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The new Routes into Languages website is currently in development and will be launching in the new year!


Promoting the take-up of languages and student mobility

West Midlands

VLE Languages User Group and Routes into Languages conference - Coventry University

West Midlands

On 16th March, Routes ito Languages and VLE Languages User Group at Coventry University held a joint conference aimed at  bringing together anyone and everyone in the languages community. The day was a great success with a mixed audience of academics from various universities, teachers from around the region and university students.


The workshops were exciting and engaging and we are delighted to be able to share some of them with you.


The key note speaker of the day was Gavin Duddeney. Gavin has worked in education since 1988, as a teacher, materials developer, IT manager and web/user interface designer. His blend of pedagogical and technical skills has taken him around the world - primarily for the International House World Organisation, but also for the British Council and other entities - helping them to bridge the gap between their training and teaching portfolio and their technical needs. Until the end of 2003 he held two posts: the first as Head of the New Technologies Department at International House Barcelona , and the second as Lead Developer for the online training centre Net Languages . In 2003 he left to set up the Consultants-E and has worked as the Director of Technology since then. His work involves project planning and delivery, as well as the EduNation presence in Second Life.


Apart from his work with the Consultants-E, he is the web manager for a wide range of educational organisations and is a past Cooordinator of the IATEFL Learning Teachnologies Special Interest Group, as well as editor of its newsletter - The CALL Journal. His other work for IATEFL includes the management of the Associates website and discussion form (PAL). In 2007 he was elected Honorary Secretary.


Gavin has published 'The Internet and the Language Classroom' (Cambridge University Press 2000, Second Edition 2007) and - with Nicky Hockly - 'How to Teach English with Technology' (Longman, 2007). He is also the author of numerous print and online articles.


To view his interactive session please click here


More materials and presentations will be uploaded soon.

Artrix, the community arts centre in Bromsgrove - screening French films

West Midlands

Artrix, the community arts centre in Bromsgrove, will be showing the following French films in May.


La nuit americaine (Day for Night) - PG certificate

Sunday 15th May at 7.30pm and Friday 24th May at 2.45pm

"Day for Night exudes all the enchantment, zaniness and transitory pleasures of the movie-making business."

"A gentle masterpiece of classic film making"

For more information and online booking please see

Des hommes et des dieux (Of gods and men) - 15 certificate

Tuesday 24th May at 7.30pm and Friday 27th May at 2.45pm

Monks in a French monastery in Algeria in 1996, leading a contemplative, gentle lives in harmony with their surroundings and local community, are drawn into the conflict between a corrupt government and extremists. Winner of the Cannes Grand July prize 2010.

For more information and online booking please see 


Prices are £5.50 (£4.50 concession) for matinee showings and £6 (£5 concession) for evening showings. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more people. Please contact the Box Office directly on 01527 577330 for more details.

CiLT Language Trends FE survey

West Midlands

CiLT would like your help in finding out about the status of languages for 16-18 year olds in Further Education and Sixth Form colleges. Their aim in doing this is to find out how best they can support teachers and learners in this sector. They would therefore greatly appreciate it if they could take 15 minutes of your time to complete the online survey by Thursday 17 March.


Access the survey here


To read the last report from the FE sector, carried out in 2006, click here


If you have any queries, please  contact Youping Han, Research and Information Officer, by email or phone 020 7633 3307.

Sauerkraut Cup 2011 at Aston University

West Midlands



When? 2nd April 2011 02.04.2011,from 10:30 am
Where? Campus of Aston University, Birmingham




  • compete against students of German to win the legendary Sauerkraut Cup
  • teams of 6-a-side (at least 2 men / 2 women per team)
  • staff teams are more than welcome!
  • prizes for the best outfit and whoop
  • campus rally
  • ... and more


Registration of teams via e-mail until March 25th

Info:, Facebook Group: Sauerkraut Cup

Contact: or

The European Children’s Travelling Language Library

West Midlands

Eurolib is a European Union funded education project. It is targeted at motivating children in their first year of learning a foreign language, to:

¬ Expose them to the rich heritage of European languages and cultures
¬ Be motivated to learn languages
¬ Build a love of reading as the best form of autonomous lifelong learning
¬ Reinforce emerging literacy
Travelling libraries of beautifully illustrated children's books in six European languages (English, Spanish, Turkish, Italian, Czech and Finnish) will travel from school to school across Europe. Each school keeps the library for a period and has to carry out a number of educational and collaborative activities before, during, and after the visit of the Library.


Initial piloting of the project has been hugely successful with the children pleading to take the library books home.


Booking the Library
If you are involved in a school or education in the UK, you can now book a visit of the library to your school by completing the ‘Get Involved’ form on the website. There is no charge during the life of the project.

You can also join the community on Facebook were you can find updates about the project and join in discussions. Join here .


Global Association
Schools in other countries will be able to use the library by helping to form Eurolib networks in their countries. These will be part of a World Association that will be formed at the end of the project. If you are interested in using the Eurolib in your country please get in touch via the ‘Get Involved’ form.

CILT Business Language Champions Awards 2010-11

West Midlands

Applications for CILT’s Business Language Champions (BLC) Awards 2010-2011 are now open. These awards recognise and celebrate businesses and individuals that are supporting language learning in schools. Business Language Champions is a national programme that helps businesses and schools work together to motivate young people to learn languages. Businesses up and down the country are constantly giving up their time to share experiences of working overseas, learning and using languages and dealing with foreign customers and what better way to reward them than with the chance to win an award. Awards are being offered in three categories:


Outstanding Commitment – for businesses who can demonstrate a minimum of two years’ commitment to working with schools to support language learning.

