§ 21. Mr. Batiste
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress is being made in encouraging the teaching of languages in schools so as to better prepare pupils for the opportunities of the European Community.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
The Government have included a modern foreign language as a foundation subject in the national curriculum to be studied by all pupils between the ages of 11 and 16. Since last autumn, maintained schools in England have been required to offer all pupils aged 11 to 14 the opportunity of choosing to study at least one of the working languages of the European Community. Within this framework, we are encouraging schools to offer a greater diversity of languages and we are providing education support grants for pilot projects in some local education authorities in England to promote the preparation and implementation of plans for language diversification.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
My right hon. Friend announced on 15 March,Official Report, col. 322, the publication of the initial advice submitted by the national curriculum working group for modern foreign languages, and welcomed the progress which the group had made in developing the attainment targets and programmes of study for modern foreign languages in the national curriculum. The attainment targets and programmes of study apply to all the languages—including the main European Commuity languages such as French, German and Spanish—which may qualify as the national curriculum modern foreign language foundation subject. I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of the working group's initial advice.