HC Deb 13 March 1963 vol 673 cc173-4W
Mr. Walker

asked the Minister of Education whether he can now announce his plans for a pilot scheme for foreign language teaching in primary schools.

Sir E. Boyle

After consultation with the associations of teachers and local authorities, I am making arrangements to launch, in September of next year, a pilot scheme for the teaching of French in primary schools, designed to carry further the experimental work already begun by a number of schools and local education authorities. Up to nine areas in England and Wales will be invited to take part: they will be chosen so as to provide opportunities for investigating the problems that will arise if foreign language teaching is to become a normal part of the primary school curriculum.

At the same time, I am glad to announce that the Nuffield Foundation have generously decided to allocate £100,000 to help forward the development of modern language studies. As part of this programme, they will be responsible for bringing together, under a specially appointed Nuffield Fellow, a team of practising teachers to prepare a full range of teaching resources for an introductory course in French for children aged eight to thirteen: they will make this material available for use in schools taking part in the pilot scheme, and by all other schools who wish to try it out. I am sure that the House will wish me to thank the Foundation most warmly for this further evidence of their desire to assist the schools.

The pilot scheme will be planned and managed by the Curriculum Study Group in my Department, in consultation with the participating schools and local education authorities, and with the Nuffield Foundation: there will be close liaison between the Group and the Nuffield language teams. Committees will be appointed by the Foundation and by myself, so that the various interests concerned can share in the work of guiding both the pilot scheme and the Nuffield project.