Languages should be compulsory in Northern Ireland primary schools, report says

Additional language learning should be included as part of the Northern Ireland Curriculum in primary schools to better equip pupils with linguistic skills.

According to the Review of Current Primary Languages report, commissioned by the Northern Irish Languages Council (NILC), age-appropriate resources to support language teaching in primary schools should be developed.

Other recommendations include introducing a funded specialist qualification in primary education with modern languages in initial teacher education, along with funded support from modern languages in continuing professional development programmes.

It was also suggested that there should be more effective area-based planning to “ensure better linkage between the languages offered in primary and post-primary schools”.

The report’s lead author, Dr Sharon Jones, commented: “Our study found that children in Northern Ireland enjoy learning languages; at primary school, they are curious, confident and successful.

“Learning a new language and exploring new cultures broadens horizons and develops vital literacy and communication skills.

“If we want to grow a globally competitive, prosperous and peaceful Northern Ireland we should invest in giving all of the children in all of our primary schools this important opportunity.”

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