Mrs Gee, Headteacher, Mrs Earley, International Co-ordinator and two Upper Sixth students, Keir May and Ruby Daniels presented to the All-Party Parliamentary group concerning the development of Modern Languages and the decline of the international school exchanges programme. They are concerned about the decline in numbers, taking languages with entry rates for GCSE French falling by 5.9% and GCSE German by 3.5% last summer and that only 30% of state schools nationally are taking part in exchange visits abroad. Baroness Coussins, Co-Chair of the APPG was very interested to hear from two schools who are running very successful exchange programmes and invited Anglo European to present to parliament about their extensive programme of exchanges, homestays and visits in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, China, Russia and the newest exchange programme in Japan. Mrs Gee said “Our two students spoke confidently and with conviction, concerning the impact of the visits programmes on their confidence, resilience and ability to take on challenges beyond their comfort zone and what they had learnt about themselves, their own culture and that of others as a result. The importance of our mission to develop ambitious, resilient and principled learners through inter-cultural understanding and respect was clearly underlined.”
The parliamentary group agreed that in the light of Brexit and current political developments across Europe, it was more important than ever that this generation were able to communicate effectively, with high levels of fluency in a number of different languages if they hope to be able to engage with a competitive global community in the future. The government has recently announced a renewed commitment to supporting exchanges abroad and that funding is being made available to support either foreign exchanges with partner schools or visits abroad under the programme. Although it will be targeted at schools with above-average numbers of pupil premium children the new programme recognises the importance of staying with host families and will be run in partnership with the British Council, who we are hoping to support in this venture.