Education Secretary Alan Johnson recently announced that he has asked Lord Ron Dearing to carry out a review of languages policy.

Mr. Johnson wants to see what more can be done to encourage 14-16 year olds to study GCSE or other language courses leading to a recognised qualification.

Lord Dearing will work closely with Lid King, the DfES National Director of Languages and key partners and stakeholders.

Under the terms of reference, he will examine scope for action in the following areas:

  • supporting secondary schools in making available a wider range of more flexible language courses, with accreditation, so that more young people keep up language learning even if not at GCSE;
  • further strengthening incentives for schools and young people to continue with languages after 14;
  • working with representatives of Further Education and Higher Education on what might be done to widen access to and increase interest in language learning among students;
  • working with employer organisations to consider what more they can do to promote the value of language skills for business and to give stronger market signals to young people about language skills and employability; and
  • what broader communication effort is needed to get across the importance of language skills to all parts of the population.

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