Learning a foreign language will be compulsory from the age of seven in England’s primary schools in an overhaul of the national curriculum, the education secretary is to announce.
Ancient Greek will also be included in the state primary school curriculum as one of the foreign languages among which the pupils can opt for according to a BBC article on one of the seven major reforms that the British government plans on education.
The plans will be put out to public consultation later in the year, ahead of a scheduled introduction in 2014.
Under secretary of education Stephen Twigg defended that decision, telling the BBC’s Sunday Politics the “mistake had been not to focus on primary schools first.” He welcomed the government’s ideas saying, “I think it’s absolutely right. Children will get a love of languages if they start them young.”
The proposals come amid concerns over a decline in pupils taking foreign languages at GCSE. In 2010, 43% of GCSE pupils were entered for a language, down from a peak of 75% in 2002. The last Labour government ended compulsory language study for children after the age of 14 in 2004.
Under Mr Gove’s plans, primary schools could offer lessons in Mandarin, Latin and ancient Greek, as well as French, German and Spanish.
The Department for Education said that where English teaching was concerned, the aim was to ensure that pupils left primary school with high standards of literacy.