Routes to Languages in the West Midlands - Mapping Alternative Progression Routes

Author(s): Henriette Harnisch
Institution/Organisation: University of Wolverhampton (UK)


The Routes into Languages programme is funded by the Higher Education Funding
Council for England (£4.5 million) and the Department for Children, Schools and
Families (£3.5 million).


Under the programme, a number of regional consortia have been established where
groups of universities will work together, with schools and colleges, to enthuse and
encourage people to study languages. National networks have been set up to
promote translation and interpreting as careers; and three research projects have
been commissioned.


The programme is running for four years from 2006/07 to 2009/10. It will be led by
the Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies (LLAS), in a
partnership with the University Council of Modern Languages (UCML) and CILT, the
National Centre for Languages.


The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) agreed to fund a
programme to encourage the take-up of language courses in England. Routes into
Languages was orginally funded from HEFCE's Strategic Development Fund,
following the Roberts review into Strategic and Vulnerable Subjects published in
June 2005. The Dearing Language Review recommended additional funding to be
awarded to Routes into Languages. This has enabled additional regional consortia to
be set up across England. Similar projects have been funded for Chemistry, Physics,
Maths and Engineering.


Language Networks for Excellence, previously the Black Country Pathfinder, is part
of the West Midlands Consortium for Routes into Languages and is focusing on the
mapping of progression routes into HE.


To facilitate progression routes into languages in HE, universities need to be familiar
with the changing face of language learning and accreditation within the 14-19
sector, where a wide range of language courses and accreditation is available
including ‘traditional’ qualifications and ‘alternatives’.

To inform and extend HEI awareness of the current situation and specific trends
within the West Midlands, Networks for Languages will audit provision and produce a
generic curriculum map for the area. This will draw primarily on secondary data from
sources such as QCA and awarding bodies, and will involve collection of specific
details from a number of schools and colleges in the region.


The second step in this project will be the design of relevant bridging curricula that
will allow smooth transition for students who have followed a variety of language
progression routes in order to support them appropriately as they proceed to HE.

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