The Review of Current Primary Languages in Northern Ireland report, commissioned by the Northern Irish Languages Council (NILC), was launched at a special event at Stranmillis University College on Wednesday 15th March 2017.
Research led by Stranmillis lecturer Dr Sharon Jones has found that Northern Ireland’s children are being disadvantaged in the global economy because of a lack of curricular planning and recent cuts to the provision of additional language learning in Primary Schools.
The Primary Modern Language Programme was established in 2007 by the former Department of Education to support primary schools wishing to introduce a modern language. The programme was scrapped in March 2015 as a result of budget cuts. Against this backdrop the report’s authors were commissioned to map out and evaluate the current provision of additional language learning across Northern Ireland’s Primary Schools, and make recommendations for future development. To equip the Northern Ireland workforce with the linguistic skills and abilities to compete within a culturally diverse, digitally connected global economy, the report recommends that additional language learning should be a requirement built in to the Northern Ireland Primary Curriculum.
Among the key recommendations of the report are that:
• Additional language learning should be included as a statutory part of the Northern Ireland Curriculum to provide pupils in all primary schools with the opportunity to learn languages, ensuring equity of provision to all primary age children
• Curricular and cross-curricular guidance on levels of progression and other developmental criteria should be provided to teachers and schools.
• Age-appropriate resources, including e-resources, to support additional language teaching in primary schools should be developed
• A funded specialist qualification in Primary Education with modern languages in Initial Teacher Education should be introduced, along with funded support for modern languages in Continuing Professional Development programmes
• Further research into possible models of collaboration between schools at primary level and between primary and post-primary schools is undertaken to ensure progression in learning and to promote a positive transition between Key Stages 2 and 3
• There should be more effective area-based planning to ensure better linkage between the languages offered in primary and post-primary schools.
"Our study found that children in Northern Ireland enjoy learning languages; at primary school they are curious, confident and successful,” the report's lead author Dr Sharon Jones remarked. “Learning a new language and exploring new cultures broadens horizons and develops vital literacy and communication skills. If we want to grow a globally competitive, prosperous and peaceful Northern Ireland we should invest in giving all of the children in all of our primary schools this important opportunity".
The Review of Current Primary Languages in Northern Ireland report, commissioned by the Northern Irish Languages Council (NILC) will be launched at a special event at Stranmillis University College on Wednesday 15th March 2017.
To read a copy of the report, go to: http://www.stran.ac.uk/media/media,748093,en.pdf