We are currently involved in the following projects:

UCFL Small Grants for funded projects

Following targeted support to UCFL representative groups in the devolved regions/jurisdictions, UCFL has made available small-scale grant funding to facilitate projects that support the languages mission and values of the organisation.

Routes into Languages

While UCFL has been supportive of and involved in the Routes into Languages Programme since its inception, in 2020 UCML 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.

Gender Action

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.

Born Global

As a key project in the British Academy’s Language Programme, Born Global has been established to develop a deeper understanding of how language is used in the workplace for different purposes, by employees of different levels of skill and accountability. Following years of declining capability in language competence in education and recurrent reports of high levels of employer demand for language skills, Born Global will elicit new knowledge about the language needs for employment to inform government language policy development, the current national curriculum review for England and future developments in Higher Education language curricula and assessment

Speak to the Future: the campaign for languages

The Speak to the Future campaign brings together a variety of organisations and associations interested in campaigning more publicly for languages to be learnt at various stages of education and life. UCFL has supported this from the start, particularly (but not exclusively) in respect of objectives 4 and 5 (university language learning and the need for more specialist linguists). The campaign took off with increased vigour in 2013, launching the 1000 words campaign and a number of other initiatives.

UCFL Toolkit for Surviving and Thriving:

At the UCFL (previously UCML) AGM workshop in July 2019 a toolkit was collaboratively developed that offers advice on how Modern Languages departments/sections can survive and thrive in a shifting HE environment. The toolkit can be accessed here:

We have been involved in the following projects which are now completed:

The Year abroad Graduate Project (Nov 2011-Mar 2012)

03/05/2012: Funding arrangements announced: The Times Higher has revealed David Willetts’ announcements on funding of the year abroad. The article cites the efforts of ‘campaigners’ to achieve a result which will cap student fee contributions at 15% (previously 50% cap). These campaigners include UCFL – see below for details of our project.

Mar 2012: With generous support from the British Academy, UCFL has been working on a project to demonstrate the value of the year abroad to UK graduates and to potential funding bodies. Working with ThirdYearAbroad.com ,we have gathered short reports from graduates – whether language specialists or not – on the importance that the year abroad has had for them, in terms of their skill set, their careers and their lives.

Selected reports have been published on ThirdYearAbroad.com and used by the British Academy for a position paper (available to download from the bottom of this page), and for a high-profile launch event at the British Academy on 27 March 2012 with speakers and prominent guests representing the Government, British Academy, Times Higher Education, British Council, Council for Industry and Higher Education, HEFCE, as well as some language graduates

Further resources of interest to UCFL members include a slideshow of quotes from some of the graduate case studies and a slideshow by Lizzie Fane of ThirdYearAbroad.com about the findings from the case studies. The launch and position paper were covered by the Times Higher Education and Prospects.ac.uk (the graduate careers website).

Shaping the Future of Languages in HE (June 2011)

UCFL led this national project, which followed publication of the Worton Report into Languages in HE, and is effectively a response to many of Worton’s recommendations. It has been a collaboration with AULC, CiLT and LLAS. The aims of the project have been to support, unite and thereby strengthen the MFL subject community through consultation and collaboration, building consensus around a sense of shared identity and common purpose. The ongoing goal is to raise the profile of languages at departmental, institutional and national level, engaging with internal and external audiences, and articulating a powerful case for language study in response to declining market share and lack of confidence. The output from the project is effectively a toolkit published on this site, clustered around 3 themes of key importance to language schools and departments in UK HE: Identity, Internationalisation and Employability.

AHRC research review in Modern Languages

UCFL was represented on the panel appointed by AHRC in 2006 to undertake a review of Modern Languages research in the UK. More information about the review and its findings are published on the LLAS website.

The National Languages Strategy in Higher Education

In 2005 the DfES commissioned UCFL to carry out a research project looking at the implications of the National Languages Strategy for HE. The National Languages Strategy in Higher Education, authored by Hilary Footitt, set out the challenges faced by Modern Languages and recommendations for increasing the take-up of languages at university.

Collaboration Programme in Modern Languages in Higher Education

In October 2001, UCFL and LLAS were awarded £482,950 from HEFCE’s Restructuring and Collaboration Fund for a three-year programme. The programme consisted of 10 pilot projects involving a series of collaborative and cooperative developments in modern languages. Further information can be found on the LLAS website.

Further reading: