Information about research and statistical gathering projects (including EU projects) related to languages can be found here. This page also contains information about HE work to promote and support language teaching and learning within the education systems of our home nations.
UCFL are delighted to announce that we will be participating in this work through our programme Routes into Languages (see below), establishing language mentoring programmes across the UK, working with the Association for Language Learning (ALL) and others. The team at IoE/UCL is led by Professors Li Wei and Bernardette Holmes, following their successful bid for the DfE tender to establish a National Consortium for Languages Education (NCLE) supporting hubs of excellence in languages learning across the UK. The IoE will work with the Goethe-Institut London, and the British Council as principal partners alongside a number of other collaborators.
Routes into Languages
While UCFL has been supportive of and involved in the Routes into Languages Programme since its inception, in 2020 UCFL established a Routes into Languages Sub-Committee, chaired by UCFL Vice Chair for Language and Intercultural Education, Vicky Wright, to share best practice and discuss future development across the Routes networks. For more details, see the Routes section of the UCFL website.
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.
British Academy on HE languages
The British Academy has published a number of statements and reports on languages in HE recently, which are useful to Universities in making the case for languages and study abroad agendas. UCFL has worked closely with the BA over the years, including on joint projects (e.g. the Valuing the Year Abroad report).
Telecollaboration and language learning
The INTENT project has carried out a survey of international institutions engaged in internet based exchanges known as Online Intercultural Exchanges and looks to raise awareness and support for such activities, contributing as they do to graduate skills for global working. You can read the report and find out more here.
Universities providing CPD to schools
HEIs supporting the school sector extends to the provision of CPD for language teachers. The Network for Languages (NfL) is made up of the universities who were formerly the regional centres for the highly successful (though short-lived due to withdrawal of government funding in 2011) Links into Languages programme. NfL is currently the only national network/organisation delivering such provision.
Association for Language Learning (ALL)
UCFL has a long history of association with the ALL– the UK’s major subject association for teachers of foreign languages in all sectors. ALL works at a national, regional and local level, publishes journals of interest to members and organises the annual Language World conference, as well as holding meetings for the sharing of good practice between members at local levels. ALL represents the views of members in national policy discussions, often alongside and in tandem with UCFL. HE language teaching staff are strongly encouraged to join ALL personally and engage directly in the wider dialogues about curricula and transition from school to university study.
In addition to supporting HE in numerous ways, including through the language assistantship scheme which facilitates years abroad for our students, the British Council liaises closely with UCFL. In 2013 it published the Languages for the Future report using a variety of data, including extent to which English is spoken in emerging economies etc to inform opinions on languages of strategic importance.
Language policies in European countries (including UK)
UCFL members interested in comparing policies across countries and how the UK fares will be interested in the Language Rich Europe project, its country reports and commentaries – based on a network of 24 countries and coordinated by the British Council.
UCFL is a member of the Conseil Européen des Langues/European Language Council and members may be interested in a range of their activities related to HE Language Policies and international collaboration.
The latest Eurobarometer Special Survey: Europeans and their Languages (Eurobarometer 386) was published in June 2012. It measures progress towards Mother Tongue + 2 languages across European countries and contains a wealth of further information behind the statistics. Summary also available
The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)
HEFCE ceased to exist in April 2018, and its HE teaching-related responsibilities were taken over by the new Office for Students (OfS). During its existence, HEFCE produced the following Modern Languages initiatives:
- Support for languages, including via funding for Routes
- Support for Strategically Important and Vulnerable Subjects (SIVs), the SIVs Advisory Group and languages within that domain
- Review of Languages in Higher Education (Worton Report)