There have long been concerns about whether or not England’s students are receiving adequate instruction in foreign languages. Of course, it’s proven that children learn language more easily while they’re young, so one possible solution would be to start intensive foreign language courses from an early age.
Now, as the BBC reports, bilingual primary schools have begun to open up to give English students an immersive foreign language experience. For instance, in 2004, Wix Primary School decided to team up with the French Lycee that shared its building, to teach students in both languages.
The head of Wix Primary School, Marc Wolstencroft, explained the decision to the BBC:
“I started work at Wix in 2004 and at the time the school wasn’t doing well. We shared accommodation with a branch of the lycee, a French primary school, and I thought we had a wonderful opportunity between the two schools to create something which would raise the standards of the school and do something novel and exciting in the world of education which parents would buy into.”
The school has been quite successful thus far, getting attention from as far away as China.
Soon, another bilingual school will open up in London, this time teaching lessons in both English and German. Peter Johnson, the founder of Judith Kerr Primary School, grew up in an English/German bilingual household and wants to provide other children the same benefits he received as a child. He told the BBC:
“An awful lot of language studies have faced a decline so that it has become an elite activity. One of the things that motivates me is the challenge of working against that (view).”
What do you think? Should there be more of these types of schools available for British students?