Two schools in Cardiff have become the first in Wales to join the British Council’s Arabic programme, which promotes the teaching of Arabic language and culture in UK schools.
Fitzalan High School in Leckwith and Lakeside Primary have been awarded grants of £6K and £5K respectively as part of the programme and have introduced after school clubs for Arabic.
Arabic is popular at Fitzalan with 40 pupils entered for GCSE Arabic in Summer 2016 and 35 pupils signed up for the after school club in its first few weeks.
The British Council’s Languages for the Future report found that Arabic will be the second most vital language to the UK over the next twenty years (second only to Spanish). The Arabic programme was set up two years ago in response to the report’s findings and grants have been awarded to 15 primary and secondary schools across the UK tasked with leading the way in the development of Arabic teaching and learning. Many of the schools are coordinating local groups of schools and providing:
• Arabic teaching in the curriculum
• sharing of good practice
• professional development for teachers
• workshops/open days and taster sessions with other schools
There are 70 schools in total across the UK taking part in the programme.
Jenny Scott, director of British Council Wales, said: “It is great to have two Welsh schools taking part in the scheme and we hope more will be inspired by Fitzalan and Lakeside. This is a way for children who have some knowledge of Arabic gained from their families, as well as those who are new to Arabic, to start to learn a language that is of great importance to the UK. Currently the gap between our need for Arabic skills and current provision is particularly great, with Arabic taught in only 300 or 1% of schools in the UK.”
Teachers who are interested in introducing Arabic in their school should email ArabicSchools@britishcouncil.org