Saturday, 1 December 2012

Languages in Primary Schools from 2014!



I have just read Clare Seccombe's post where she rejoices that teaching languages in primary schools will be compulsory in Key Stage 2 (ages 7 to 11) from 2014.
This is following a public consultation, where the vast majority of respondents (91%) support the Government proposal. Responses are detailed in the consultation report dated 16th of November.

91%? This an overwhelming result!  Or is it?
The number of respondents was: 318... 318? The government based their decision on the opinion of 318 people?

Don't take me wrong. I am absolutely chuffed by the outcome. In this instance, I think the right result has emerged. However, I am astonished by the low participation in the consultation, and even more so by the consultation being public in the first place!

First of all, I never heard of the consultation, which took place in July. The summer/Olympics combination could have been a big factor in the discretion. Having said that, I do not think it was publicised much, as I would otherwise have heard of it.

Second, why a public consultation? Why base the decision of what subjects to teach in primary school on a plebiscite?
In matters of education, I would hope decisions would be based on research, comparing studies and collating evidence in the relevant fields. An x-factor style vote, which is open to the whole population, seems hardly a constructive way to plan our children's education.

I do now see a point to Michael Rosen's plea to changing the way education policies are made...

In the meantime, I have just submitted my views on the second leg of the consultation: what languages to teach. The consultation started on the 16th of November, and will close on the 16th of December.

Wonder how many people will respond this time.