By James Foster
I am currently doing a PGCE in Secondary Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) at BGU and as part of my British Council ITT Scholarship I was invited to the House of Commons to attend an All Party Parliamentary Meeting on MFL.
The meeting was chaired by Tonia Antoniazzi MP and involved speakers from Cardiff University and leaders of Welsh university/school collaborative initiatives, the practitioners delivering them and students benefiting from them. Present also were representatives from Routes into Languages Cymru, the MFL Student Mentoring Project and a variety of UK universities.
Part of the meeting’s aim was to talk about the MFL Student Mentoring Project in Wales which is a 5-year long project with the aim of increasing GCSE uptake in MFL. One shocking statistic presented at the meeting was that last year only 64 pupils in the whole of Wales took German A-level, reflecting the current state of MFL in the rest of the United Kingdom.
Another interesting topic later in the meeting came from a representative from Anglia Ruskin University who is currently promoting the theme of linguistics as a GCSE topic, something which I personally would be very interested in seeing. Could this be one of the missing links in the struggle to promote MFL as a subject? In my opinion MFL has many cross-curricular links and linguistics would provide a link with the sciences, however for me the decline in foreign exchange visits poses a bigger threat. Exchange visits offer pupils the opportunity to apply what they are learning and see the relevance but in the past few years these have declined
The meeting finished with open questioning by anyone present at the meeting and after being adjourned was followed by a networking session in the Committee Room.
Thank you to the British Council for inviting me to go as part of their ITT scholarship and to BGU for letting me have the day off placement to go!
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