Languages And The Law In Primary Schools

It is currently only compulsory to learn a foreign language from the beginning of secondary school, at age 11 and pupils can stop learning languages from the age of 14. Sadly, this has lead to a dramatic decline in GCSE language entries, resulting in a significantly lower number of students who are competent in a foreign language by the time they leave school. By comparison, in European schools, children encounter another language when they are much younger, at the age of eight. Restricting the compulsory period of time for language learning to just three years in British secondary school means that approximately one tenth of primary schools don’t teach a language, and even those that do, only offer it to some year groups.

From 2014 a new primary National Curriculum will be effective, and it will become a statutory requirement to teach a foreign language from the age of seven. All primary schools will have to teach one of the following languages: French, German, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin, Latin or ancient Greek. This is only the minimum requirement and schools will be encouraged to offer further options which do not necessarily have to be taken from the compulsory list. Because of this, there may well be an extremely diverse range of languages taught across the country. Having no restrictions on the second language could see some schools teaching languages such as Russian or Arabic. The hope is that by introducing children to languages earlier, they will have a better foundation to continue learning at secondary school in order to become fluent in their chosen language. To this end, by the age of 11, pupils will be expected to be able to speak in sentences, understand basic grammar, use appropriate pronunciation and express simple ideas clearly.

Far from just being a measure to improve England’s standing in Europe with regard to our competence in foreign languages, the new curriculum should bring many other benefits. Statistics have shown that younger children tend to grasp new languages more quickly than adolescents and adults, which increases their motivation to carry on learning. Furthermore, learning classic languages such as Latin and ancient Greek can increase students’ understanding of other modern languages, including their mother tongue. Because of this, it is expected that conversation and literacy skills in English will also thrive under the new primary regime. Latin and ancient Greek have been added to the core list to try and spark a resurgence of classics studies in schools.

Schools will undoubtedly have to adjust to the new curriculum by making sure they have enough suitably trained teachers and that they can build in sufficient teaching time to reach the required standards. However, language learning can be intertwined with other curriculum areas by employing the embedding technique. For example, cultural learning can be incorporated into language classes by teaching about stories, poems and songs in other languages. Vocabulary can also be reinforced in maths classes by using foreign words for numbers, times and dates.

Ultimately, the introduction of this new legislation brings the hope that children in England will vastly improve their everyday language skills in other tongues.

Things You Should Know About Primary Schools

A ‘Primary School’ is that stage of education between pre-school and secondary school ages, usually from five to eleven, in the western world; however, in some countries the age ranges could be from three to nine. It is also referred to as ‘Elementary School’ and almost everywhere it is the first or principal stage of compulsory education. The education provided in these schools is generally done with any charge, although a large number or fee-charging independent schools exist.

The French term ‘├ęcole primaire’ is where the primary school originated from and was first used in the early 1800s. Sometimes the primary school is referred to as ‘infant school’.

In the UK, the preferred usage is ‘primary school; so is the case with most Commonwealth Nations. In the US, primary school refers to the grades from Kindergarten to Second Grade; in such situations, the grades from Three to Five are in the elementary school category.

Worldwide, it is mandated that children receive primary education although it is the parents’ option. Basically, primary education’s principal goals are to provide basic literacy as well as numeracy while establishing the foundations of learning others subjects too such as geography, history, mathematics and sciences. The areas of debate, political as well as administrative, that are raging around the world see marked differences of opinions between groups who question the priority of the areas of teaching, the methods used to teach and if and how basic sexual education is to be imparted to young children.

In a primary school setup, children are places in the care of one teacher who holds primary responsibility for the learning and welfare for an entire year. While the core subjects may be taught by this teacher, additional teachers can come in to teach certain special skill such as music or physical education. By placing children in classes with a single teacher, the aim is to create continuity and the opportunity to build strong teacher-student relationship.

Millennium Development Goal

The Millennium Development Goal Charter set out by the United Nations is to achieve the goal of ‘universal primary education’ by 2015. This means that children all over the world irrespective of color, gender or race will be able to complete primary schooling by that time. However, in view of the fact that the focus in sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia where most of the world’s children do not have proper access to primary schooling for various factors, this goal seems unlikely and may take a while longer to achieve. The statistics collected as of 2012 estimate that the number of school-age children who are not in school stands at 70 million and Africa and Asia account for that number.

Maladministration fears

In the last few years, government reports in the UK find that the number of these schools found guilty of flouting exam results, both by teachers and students, is rising. As such, results have had to be scrapped and exams re-conducted leading to fears of the mushrooming of unauthorized schools ill-equipped with infrastructure and experienced staff.

Singapore Primary School Registration Guide

Under Singapore’s Compulsory Education Act, all Singapore Citizen born after 1st Jan 1996 are required to attend national primary school regularly. Entry age for primary one is 7 years old, thus you will need to register for primary school when your kid reaches 6 years old so that he/she can make it for the next year primary one intake.

The registration is broken down into many phases. 6 phases in all. For more information of the phases, you can refer to Phases of Singapore Primary School Registration link at the later section of this article

Basically, the most important and stressful event is the registration for their eldest kid. This is because, once your child have a sibling in the primary school of choice, you are almost guaranteed a place, since the younger siblings will be in phase 1 of the registration.

So lets talk about how to improve the chances of get your eldest kid into the school of choice. Once we understand the phases and priority of Singapore Primary School Registration, we can plan our activities towards achieving the highest possible chance for our eldest kid.

Before we begin a few things to understand.

A) Any vacancies after Phase 2A is split into 50-50 for phase 2B and phase 2C

B) If the number of applicants exceeds vacancies in the school, balloting will be done.

C) In the event of balloting, the priority is as follows:

– 1st: Kids living within 1 km from the school

– 2nd: Kids living within 1 to 2 km from the school

– 3rd: Kids living > 2 km from the school

So the strategy is this. To get into phase 2A if possible. If conditions do not permit, get yourself into phase 2B. Since if you fail to get an allocation in phase 2B, you can still try for phase 2C. Since popular schools are very competitive, pay close attention to the home-school distance.

Since phase 2A requires some existing condition which if parents meet will almost guarantee a slot for your kid, i shall not dwell on them.

Phase 2B is a phase where all parents starts at the same level. The best chance for Phase 2B is Phase 2B2. To get into phase 2B2,

i) you need to be a parent volunteer and complete 40 hours of volunteering work in the school. Or

ii) Be a member of Church / Clan that has direct relationship with the school Or

iii) Be an active community leader (Think grassroots and RCs)

So as you can see, phase 2B2 is very competitive so chances of balloting is very high for good schools. So some parents will choose to move to within 1 km from the school to have priority during the balloting process. Check this site for more information about home-school distance. It list out all the map of primary school with a radius of 1 and 2 km distance from the school. You can easily check if you stay within the distance by entering your address or postal code.