First bilingual state school in England approved

Anthea Fraser Gupta A.F.Gupta at
Tue Jul 5 07:38:16 UTC 2005

I think it likely (tho not certain) that the school Joe visited was a private school. 'First' here seems to mean 'first in the state sector'. There are a number of bilingual private schools. But the National Curriculum for England did not permit languages other than English to be part of the National Curriculum until a year ago, when, bizarrely, 'modern foreign language' became compulsory for only 3 years (aged 11-114) when it had been compulsory for 5 (11-16), but (as a sop?) a modern foreign language became 'an entitlement' (but not compulsory) at 5-11. So any teaching of langs other than English was OUTSIDE the national curriculum.
Of course a lot depends on what is meant by 'bilingual'. Certainly any school where BSL is used has a bilingual system, and it is arguable that any school that offers support for children in their native languages is doing something bilingual (even if the aim is to transfer them to English). But I CAN believe that it is true that this is the first bilingual school within the state system in which the LOTE is being promoted through the bilingualism and is expected to be learnt by those who are not native speakers of the LOTE.

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