Jeremy Miles MS, Minister for Education and Welsh Language
This term sees the start of a truly momentous change to our education system as pupils begin to learn under our new Curriculum for Wales. We will see learners experiencing international languages at an earlier age, with clear expectations for their progress while at primary school. If international languages are to thrive, they must be part of a schools’ holistic planning and not marginalised and I want our schools to know that support is freely available from the Global Futures programme.
I want our schools to channel their learners’ enthusiasm for languages from primary through to secondary school and provide exciting and meaningful international language provision.
I am pleased to be publishing our Global Futures plan 2022-2025 which outlines our continued support for international language learning in Wales. This new plan together with our Programme for Government commitment to expand the teaching of modern foreign languages in our schools, demonstrates the Welsh Government’s continued commitment to support international language learning in Wales.
The Global Futures programme asserts our ambition for increased language learning and partnership working and is based on advice from an independent evaluation of the Global Futures programme (2020-2022) and from our Global Futures Steering Group.
The strategic aims of the plan set out the aspirations of the programme over the next three years:
- Support the development and delivery of meaningful international language provision in Wales.
- Provide our practitioners with the skills, knowledge and experiences to plan and deliver international languages provision.
- Challenge the misconceptions around language learning.
Global Futures funding offers a range of support including specific funding to primary teachers with the Open University’s Teachers Learning to Teach Languages (TELT) professional development programme. This programme offers primary teachers the opportunity to simultaneously learn a new language (French, German, Spanish or Mandarin Chinese), and the skills to teach that language in the classroom.
Demonstrating where international languages can take you and raising the aspirations of our learners is central to the Cardiff University’s MFL Student Mentoring Programme. This provides direct support to secondary schools, and which will continue its work for a further three years to promote the benefits of studying languages at GCSE, A level and beyond.
I want a truly transformational curriculum that delivers for the next generation, irrespective of their backgrounds, and opens the door to the world for our learners. I was pleased that colleagues from Taith recently joined the Global Futures steering group. I would encourage schools to engage with Taith and take advantage of such opportunities the programme offers. Taith is Wales’ international learning exchange programme, creating life-changing opportunities to travel, volunteer, learn and experience. There are negative perceptions around learning international languages that need to change. Taith offers funding for primary and secondary schools to run international learning exchanges for their pupils and staff which will deepen learners understanding of other cultures.
I would also note that the narrowing of provision and the decline in take-up should not become norm in our schools. I want learners to continue their language journeys and given their full curriculum entitlement. Wales is a confident forward-looking nation, and the Welsh Government will continue to work with our Global Futures partners to further highlight the value of learning international languages and support them to access the opportunities both here in Wales and across the world.