Aston University in Birmingham has taken on a new role as the Links into Languages Centre for the West Midlands region. Each of the nine Regional Centres across England will be responsible for providing a range of high quality support for language educators in primary and secondary schools, sixth form colleges, and FE colleges teaching pupils up to age 19.
They will be assisted in this by local affiliated centres located in different areas of each region. Aston University is already the regional co-ordinator for the national Routes into Languages initiative, which aims to promote the benefits of language learning to young people, encouraging them to continue their language studies. The Routes and Links Consortia will work closely together, engaging with learners and those responsible for their learning, to enhance provision and improve take-up.
Links is co-ordinated by the HEA Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies (LLAS), in partnership with the Association of Language Learning (ALL) and the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SST). The aim is to provide a coherent programme of high-quality professional development, support and information, developed by teachers, advisors, school leaders, policy makers and other stakeholders. Aston will work with partners to provide access to language learning expertise, facilities, technology and resources, innovation in pedagogy and research, regular curriculum updates, and also accreditation opportunities.
The Links into Languages programme is part of a concerted national strategy to strengthen language education across England. Successive policy reviews have shown how languages are strategically important for the UK. The Nuffield Report, the National Languages Strategy for England, and the Languages Review have demonstrated the contribution of languages to economic prosperity, social cohesion and cultural diversity. The Children’s Plan shows the vital role they play in the personal development of young people. These concerns are widely shared throughout Europe. Links is part of a strategy to meet the aspiration to give all children an early start in language learning, and to build on this experience, so that they are equipped and motivated to continue as language learners throughout their life.
Professor Pamela Moores, who is Executive Dean of the School of Languages & Social Sciences at Aston, said: ‘This is a great opportunity for Aston to build on our existing leadership in the Routes into Languages scheme, through which we work to inspire school students to learn languages. Links into Languages will enable us to develop closer links with language teachers as well, through the provision of language resources, continuing professional development and training.’
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Notes to editors• For further information about the scheme visit: www.routesintolanguages.ac.uk/news/links.html.
• Links into Languages is a learning community for language educators in English schools. It is based on nine Regional Centres, each with a network of local hubs. It is funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), and co-ordinated by a consortium led by the Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies (LLAS) at the University of Southampton, in partnership with the Association for Language Learning (ALL) and the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT).
• Links aims to provide a coherent programme of high-quality professional development, support and information, developed by and for teachers, advisors, teaching assistants, school leaders, policy makers and other stakeholders in the area of language education. The participating universities will provide access to language learning and other facilities, research expertise, and accreditation opportunities through departments of languages and education.
• The Regional Centres will be established in nine partner universities of Routes into Languages. Each will provide a regional focus for CPD and support, and will manage a network of local hubs across the region. They will work closely with ALL, SSAT and other Routes partner universities in the region, and with local authorities and education leaders through Aspect and NALA, reaching the network of schools and colleges.
• Regional Centres will host an office for the management and administration team, dedicated meeting space and teacher “drop in” facilities, and access to training and break-out space with networking and projection facilities. There will be a resources library in each Centre so that teachers can access research literature relating to language teaching and learning; a bank of published materials, including ICT materials, for all age ranges; and resources that have been developed at local or national level. They will give access to other specialist facilities of the host university, such as lecture theatres, seminar facilities, language learning centres and ICT resources.
The Regional Centres are:East Midlands Nottingham Language Centre, Nottingham Trent University, Burton Street, Nottingham, NG1 4BU
East of England The Language Centre, University of CambridgeDowning Place, Cambridge, CB2 3EL
London Modern Languages, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London, W1B 2UW North East School of Modern Languages, Newcastle University,Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU
North West School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL
South East Modern Languages, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton, SO17 1BJSouth West School of Education, Bath Spa University, Newton Park, Bath, BA2 9BN
West Midlands School of Languages & Social Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, B4 7ET
Yorks and the Humber Language Institute, Department of Modern LanguagesUniversity of Hull, HU6 7RX