A pilot project to encourage Hounslow school pupils to take up language courses has been launched in partnership with colleagues from the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Royal Holloway, University of London.
The project is run by The Reach Foundation with the aim of supporting and encouraging school pupils across Hounslow to take up an A-level in Modern Foreign Languages.
The Foundation is a charity that works with young people in schools across the country. Their main aim for young people is to ensure they are safe and well supported; to ensure they remain healthy, to help them achieve well academically, and to aid them in building strong relationships and social networks.
Working in collaboration with the Hounslow Education Partnership School network, and Heads of Modern Foreign Languages across schools in Hounslow, colleagues from the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the University will be supporting the event as part of the University’s wider widening participation strategic aims.
In the ‘2023 British Council language trends in England’ report, it states that almost one in five school pupils in primary schools in England were recorded to have a first language other than English – this linguistic diversity enriches the experiences of all children and our society.
Professor Ruth Hemus, Head of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, at Royal Holloway, said: “As a team, we want to do everything possible to nurture the next generation of linguists. Languages are more important than ever in building understanding and bridging divides.
“The energy brought by colleagues at the Reach Foundation, the commitment of leaders and teachers in schools, and the openness of students themselves, is inspirational. We have a shared purpose to promote the opportunities that languages can bring.”
Professor Julie Sanders, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Royal Holloway, said: “I’m delighted that the Languages for All scheme is underway. Learning another language is not only an exciting opportunity, but a tangible, life-long skill, that can open so many doors – including careers abroad and fantastic personal experiences.
“As we launch this partnership, I would like to thank the colleagues in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures and at The Reach Foundation for their incredibly hard work and for their imagination and energy in making it possible.”
Professor Giuliana Pieri Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor International and also from the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures added: “UK schools and their communities are fantastic multilingual and multicultural hubs, yet so often we don’t acknowledge and celebrate this linguistic and cultural richness.
“We sometimes fail to support our young linguists and don’t show them the potential that can be unlocked by studying a language at school and university. This initiative is deeply meaningful both at local and national level.
“It shows what you can do when universities, charities and schools work together with a clear vision and sense of purpose.
“It’s also an invitation to think big, place language education at the centre of our concerns, and focus on a brighter internationally connected future for the young people of this country.”