On Friday 9th November at The Language Show at Olympia, Richard Hardie and Bernardette Holmes MBE from Speak to the Future, in partnership with Benoît Le Dévédec of the Institut Français and Vicky Gough from the British Council, presented a seminar on “Why Languages are essential to us all post-Brexit”.
A panel of leading speakers took the floor, including Rubén Barderas Rey, Education Adviser Consejería de Educación, Ignacio Peyró Jiménez, Director Instituto Cervantes, London, Karl Pfeiffer, Director of Educational Links, Goethe Institut and Antonella Sorace, Director of Bilingualism Matters, Professor of Development Linguistics, University of Edinburgh.
A packed house of over 200 people heard convincing arguments as to why knowledge of languages and cultures can only increase in value as the UK redefines its role in Europe and on the global stage. Speakers imparted key messages, giving compelling reasons for the central importance of language and intercultural learning across the lifespan, explaining:
- Why 21st Century Britain needs a global mind-set and more and better language skills
- Why French, German and Spanish will remain key languages for the future
- Why international experience and intercultural understanding are important
- How bilingual education develops employability skills, providing clear academic and career benefits
- How bilingualism can lead to cognitive gains
- How languages open the door to other cultures and why this is critical for UK society post-Brexit
The seminar also showcased how to develop a successful primary languages curriculum for the future. Bunmi Richards, Head Teacher from Shaftesbury Park Primary School and Philip Yorke, Subject Lead gave an inspiring example of how their school puts language policy into practice through a bilingual stream in French.
Report by Bernardette Holmes, MBE