Teaching languages other than English
CfBT has distinctive competence in languages and our expertise goes beyond the teaching of English. In the UK, we specialise in supporting the teaching of a comprehensive range of languages other than English.
Worldwide, we help students to learn English. In England, we focus on languages other than English. CfBT works at both national policy and local support levels on issues related to the effective teaching of modern foreign languages. Our expertise covers all ages: from early years to pre-university and teacher training. CILT, the National Centre for Languages in the UK, which began its work in 1966, merged with CfBT in 2011.
Drawing upon the rich CILT legacy, our long involvement in languages education has included the following:
- collaborating closely with the Department for Education as well as education departments of almost all local authorities in England to support schools in the implementation of new policies and the development of languages education;
- developing materials for school-based professional learning designed to support teachers delivering high quality continuing professional development (CPD) in their own schools as well as for others;
- providing excellent initial teacher training (ITT) in languages through the National Languages ITT Alliance. This constitutes a group of schools which work with CfBT to provide a specialist course training graduates to teach French, German, Spanish, Italian and Mandarin in English secondary schools. Trainees are placed in a school for one academic year and are supported by our specialist team of tutors. The programme was judged 'good' by Ofsted, the national school inspectorate in 2013. 95 per cent of our trainees rated the training as good or very good in a national survey by the Teaching Agency. The majority of trainees are native speakers of the language they are training to teach through the course is also open to high quality graduates of UK universities;
- conducting and publishing the annual Language Trends Survey since 2002. The survey is an authoritative analysis of languages teaching issues in schools in England and a unique two-way conduit between policy makers and practising teachers. See the Language trends 2013/14 report;
- managing the national Languages Support Programme funded by the UK Department for Education from 2011 to 2013. The programme worked with schools across England, all of which were part of the then newly formed Teaching School Alliances (TSAs) to address barriers to higher performance identified by Ofsted inspectors;
- we are currently leading a research project on behalf of the Education Endowment Foundation to investigate whether or not there are links between early language learning and improved literacy. This research is taking place in schools in four different regions of the country and the results will be published in the summer of 2014;
- we are managing a project with funding from the London Schools Excellence Fund which aims to raise to raise teachers' subject knowledge in languages and to increase pupil attainment in languages. This project is focussed specifically on teachers and pupils at Key Stage 2 and at the point of transition to Key Stage 3 in schools spread across eight London boroughs. The project will run until the summer of 2015.
CfBT's work includes specialist research into a wide range of issues relating to languages education including the following:
- the Language trends survey: a nationwide annual survey on the provision and take-up of languages in England, see the Language trends 2013/14 report
- action research series: publications that provide detailed information of practical research projects developed and implemented by school-based teams, see The quiet revolution report
- lessons from abroad: an international review of primary languages that provides an evidence base on language learning within various primary curricula across the world, presenting the benefits of starting foreign language learning in primary school or earlier, see the Lessons from abroad report.