Languages at Key Stage 4 2009 - 2011. Evaluation of the impact of Languages Review recommendations

Caroline Sharp, Caroline Filmer-Sankey, Helen Marshall

01 June 2010

This research brief reported on findings from the first year of what was originally planned to be a three-year evaluation of the impact of the Languages Review recommendations. The research comprised a survey of a nationally representative sample of secondary schools in England and case study visits to a small number of schools. It provides a snapshot of provision and support for languages at KS4 in 2009/10.

This research brief was written before the change of UK Government in May 2010, after which the evaluation was discontinued.

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Key Findings

  • Heads of language departments considered good teaching and support to be central to encouraging language uptake at KS4, and constraints of the options system to be the main barrier. Many schools were reported to have received excellent support for languages in 2008/09 in terms of staffing, training and resources.
  • Some schools reported a positive impact of the Languages Review recommendations, but there was a low level of awareness of the Review in the majority of schools.
  • 19 per cent of schools set a benchmark for languages uptake in 2009/10 (at an average level of 64 per cent) but 62 per cent of schools had actual levels of uptake lower than 50 per cent. In schools where languages were optional (69 per cent of schools), 80 per cent had levels of uptake below 50 per cent.

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