Two young boys in white shirts standing at front of clasroom

British Council 

The British Council and Qatar Foundation International are working together to promote the teaching and learning of Arabic language and culture in the UK

The new phase of this collaboration aims to make Arabic a realistic choice for Welsh schools, headteachers, parents and students. 

Recent research into long-term language needs, looking at a variety of economic, geopolitical, cultural and educational indicators, identified Arabic as the second most necessary language for the UK over the next 20 years. 

However the gap between this need and current provision is particularly great: Arabic is taught in only five or six per cent of secondary schools in the UK, the majority of which are Muslim faith schools, and often only as an extracurricular subject or in the supplementary sector. 

The British Council and Qatar Foundation International are working to develop Arabic to the same standards expected of the other major world languages in the British school system as a viable option for any student of any background to explore.

Welsh schools are invited to work together with us to provide Arabic in the curriculum, with three-year funding and support available, described in ‘Our funding offer to schools’, below.

Our programme aims to:

  • Increase the number of schools in Wales, and the UK teaching Arabic language and culture
  • Provide professional development opportunities, mentoring and modern resources for Arabic teachers
  • Produce fresh research into Arabic language and culture teaching pedagogy and initiate a key stakeholder committee to pave a strategic way forward to meet the UK Arabic needs

Our funding offer to schools

We are looking for schools who will introduce, or expand, Arabic provision in the curriculum with a long-term plan (funding is for three years with an annual review process), leading to a recognised qualification for participating students. Full details will be included in the expression of interest form – please email us  to receive it.

Schools are invited to apply for a package of funding and support over three years in order to introduce, or expand, provision of Arabic in the school’s curriculum:

  • A grant of up to £15k per year for three years (maximum £45k in total).
  • Links to resources with a focus on study of Arab culture(s).
  • The opportunity to apply for Skype sessions with Arabic speakers. 
  • The opportunity to apply for an International link to an Arabic-speaking school.
  • Support with taster sessions 
  • A link to your nearest Arabic supplementary school in association with the National Resource Centre for Supplementary Education NRCSE.
  • Assistance with finding UK-trained modern foreign language teachers who can teach Arabic.

Examples of possible curriculum models

Plans should either extend existing provision of Arabic in your school or extend the number of students learning Arabic.

For example:

  • You use this to introduce Arabic to your school for the first time.
  • You have already been offering extra-curricular Arabic and would now build it in to the curriculum.
  • You have previously offered Arabic to native speakers only and would now extend this offer to those who do not speak Arabic at home or outside school
  • You introduce the offer of Arabic to include examinations at GCSE and/or A Level (or other recognised qualification).
  • You work with your local Arabic Supplementary School to formalise a pathway to qualification.

Models can be flexible and work for your school circumstances.

For example:

  • You introduce Arabic into the curriculum alongside other Modern Foreign Languages in the first year of the school.
  • You offer taster sessions in the first two years of secondary school and introduce Arabic in the upper secondary curriculum alongside other Modern Foreign Languages.
  • You offer a special Arabic stream to talented linguists in addition to your existing  Modern Foreign Languages offer.
  • You introduce enrichment classes at Sixth Form (with entry to qualification).

What happens next?

Email us to receive full details and eligibility criteria. We will send you an Expression of Interest form to complete, and will be in touch to offer:

  • An initial conversation to discuss the school’s specific circumstances
  • Advice on completing the expression of interest form
  • Offer of a taster Arabic session with a native speaker teacher provided by us. 
  • A second conversation with the school to review the application and allow the school to ask any questions they have.

The offer is open to secondary schools and Sixth Form Colleges in Wales, England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

State schools can apply on their own; applications from Independent schools will be considered if they work in conjunction with a state school.

Other opportunities and useful information 

The Arabic Language and Culture programme also offers:

  • Other funding opportunities
  • Research into the most effective ways of supporting schools in meeting young people's Arabic language needs for the future
  • An annual conference for Arabic educators and professionals from across the UK
  • Professional development for teachers
  • An Arabic Language and Culture pack, which is an excellent way to introduce young learners age 7-11 to the Arab world while also challenging their preconceptions of Arab culture.

Find out more 

See also