First bilingual state school in England approved

Joe Lo Bianco j.lobianco at
Tue Jul 5 06:54:41 UTC 2005

All that is true, but I wonder about the veracity of the claim, I realise 
that "England" is not "Britain" but it is worth nevertheless pointing out 
that there are quite a few bilingual programs in Britain, indeed in those 
languages mentioned by Anthea, and I am sure that I visited a Spanish 
bilingual immersion section of a London school in 1990.....joe

At 04:29 AM 5/07/2005, you wrote:
>And notice that this is in French, not in one of languages that are widely 
>spoken by minority communities in the UK (such as Urdu, Bengali, 
>Gujarati...). It's not even Welsh, a language that participates in 
>bilingual education in one region of the UK. Nor in British Sign Language, 
>which is spoken all over the UK across ancestral ethnic groups.
>Plus ça change.....
>         -----Original Message-----
>         From: owner-lgpolicy-list at on behalf of Harold 
> F. Schiffman
>         Sent: Mon 04/07/2005 15:15
>         To: Language Policy-List
>         Cc:
>         Subject: First bilingual state school in England approved
>         >From BBC News,
>         Bilingual primary school to open
>         The first bilingual state school in England has been approved - with
>         lessons in French and English.  The project in the Wix School in
>         Battersea, south London, is to be supported by the French 
> embassy. Pupils
>         joining the bilingual class will follow the national curriculum 
> but will
>         study all subjects in both languages throughout the primary school.
>         The initiative is the result of co-operation with the Lycee 
> Charles de
>         Gaulle, a French school in London. Both the Wix school and the Lycee
>         Charles de Gaulle will admit 14 pupils each to the bilingual 
> class from
>         September 2006. This will be repeated every year, creating a 
> "bilingual
>         stream" at the Wix school, alongside classes taught solely in 
> English.
>         The Lycee Charles de Gaulle's primary class and the Wix school occupy
>         different floors of the same building and have built up 
> co-operation over
>         a period of time.
>         'Immense asset'
>         Wandsworth Council says it is responding to parents' desire for their
>         children to learn languages at a younger age, and wants to offer 
> children
>         the chance to become bilingual early in life. Once the children 
> leave the
>         Wix school, they would move into the secondary school system as 
> normal.
>         Wandsworth hopes to open more bilingual schools in the future, both
>         primary and secondary.
>         Wandsworth cabinet member for education Malcolm Grimston said: "A 
> second
>         language is best learned when you are young. And if the language 
> becomes
>         the medium for teaching the curriculum, the skills are obtained 
> even more
>         naturally. "To be bilingual is an immense asset both culturally 
> and in
>         employment." The bilingual class is expected to be 
> oversubscribed, but the
>         authority stressed that the usual admissions arrangements for state
>         primary schools would remain.
>         Admissions rules
>         "We are not trying to cream off the more linguistically able," 
> spokesman
>         Steve Mayner said. "All applicants will have to meet the usual 
> criteria,
>         and the final deciding factor would be the distance of their home 
> from the
>         school, and whether they had siblings here." "We expect 
> applications from
>         children from a variety of backgrounds.  Children whose parents 
> are French
>         would not be given priority either," Mr Mayner said.
>         The bilingual curriculum is currently being developed by the head 
> teachers
>         of both schools. The proposal was approved by the education 
> overview and
>         scrutiny committee, which will also report on the school's 
> curriculum and
>         admissions arrangements in September. In response to longstanding 
> concerns
>         about the lack of foreign language skills in England, the 
> government has
>         promised that all primary school pupils, aged 7 to 11, will receive
>         language lessons by the end of the decade.
>         Story from BBC NEWS:

Professor Joseph Lo Bianco
Language Literacy and Arts Education
The University of Melbourne

Tel: 03 8344 8346
Fax: 03 8344 8612
MOB: 0407 798 978

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