Wales politics

Foreign languages can help pupils in Wales 'get ahead'

The Lingo Show
Image caption TV programmes such as The Lingo Show introduce children to foreign languages

Children should start learning foreign languages in primary school, alongside English and Welsh, the education minister has said.

Huw Lewis announced his ambition for a "bilingual plus one" nation at a German-themed conference in Cardiff.

He said additional languages could help youngsters "get ahead in life, in education and the competitive world".

In June a report warned that foreign language learning in secondary schools in Wales was "declining rapidly".

'Reverse the decline'

Mr Lewis said globalisation was "continuing to transform our economy and industries".

"I want our young people to understand that a sound knowledge of another language can help them get ahead in life, in education and the competitive world," he said.

"I want to reverse the recent UK-wide decline in the take up of modern foreign languages here in Wales.

"To ensure success in this area I believe we should start introducing additional languages at a much younger age."

Global Futures - the Welsh government's plan to improve and promote modern foreign language teaching in Wales - is due to be launched in September.

Four secondary schools will be chosen as centres of excellence to work with other secondary and primary schools to drive youngsters' take-up of language lessons.

Pilot schemes for teaching foreign languages at primary schools in Wales had previously been run by the national languages centre CILT Cymru.

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