• Innovation - for businesses who can demonstrate an innovative approach to working with schools to support language learning

• Ambassador - for individuals from business who are working with schools to support language learning.


Entries are welcome from all businesses and individuals and you do not have to be registered with the BLC programme to apply. Schools are also encouraged to use the application form to nominate businesses and individuals they have worked with on BLC activities.

If you would like to enter the awards, nominate someone for an award, or simply find out more information please click here.

Please note that the closing date for applications is 5pm Friday 18 February 2011. Shortlisted candidates will be informed during the week commencing Monday 28 February 2011 and Award Winners will be celebrated in July 2011.

Opportunities for Secondary Pupils in Summer 2011 from UK-German Connection

West Midlands

Are your pupils interested in going to Germany in summer 2011? UK-German Connection has two courses that might be of interest to them; the two-week German Pupil Courses and the four-week Scholarships Programme, both of which combine language learning with cultural trips and excursions, as well as staying with host families. The deadline for both courses is 14 March 2011.


For further information please refer to the relevant websites:
German Pupil Courses:
Scholarships Programme:


There are also opportunities for teachers to act as group leaders on the German Pupil Courses:


If you have any questions, please contact Sian Warden on 020 7824 1572 /

French host scheme for teachers

West Midlands

Do you teach French or Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)? Are you keen to share your experience and cultural views? Are you interested in setting up an exchange project between your school and a French school? The Short Professional Stay Programme is perhaps just what you need!

This programme offers the chance for your school to host a French teacher for a fortnight allowing it to benefit from the presence of a native speaker and hopefully helping to establish enduring contacts with a French school. What’s more, hosting the French participants won’t cost a single penny as the French government provides a special mobility grant to its citizens taking part. Also, UK French teachers would have the opportunity to spend a fortnight in a French school, get involved with the daily life of your host school, brush up your language skills and set up exchange projects.

To find out more about and to download an application form, go to The deadline for applications is 18 Mar 2011.

For further information, please contact:
- Sophie BINARD from the Centre international d’études pédagogiques (CIEP):, or,
- Laurent BATUT, Attaché for Education Cooperation at the French Embassy to the UK:, or
- for Scotland: Marie-Christine Thiébaut, Education officer:

UK Linguistics Olympiad

West Midlands

Looking for something to do with your Gifted and Talented? Want to show that languages are fun? Then why not consider entering your school in the UK Linguistics Olympiad. It's a competition for students who are still at secondary school, in which they have to solve linguistic data problems. Similar competitions happen in a number of other countries, though it's only recently that they've taken place in English-speaking countries. We have 2 rounds of competition in the UK and then select the best 4 pupils to represent the UK at the International competition. Round 1 is taken in schools any time between 2nd and 7th of Feb 2011 and round 2 will be held at the University of Edinburgh on 25-27 March 2011.


If you want to enter your school for the 2011 competition or just register an interest, please email Neil Sheldon (, giving your name (as contact person), your email address, the name of your school, your contact mailing address there (just in case we need to send a letter) and any information about your pupils that you think we may find helpful, in particular how many and what age they may be. The schools registered so far are listed on the website where you can also find out more information about the Olympiad:

Dr Vivienne Rogers
Lecturer in Linguistics
Newcastle University


New research: Head Teacher Focus Groups – ‘Thinking Dinners’

West Midlands

During the first 2 years of the Routes into Languages programme, Language Networks for Excellence, a West Midlands consortium partner, were involved in curriculum mapping and the effective communication of Higher Education language opportunities to post-16 learners across the region. A key focus in the 3rd year has been in relation to the involvement and engagement of decision makers in schools.


As a result, 2 evening focus groups for Head teachers were organised which aimed to create a qualitative evidence base for the pattern of language provision in West Midlands schools at decision makers' level.


Head teachers from non-specialist schools across the region were invited as it was important that those who would not consider themselves natural supporters of languages were targeted so as to avoid 'preaching to the converted'. Attendees included members of school senior management teams and Heads of Departments sent on behalf of Head Teachers.


Key areas of discussion centred on the pressures faced by senior managers in schools in relation to languages, the factors impacting on decisions around curriculum choices, and languages specifically.


Not surprisingly, given the target schools for the focus groups, languages were not compulsory in those that attended. This was generally due to low numbers, poor results and timetabling restrictions. A number of schools were, however, applying strategies and initiatives to ensure student choice and access to languages wherever possible.


It is clear that the issue of student choice is important to the schools and, as a result, they did not necessarily feel that a model of compulsory languages is always the most appropriate. This conflicts which much of the opinion from the languages sector and presents the issue of quality over quantity.
There is little doubt that senior managers in schools generally see the value in languages, along with all subjects. However, whether or not this translates into a commitment in the curriculum is dependant on a number of key factors and issues, many of which are out of their control.


In addition, a number of issues and barriers were identified including performance points, strategic priorities, staffing and accreditation, with some schools taking positive steps to address them internally, such as promotion and student engagement activities and links with other subject areas. Those generated externally, however, are more complex to overcome and require intervention from stakeholder groups and policy. It was felt, and in relation to the negative feelings towards policy decisions in relation to languages, that this is unlikely to happen in the near future. It was clear, however, that despite some reservations regarding the focus of initiatives, that school involvement in external projects does have a positive, and profile raising impact.


Many of the opinions discussed in the focus groups and the issues and barriers in relation to language learning, are inter-related and inter-dependant. However, they tend to centre on a number of key factors and it is important, therefore, that policy makers and other stakeholders are aware of these and attempt, where possible, to address and overcome them.


The outcomes from the focus groups will be used to inform the consortium beyond anecdotal evidence of what the barriers to language learning really are in West Midlands schools so that counteracting activities can be planned by Higher Education Institutions in the future.


For more information about the research please contact