The study of Modern Languages is in crisis. Uptake in schools is declining drastically, provision is being cut (particularly in the state sector), and the new A-Level curriculum requires teachers to provide literary instruction for which some feel unprepared. University researchers have both the desire and responsibility to support languages at school level, but central provision for MFL outreach is currently in short supply, with the successful Routes into Languages somewhat in abeyance, at least in England.
This project, funded by a British Academy Rising Stars Engagement Award, attempts to fill this gap. It brings together eight early career researchers from different regions of the UK, along with teachers, national providers and policy bodies, to discuss current provision and future needs, and share best practice for research-based engagement.
In a second phase, it will lead to a series of engagement activities, organised by the ECRs, including a competition for KS3 students, regional ‘live’ events, and a bank of collectively-produced online resources for use by the wider school and university communities.
We are committed to running as much of this project as possible, given the current public health situation. The opening conference ran online, and the priority is being given to the production of online resources. The live events will run in person or online depending upon advice at the time.