|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Lord Bach: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for her comments. However, I listened in vain to hear whether she supported the order in principle. Criticisms there were a-plenty, but if positive or helpful comments were made about the order, I must have missed them.
As regards foreign languages, the noble Baroness may have missed the point. We are giving a greater potential choice. We are dropping a prescribed list. We are making it possible--we give power at least--for any foreign language to be taught. It does not take away from the importance of learning an EU language as well. That still remains. But any foreign language may now be taught provided there is the ability and willingness to teach it. The power relates to teaching any foreign language. That is an improvement, and something that I should have hoped that the noble Baroness would acknowledge.
The noble Baroness raised the point about what will give way to the teaching of citizenship. The noble Baroness will know that many schools already find time to teach citizenship in their busy programmes. We think that the revised national curriculum has a rather sharper focus, and that the citizenship programme has a somewhat light touch and is flexible. The time needed will depend on the approach taken by individual schools, many of which are already covering aspects of the order.
There are no plans to extend the school day, but we recognise that there is a wide variation in the length of time pupils are taught in schools. Although some schools have increased the length of time for which pupils are taught, many have not, or are providing less than the required minima. As levels of taught time can have a significant effect on the quality of the curriculum, we have decided to review the whole issue
I hope that the noble Baroness will forgive me if I do not go down the avenue of discussing sex education, education about sexuality, or Section 28 tonight. I think that this House has heard quite enough about that for the time being. I commend the order to the House.
Baroness Blatch: My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, there is an inconsistency between his remarks and those of his colleague in another place, and what the order and the programmes of study say.
Lord Bach: My Lords, the order does not change the priority for EU languages. Schools must offer pupils the opportunity to study one or more of the official working languages of the EU. Non-EU languages count as a foundation subject only when offered with a working language of the EU. The order will remove the restriction on which additional languages schools can offer their pupils. If the noble Baroness will look at Article 2(4) of the order, she will see how "modern foreign language" is defined.
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|