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Young people studying French to benefit from extra tuition

9 March 2018

A level class being taught

Turbo Tutoring is being run by the School of Modern Languages and is part of the Welsh Government’s ‘Global Futures Strategy’, which aims to expand and promote the take up of modern languages in schools.

Last year, the project helped 84 students from eight secondary schools and four further education colleges to achieve higher than predicted grades in AS level French exams. Turbo-tutored students achieved on average one grade higher compared to teacher estimations. The latest programme, which kicked off this month (February), will help a similar sized cohort, from twelve schools and colleges, thanks to an additional £40,000 of funding.

An intensive ten-week programme will be delivered by experienced teachers. Learners will receive tuition in small groups or on a one-to-one basis, with the teaching being tailored to the needs of each student. Areas such as spoken and listening skills, essay-writing, translation, grammar and exam technique will be covered.

Turbo Tutoring is a direct response to a decline in the number of pupils choosing to study languages at AS Level. Teachers report that some learners who do choose to study languages at AS Level change their minds mid-course, as they find the exams difficult in comparison to other subjects they take.

The scheme aims to improve grades and outcomes for participating students, supporting them as they progress to A Level. Learners and teachers will also have extra support and guidance while a new curriculum is being established.

The first phase of the pilot project, which was delivered between February and April last year, brought positive results for the students involved. It is hoped the next stage will build further on this success.

Professor Claire Gorrara, of Cardiff University’s School of Modern Languages and academic lead for the Turbo Tutoring project, said: “Learning French brings huge benefits to students. It gives them a massive advantage as they enter the world of work, but more importantly, it develops great confidence and communication skills..."

“The figures show that this type of project can have a real impact. We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to support more young people as they strive to get the most out of their studies.”

Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams said: “I’m very encouraged to see how well this programme is performing. Thanks to the funding provided through our Global Futures initiative, more and more of our learners are now able to access these kinds of opportunities. That’s essential if we are to increase take-up of Modern Foreign Languages and demonstrate how they can lead to many different and exciting career choices.”

Alexis Swanwick, aged 17, a student from Cardiff, took part in the scheme last year. He is now studying towards his A Level in French.

He said: “Turbo Tutoring has had a big impact on my learning. The jump between GCSE and AS Level was huge.  The mentor was very knowledgeable and guided us about exam techniques. The scheme has given me confidence, specific skills and reassured me on my ability to pass the exam. As a result, I continued with French for my A2 studies.”