Our researchers have long been interested in how children in the primary classroom learn foreign languages. They have investigated a broad range of topics including what age is best for children to start learning another language, how individual differences impact on language learning, and how multilingual children learn other languages.
A particular focus of interest is the implementation of the statutory requirement to teach a foreign language to all children aged 7 to 11. Introduced in 2014, this requirement poses a real challenge when there are not enough teachers available with the necessary language expertise, curriculum time is already stretched and the time allocated to foreign language teaching by schools is thus limited. Over the last few years, we have run a series of workshops bringing together researchers, teachers and policy makers to discuss these issues.
All present at these events felt that this collaboration was very valuable and would benefit from being formalised. As a direct result, Research in Primary Languages (RiPL) was set up by Professor Florence Myles in 2017.
Our white paper is the outcome of the RiPL Primary Languages Policy Summit, which took place on Friday 23rd November 2018 at the British Academy in London. In this paper we outline a strategy to overcome some of the challenges currently faced by primary schools in delivering the statutory requirement for languages in schools. Download the white paper (.pdf) or visit the policy section of the RiPL website to learn more.