UK: Tories to bring back compulsory language classes

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Dec 6 13:56:54 UTC 2006

Tories to bring back compulsory language classes

Alexandra Smith
Tuesday December 5, 2006

The Conservative leader, David Cameron, today signalled a back-to-basics
approach to education as the party promised to increase the use of setting
classes by ability and a return to compulsory language lessons. At the
launch of his first policy report, the Tory leader said too many pupils
were being failed in the basics of English, maths, science, history and
foreign languages. Mr Cameron stopped short of providing detailed policy
pledges, but said the Tories would consider making history and languages
compulsory to the age of 16. The government has been blamed for a decline
in the number of pupils studying modern foreign languages since
introducing its controversial policy of allowing 14-year-olds to drop the
subject in 2004.

However, the education secretary, Alan Johnson, has ordered a review into
the policy, due before Christmas, after he said the government was
"wondering" whether it had made the right decision when it scrapped
compulsory language classes. Mr Cameron also backed greater use of
setting, arguing that teaching pupils in groups according to their
abilities would help stretch the brightest and support the lowest
achievers. A review of the curriculum will shift the focus to the
fundamentals of maths and science, key historical events and great works
of literature, he said. Mr Cameron said: "Our focus is rolling up the
sleeves and getting stuck into what needs to be fixed in every school in
every part of the country, to get those basics right."  Guardian News and Media Limited 2006,,1964614,00.html


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