National award for modern language GCSE scheme

The BBC reports that a mentoring project which has doubled the uptake of modern languages at GCSE in some areas has won a UK-wide award. The modern foreign language (MFL) scheme trains students from Welsh universities to talk to pupils about the benefits of studying languages.

Cardiff University, which led the work, was awarded the Threlford Cup by the Chartered Institute of Linguists. The Threlford Cup is awarded annually to an individual, organisation or project that has encouraged language learning in others.

The scheme is run by the Welsh Government and works with more than a quarter of all secondary schools in Wales.

Language students from Cardiff, Swansea, Bangor and Aberystwyth are trained as mentors and coaches and paired with schools in their areas to do weekly sessions with groups of pupils.

Language evaluator Teresa Tinley, who nominated the MFL scheme for the award, said: “This has been a win-win project.

“It has broadened horizons and built ambition in pupils and at the same time has provided university students with employability skills and experience to take into their working lives.”

Prof Claire Gorrara, head of Cardiff University’s School of Modern Languages and lead for the project, said the Welsh Government had been “steadfast” in its support for language learning when students chose their GCSEs.

“We’re currently working on a digital platform to extend the project’s reach to pupils in more remote areas which is an exciting development and venture.”

Read more National award for modern language GCSE scheme

With a great drop in the number of pupils taking a MFL, would a scheme like this be useful in your school? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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