UCFL is deeply involved in issues around how and where languages are taught. The impact of policy and trends in primary and secondary schools can be felt in Universities both in terms of the range and volume of potential applicants and in terms of preparedness for University study. This then impacts on teaching and learning at tertiary level. UCFL is also concerned with the virtuous circle of graduates progressing into teaching, via PGCE or other teacher training programmes.
This area of the site focuses on sources of information, sources of statistics, links to relevant organisations and projects of relevance to languages education, from primary to HE. It is updated by UCFL Vice Chair for languages and intercultural education, Vicky Wright. You can read Vicky’s reports to UCFL meetings at the bottom of this page.
- HE languages: includes UCAS statistics and reports on activities within HE
- Primary and secondary languages: includes updates on curriculum and qualifications reform and statistics on take-up, e.g. at GCSE and A level
- Projects and associations: includes information about HE initiatives to promote and support language teaching and learning in other sectors and projects of interest to HE, including EU projects/research mapping language competence
Some related project activity (projects in which UCFL is directly involved, e.g. Shaping the Future, Valuing the Year Abroad, Routes into Languages etc) will also be on the UCFL generic Projects page, while announcements (e.g. new government policy decisions) will be made through our News page or our Facebook site. The latter also includes links to relevant news articles, surveys and consultations (e.g. on Primary languages, A levels, the National Curriculum).
Please note that resources relating to the employability of students with languages are in the Shaping the Future Employability toolkit and new reports of relevance are added there regularly.
National Languages Strategy
In July 2020, a report produced collaboratively by the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Association of School and College Leaders, the British Council and Universities UK made the case for a national strategy for languages. The document recognises the vital role languages must play in the UK’s future and suggests a number of ways we might collectively correct the decline in languages study.
The document is broken down into short- and medium-term actions, including the creation of an Advanced Languages Premium (on the model of the Advanced Maths Premium), the addressing of severe grading at GCSE and A-Level, and funding for Higher Education.
The previous UCFL Chair, Professor Claire Gorrara, contributed to round tables that fed into the Strategy, and UCFL is fully supportive of the call for action the report represents.
You can read the paper here:
UCFL is a founder of the Gender Action initiative, alongside King’s College London, the Institute of Physics, and the UCL Institute of Education. The initiative has emerged from the awareness that some subjects, including Modern Languages, are stereotypically gendered. Those who choose to study languages at an advanced level are statistically more likely to be female, and this project works with nurseries and schools to transform learning environments, promoting free choice and individuality rather than a perpetuation of gendered stereotypes.
Gender Action is an awards programme that recognises teachers and schools that have committed to ensuring all students, regardless of gender, can achieve their full potential.
The UCFL Representative on the Gender Action Steering Group is Vicky Wright.