OPS Policy Making Competition 2015

We received a fantastic response to the policy making competition launched during OPS 2015. Judging the entries was a real challenge for our panel – Director of the Cambridge Language Centre and Chair of the National Advisory Board for Routes into Languages, Jocelyn Wyburd, MML Faculty Chair and OPS President, Professor Ian Roberts, and OPS patron, David Willetts – who were so impressed by the standard of all the entries we received. So much experience, imagination and careful thought informed the recommendations our members had made.

Last month, we were delighted to announce that Sara Davidson (Oundle School) had won first prize in the competition. Here are Sara’s top three recommendations for policy makers:

  1. To make a language compulsory for all until students leave school, whether examined or not. This means compulsory to GCSE and then compulsory in the Sixth Form, if not chosen as an AS or A-Level subject, then as a non-examined course.
  1. The new government should appoint a Minister responsible for Modern Languages. The Minister’s responsibilities should include language provision in schools as well as the promotion and recognition of the value of community languages, ans their importance as something to be celebrated in society. These community languages should be accredited and also showcased through local projects, along with the culture of the language.
  1. Since inspirational teaching is key, successful MFL teachers should be encouraged to go into universities to talk to final year students about teaching as a career, in the hope of encouraging the recruitment of the best linguists into education. It is getting more and more difficult to recruit good linguists into the profession.

The BBC Muzzy Series
Source: BBC archive

Our judges also selected five runners up: Alison Jacques (Xaverian College), Alison Rudd-Clarke (Concord College), Alison Warburton (Ermysted’s Grammar), Mandy Ray (Burgoyne Middle School) and Marta Tomaszewski (The Red Maids’ School). Among their recommendations were that policy makers should ensure that languages are taught by specialists at primary level; that funding should be ring-fenced for language assistants who are native speakers; that the need to specify the vocabulary learnt to particular employment situations and scenarios is recognised; that a greater number of accessible MFL programmes are produced for CBBC and other platforms; and that regional hubs are established to provide information and support to teachers and parents of EAL and home-educated pupils.

Our thanks to everyone who took part this year – here’s hoping we receive the same enthusiastic response in 2016!

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