HC Deb 23 April 2001 vol 367 c117W
Mr. Pike

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many primary schools teach a second language. [158397]

Jacqui Smith

We do not hold information centrally on the number of primary schools currently teaching a second language, but it is estimated that one in five do so. The National Curriculum contains guidance for teaching 7 to 11-year-olds, covering skills, knowledge and understanding, together with attainment targets. We have also published a scheme of work for primary French, and further materials for primary German and Spanish.

I recently announced further funding of over £200,000 for the Early Language Learning initiative, through which we are piloting approaches to extend language teaching in primary schools, gathering good practice and developing classroom materials. In our formal response to the Nuffield Languages Inquiry we set out our intention to build on existing links between primary schools and specialist language colleges. The increasing number of colleges and the developing focus on their roles as 'hubs' of excellence will enhance opportunities for primary schools to access languages expertise.