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Developing language learning across the four nations: sharing innovative and creative approaches

Supported by the University Council of Modern Languages who have supported 30 teacher places for this event.

The importance of languages and international communication has grown exponentially in an increasingly globalized world, yet the numbers of students studying a language (other than compulsory English or Welsh) to qualification level at school and to degree level at university is, despite minor fluctuations, very low compared even with the start of this century (British Academy, 2020). This has resulted in an overall contraction of provision in secondary schools and at degree level in universities. Recent surveys (British Council, 2019) have shown that young people from less affluent backgrounds are the least likely to have access to language learning, at least in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This event brings together educators from all four nations of the UK to explore creative approaches to language learning. Where are the examples of good practice, and what directions should policymakers take in future? We hope to engage a wide audience in conversation: current teachers of ancient and modern languages, teachers of English as an additional language, teacher educators, student teachers, school leaders, curriculum advisors, academics, policymakers and employers.


16:00 Intro
16:10 Individual ‘pitch’ presentations from each panellist
16:50 Questions from Chairs
17:00 Audience Q&A
17:15 Concluding remarks
17:20 Close of event

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Profile picture of Arlene Holmes-Henderson
Arlene Holmes-Henderson, Professor

Professor of Classics Education and Public Policy at Durham University

Arlene Holmes-Henderson is Professor of Classics Education and Public Policy at Durham University where she holds a British Academy Innovation Fellowship (2022-2024). After studying Classics at Oxford, Harvard and Cambridge, Arlene qualified as a...

Profile picture of Sharon Jones
Sharon Jones, Dr

Senior Lecturer Education Studies (with Modern Languages) at Stranmillis University College

Sharon Jones is senior lecturer in education studies at Stranmillis University College, Queen’s University Belfast.


Profile picture of Ian Collen
Ian Collen, Dr

Senior Lecturer in Modern Languages Education at Queen's University Belfast

Dr Ian Collen is a senior lecturer in modern languages education at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), where he leads initial teacher education in French, German, Irish and Spanish. As part of his role at QUB, he is director of the Northern...

Profile picture of Fhiona Mackay
Fhiona Mackay, Ms

Senior Teaching Fellow at University of Strathclyde

Fhiona Mackay is the director of Scotland’s National Centre for Languages (SCILT) and the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools (CISS) at the University of Strathclyde. Joining SCILT in 2012 from her previous role at Education Scotland,...

Profile picture of Lisa Panford
Lisa Panford, Ms

Senior Lecturer and Course Leader of PGCE Secondary, Modern Languages at St Mary's University, Twickenham

Lisa Panford is a Senior Lecturer and the Course Leader of PGCE Secondary – Modern Languages at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. She is an active and committed member of SMU’s Race Equality Charter Self-Assessment Team. Lisa is a former...

Profile picture of Lucy Jenkins
Lucy Jenkins, Miss

National Coordinator MFL Student Mentoring Project at Cardiff University

Lucy Jenkins is the Project Director of the MFL Mentoring Project funded by the Welsh Government. Lucy has led on the development of the project since 2017, expanding the scope and size of the project team and programmes substantially. Lucy has...

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