The BBC recently stated that teacher shortages in the UK were getting worse. If this is the case, how can primary schools cope with this?
More specifically, how can primary schools cope with the lack of MFL teachers?
Share Resources with Neighbouring Schools
It’s fair to say that most schools have had budget cuts lately, and as a result of this, are finding any way possible to save some cash.
If your primary school suffers from a lack of MFL teachers, consider talking to one of your neighbouring schools. You may be able to come to an arrangement to share teaching resources and staff, saving money and yet still providing children with the education they deserve.
Think About Why There is a Lack of MFL Teachers
Is there something your school could do to improve working conditions for MFL teachers?
Does the MFL department have sufficient resources? Is your MFL curriculum inclusive and innovative? If your modern foreign language department is not viewed internally as having the same status as other departments, this may discourage applicants or make teacher retention more difficult.
Consider hiring a language assistant alongside your main MFL teacher. This will give them additional support in lessons, make it easier to keep on top of admin jobs, and provide opportunities to discuss the curriculum and lessons with another educator. If there is only one MFL teacher in your school, they may feel stressed and under pressure, so this is really something worth considering.
Reach out to nearby universities with foreign exchange students – maybe some of them would like a career in teaching and you can come to an arrangement with their tutors so that they can earn credits for volunteering to help support foreign language teachers in your school.
Stress the Importance of learning another language
The Guardian goes into detail about why UK language teaching is in crisis, one of their points being that language learning is considered of lesser value than other subjects. If your school can demonstrate why languages are of importance, more parents will back it and more pupils will be encouraged to continue learning foreign languages as they progress.
Greater parental support and student engagement will help your school develop a more exciting working environment for MFL teachers.
How can schools stress the importance of language learning? Using pen pal projects and themed language projects could be a way. Again, The Guardian provides some insight. Although aimed at older students, their ideas could be applied across the board.
What can you do if the funding for maintaining or expanding your school’s MFL provision just isn’t available?
At EDLounge, we understand the difficulties of maintaining a full curriculum when budgetary restrictions limit the resources that you can provide to your foreign languages department. MFL Lounge is a cost-effective resource that can help you deliver foreign language provision for your primary school pupils via a secure online learning platform.