HC Deb 02 July 2001 vol 371 c36W
Dr. Starkey

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many teachers are qualified to teach(a) Urdu, (b) Bengali, (c) Gujerati, (d) Hindi, (e) Mandarin, (f) Cantonese and (g) modern languages; how many teacher training places are available for the teaching of such languages; and if she will make a statement on her policy on the teaching of such languages in schools. [1396]

Mr. Timms

Data on the number of teachers qualified to teach these languages are not collected centrally.

The total number of teacher training places available for all modern languages is set annually by the Government and allocated to providers by the Teacher Training Agency. In 2001–02, 2,050 places on courses of initial teacher training in modern languages will be available. That figure does not include the employment-based training places for modern languages available though the Graduate and Registered Teacher Programmes. Providers themselves determine the languages in which they will offer training courses.

The National Curriculum requires schools to offer at least one of the working languages of the European Union, but schools are free to offer additional languages, including those spoken in the local community. The development of specialist Language Colleges is intended further to widen the language-learning possibilities on offer. The Colleges now offer over 20 different languages, including Urdu, Bengali, Gujerati, Hindi and Chinese.