Students sing Chinese song to launch regional activity promoting language study

Published: 23 January 2008 at 10:13

Eastern Region consortium of universities launches £615,000 project to inspire study at secondary and higher education levels.

Anglia Ruskin University is encouraging more secondary school and higher education students to study languages as part of the government’s £4.5m Routes into Languages programme.  The launch of the initiative will feature students aged 11-13 from Impingham Village College singing a song in Chinese to demonstrate the diversity of language study available.  They started learning Chinese only a few months ago, in October last year.  Student volunteers who will take part in the programme as ‘language ambassadors’ will also be on hand at the event to talk about how they will encourage young people to think about the various study options.

Anglia Ruskin University’s Vice Chancellor Professor Michael Thorne and the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Anne Lonsdale, will introduce the launch event.  Dr Lid King, National Director for Languages from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) will be one of the key guests at the event. Dr Tony Morgan and Sarah Schechter from the East of England Consortium will also be there to outline the programme details.

The Department of Languages and Intercultural Communication at Anglia Ruskin University successfully bid to be the lead institution in the new Eastern Region consortium for the new languages initiative.

Routes into Languages is a DCSF and Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) initiative to establish consortia of universities in each of the English regions, coordinated nationally, to increase and widen participation in language study in upper secondary and higher education. 

The Eastern Region partners Anglia Ruskin University with the University of Cambridge, The Open University and the University of Bedfordshire. It has already established links with secondary schools including Comberton Village College, Impington Village College, Chesterton College, St Ivo Village College and Long Road Sixth Form College, as well as other regional bodies such as Comenius, RLN/EEDA and ASSET Languages.

The Routes into Languages programme will run from January 2008 for three years. Central to the wide range of activities proposed for the programme is the Cambridge University online language programme, Junior CULP, uniquely commended by the Dearing Report for its ability to stimulate teenage interest in language learning. 

A broad range of related activities will also include such initiatives as the development of Anglia Ruskin students of English as a Foreign Language and modern foreign languages as ‘language ambassadors’ to local schools and a ‘Language Gym’ enabling members of the community to come and learn a broad range of languages, and language courses where local business people and students will learn together.

Sarah Schechter, Director of Languages Enterprise and Regional Manager of Comenius East at Anglia Ruskin University, comments:

“This new programme will bring about a whole new range of ideas and activities designed to enthuse young people and inspire them to study languages.”

“We are looking to bring about real change in terms of language learning because things have moved on. With very real improvements in communication and travel, we are now very much a part of the larger global village and are all increasingly aware of the greater cultural mix within our own communities. It is for this reason that we will be looking to promote all the exciting careers and job opportunities that can be enhanced by a knowledge of language and intercultural communication. The team at Anglia Ruskin University, led by Dr Tony Morgan, the Project Director, is exceptionally proud to be leading this initiative, and working with our experienced counterparts at the University of Cambridge, the Open University and Bedfordshire University to really make a difference to language learning in the East of England.”