Left to right: Bethany Parsons, Trainee Teacher; Chloe Queen, Trainee Teacher; Brogan Lawton, Traine

Sheffield to lead foreign language teaching drive

Sheffield is at the centre of a national drive to recruit, train and develop more teachers of modern foreign languages.

A Government-backed project to tackle a shortage of foreign language teachers through one-year programmes around the country is being based at Silverdale School.

Among those being encouraged to think about switching to work in UK classrooms are French, German and Spanish speakers currently in their home country and those in the UK who have the skills and may be looking for a career change.

“There is a shortage of language teachers in state and independent schools across the country, and this scheme aims to harness our existing expertise to address that,” said Gaynor Jones, director of Sheffield Teaching School Alliance. “We have got the team to help.”

“At the same time, we want to enthuse children about languages, opening up a world of opportunities for them.”

Sheffield has been chosen by the Government’s National College for Teaching and Leadership to spearhead the initiative because of the city’s – and Silverdale’s - longstanding and pioneering track record in teacher training, professional development and support through the schools network.

Sheffield Teaching School Alliance, based at Silverdale since 2012, is already recognised nationally for its success in working with schools to recruit and train teachers in all subjects. It also has strong links with Sheffield Hallam University.

Now the focus is especially on modern foreign language teaching that will lead to more young people being given the skills to work in an increasingly globalised economy and society.

Initially the emphasis is on teaching European languages in state and independent schools, but a longer-term aim may see the likes of Chinese and Urdu being added to the teacher training curriculum.

The initiative is being rolled out through the National Modern Languages SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training), which is run by the Sheffield Teaching School Alliance working closely with Sheffield Hallam University and schools across the country.

“The vision is for Sheffield to become a centre of excellence for language teaching, with other hubs around the country,” said Gaynor.

“We have the experience, the understanding, the support and the flexibility to see trainee teachers emerging with an internationally recognised qualification and having made good use of their skills to help young people.

“There may be people who speak French, German or Spanish – in the UK or abroad – who would like to consider a career change and go into teaching.

“For some, it could be an opportunity to experience a different culture as well as using their talents for the benefit of students keen to learn a new language.

“Our message is that we need your skills, we’ll welcome you and we’ll support you every step of the way.”

Placements will start from late August this year. Applicants must be graduates and go through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) to the National Modern Languages SCITT. Interview days will be held, and successful applicants will be given training in two schools during the year. The curriculum is currently being finalised.

Teacher training will be balanced with academic study, leading to the award of a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).

Practical help, such helping overseas students to find accommodation, will be offered by the National Modern Languages SCITT team.

Student loans will be available – and there is the possibility of bursaries of up to £25,000 for successful applicants based in the UK and the wider European Union.

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