First bilingual state school in England approved

Stan-sandy Anonby stan-sandy_anonby at
Wed Jul 6 18:04:05 UTC 2005

It isn't surprising that French was chosen. The reasons seem similar to the reasons why angophone Canadians put their children in French immersion. 

I think most people want to learn a language that will give them or their children a leg up in terms of prestige or economic opportunity. That's why native English speakers are not all that motivated to learn a second language. There are few places in the world where English isn't #1. 

Stan Anonby

On Mon, 4 Jul 2005 10:15:51 -0400 (EDT)
 "Harold F. Schiffman" <haroldfs at> wrote:
> >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:

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