The TES is reporting suggestions from a headteacher that parents should consider sending their child on a school foreign exchange rather than spending money on a week in Majorca.
Young people are likely to learn more on a cultural break in a city such as Madrid or Barcelona than they are sitting on a beach, according to Caroline Jordan, headmistress of Headington School in Oxford and the new president of the Girls’ Schools Association.
Setting up a foreign exchange for students did not have to be expensive, Ms Jordan said.
“It’s trying to convince the parents that that’s good use of their finances as opposed to a foreign holiday to Majorca, where they may well be in a Spanish environment but they’re less likely to be experiencing Spanish as they would be if they were in somewhere like Madrid or Barcelona on exchange,” she said.
“Exchange is very important and we know that languages is a real area of concern in this country. The government is doing quite a lot about this by trying to encourage all children to take a language through the English Baccalaureate.”
…As well as ensuring that children learned a foreign language, Ms Jordan added that it was important that modern teenagers were given the opportunity to consider studying at a university overseas, arguing that it could be beneficial to them later on…
What I find at my children’s school is that there seems much more emphasis placed on the fancy curriculum extension week trips than there is on foreign language exchange opportunities.
It seems completely the wrong way round and my daughter – who has done a language exchange – found it incredibly beneficial (as did I when I was at school).
Your thoughts on the comments made here by Caroline Jordan or the wider issues involved?
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