Essex linguist helps teachers nationwide during pandemic

  • Date

    Tue 3 Nov 20

Professor Florence Myles

Primary school teachers are to get help with online French and Spanish classes during the pandemic thanks to a network dedicated to improving language teaching.

Essex linguist Professor Florence Myles leads the Research in Primary Languages (RiPL) network, which will provide free ready-made lessons which can be used by teachers across the country, through Oak National Academy.

Set up in April as a national response to the pandemic the Academy, which is funded by the Department for Education, is an online classroom created by teachers for teachers. It provides nearly 10,000 high quality video lessons and resources, aligned with the National Curriculum, for primary and secondary schools.

The range of subjects covered has just been expanded and from January will include lessons in Physical Education, Drama, Design & Technology and Relationships, Health and Sex Education. With the help of RiPL, lessons in French and Spanish will also be available for primary-aged children.

Professor Myles, from the University of Essex, explained: “During the pandemic, teachers and schools have been struggling to provide quality education for all children, when long periods of home learning have to happen at short notice.

“Important subjects like Languages have tended to be neglected, as the focus has been on ‘core’ subjects like English and Maths. So it is really great to see that schools will have access to quality online lessons in French and Spanish, under the expert guidance of RiPL.”

In the first term of the Academy 4.7million users accessed 20 million lessons, and it also  hosted national assemblies featuring the Duchess of Cambridge, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Prime Minister and even the cast of the Lion King. It is now staying open for all of 2020/21 to support contingency planning, remote and in-school teaching.