Ltd, and language leaders and practitioners from Higher education Institutions across the country.
‘I felt very honoured to speak at the event and was keen to present not only our experiences of language teaching and learning at the College but also those of secondary and primary colleagues across the borough,’ says Sarah. ‘The LIFT Project has enabled us to develop strong links with MFL teachers in secondary schools and extend into primary schools also. The support I received from colleagues across all key stages to prepare for the seminar was fantastic and I feel that this collaboration meant that I was able to deliver a presentation that was meaningful and rooted in experience.’
‘There is so much enthusiasm and passion for language learning among teachers in Oldham despite the challenges that arise with teaching languages. We are keen to navigate our way through the barriers by strengthening our partnership working to support pupil achievement and also to promote the value of language learning to pupils and parents/carers.’
Louise Astbury, Associate Director at Oldham Sixth Form College, said
“It was an honour for us to be asked to present at the forum and Sarah did a superb job of representing the College and the views of her colleagues in primary and secondary education. At the end, she was inundated by a range of people seeking her views and her support. We are very proud of her LIFT project and what it has done to raise the value and profile of language learning”.
The LIFT project was overall national winner in the British Academy Schools Language Awards in 2013. It aims to raise awareness of the importance of language learning and works with secondary and primary aged pupils across the borough of Oldham through activities such as European Languages Day – as well as promoting the importance of language learning at events such as the Conference. If you would like to find out more about the project please email Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org