HC Deb 04 November 2003 vol 412 c584W
Sarah Teather

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to include Asian languages as part of modern language education at primary level. [132726]

Mr. Stephen Twigg

The National Languages Strategy, "Languages for All: Languages for Life", published in December 2002, sets out the Government's commitment that all pupils throughout Key Stage 2 will have the entitlement to learn a language at least in part in class time by the end of this decade. That entitlement must comprise one of the working languages of the European Union. Schools are able to take local decisions about which languages they will offer, and whether or not they wish to teach a community language alongside the teaching of a European language. If a school wishes to teach additional languages, including Asian languages, they are free to do so.

By September 2005, specimen materials for three initial stages of the developing National Recognition System, which will endorse language competence, will be available in a number of languages including Urdu and Punjabi. By 2006, similar materials will also be available in Bengali, Gujarati and Hindi. All of these materials will support the initial stages of language learning, including learning undertaken by young people.