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Primary schools poised for new language toolkits

5 September 2022

The Routes into Languages Cymru toolkit includes international language superheroes as mascots.
The Routes into Languages Cymru toolkit includes international language superheroes as mascots.

A free language toolkit to support primary schools navigate the introduction of the New Curriculum for Wales has been launched by Routes into Languages Cymru.

The toolkits have been created to assist primary schools in introducing International Languages as part of the new Languages, Literacy and Literature Area of Learning and Experience for the New Curriculum for Wales which is set to be rolled out from September 2022. They were developed by Meleri Jenkins, Project Coordinator for Routes Cymru and Jo Morgan and Susanne Arenhovel, Primary Toolkit Developers, all of whom have much experience working with languages in schools and with language-learning organisations.

Under the new curriculum, international languages will be taught to pupils from Year 5 onwards. The introduction of international language learning from Year 5 is an opportunity to promote languages, cultures and the growth of an outward-looking international mindset in young people in Wales. Teaching these skills has clear economic and social advantages and promotes a more global outlook especially for pupils in more disadvantaged communities.

The Academic Director of Routes Cymru Dr Liz Wren-Owens explains, “The new curriculum for Wales is a big step-change for teachers, many of whom do not have experience or confidence in teaching international languages. The COVID-19 pandemic has added to this challenge, meaning school preparation for the new curriculum has been substantially delayed, as planning time has had to be re-purposed to deliver remote learning.”

The toolkits, which have already received enthusiastic interest from 180 schools across Wales, consists of six Contexts of Learning, and along with the core language, includes enriching tasks and activities that link to others of Areas of Learning and Experience and cross-cutting themes. Most importantly, there is a pedagogical guide for primary practitioners on how to deliver the lessons and activities.

So far, the toolkits are available in French and Spanish with German soon to be available.

“As well as linking the activities to the New Curriculum, the toolkit also includes guides on simple things like how to pronounce a word,” Dr Wren-Owens said. “This can be helpful for teachers who don’t have the language, or who haven’t used it for a long time.”

Primary schools in Wales can request a copy of the International Languages Primary Toolkit on the Routes Cymru website.

Routes into Languages Cymru is a pan-Wales collaborative outreach project that promotes the visibility, uptake and profile of languages in schools in Wales. The School of Modern Languages in Cardiff University is the national coordinating institution for the project.

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