The impact of policy on language learning in complementary schools: the experience of young campaigners for language equality

Lecture


Sneddon, R. 2013. The impact of policy on language learning in complementary schools: the experience of young campaigners for language equality. International Conference on Urban Multilingualism & Education. Het Pand, University of Ghent, Belgium 06 - 08 Mar 2013 Ghent, Belgium Universiteit Gent.
AuthorsSneddon, R.
TypeLecture
Abstract

At a time when the learning of languages is in rapid decline in the UK, young people in east
London have been very actively campaigning to make qualifications available in the
languages of their communities. Having studied in complementary schools, they are very
aware of the importance of their language to their personal identity, their relationships
within the community, and, increasingly, their future professional development.
Even as the boundaries blur between world languages defined as community languages or
Modern Foreign Languages, government policy remains profoundly ambivalent about
awarding status to languages originating in migration. Although lip-service is paid to their
value, they are marginalised in the curriculum. Sixteen community languages (around 60 are
currently taught in complementary schools) are available at examination level but the takeup
is very low in mainstream schools and they are frequently taught after hours.
The Albanian pupils who started the campaign joined forces with speakers of other
languages seeking accreditation and worked together to navigate the complexity and everchanging
shape of government policy towards community languages in England.
The present paper follows the young people as, supported by local community leaders, they
journey through a policy minefield that takes them from the Ministry of Education, to the
independent Exam Boards, via a media campaign, through complex negotiations with a chief
executive, to a commercial outcome that could enable any language to be accredited. Only
to find the goal posts moved as qualifications are downgraded, lists of eligible languages
restricted and plans are drawn for a major overhaul of the exam system. Through
observation of meetings and interviews with young people and community leaders, the
paper explores the young people’s perceptions about language status and power and their
growing confidence and commitment to fight for language equality through networking
across communities and negotiating with power brokers.

KeywordsMultilingualism; complementary schools; education policy
Year2013
ConferenceInternational Conference on Urban Multilingualism & Education
PublisherUniversiteit Gent
Publisher's version
Publication dates
Print06 Mar 2013
Publication process dates
Deposited04 Jun 2013
Web address (URL)http://www.smo-ume.org/file/2
Place of publicationGhent, Belgium
Permalink -

https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/85xq2

  • 3
    total views
  • 3
    total downloads
  • 1
    views this month
  • 1
    downloads this month

Related outputs

Sustainable Approaches to Complementary Education in England
Sneddon, R. 2017. Sustainable Approaches to Complementary Education in England. in: Kagan, Olga E., Carreira, Maria M. and Chik, Claire Hitchens (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Heritage Language Education: From Innovation to Program Building London Routledge. pp. 85-99
Alternative Spaces of Learning in East London: Opportunities and Challenges
Sneddon, R. and Martin, Peter 2012. Alternative Spaces of Learning in East London: Opportunities and Challenges. Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education. 6 (1), pp. 34-49.
Shpresa Programme: An Evaluation of the Paul Hamlyn Funded Project
Sneddon, R. 2012. Shpresa Programme: An Evaluation of the Paul Hamlyn Funded Project. London Shpresa Programme.
Telling the story of the Computer Geek: children becoming authors and translators
Sneddon, R. 2012. Telling the story of the Computer Geek: children becoming authors and translators. Language and Education. 26 (5), pp. 435-450.
21 years in east London: issues in policy, research and practice
Sneddon, R. 2011. 21 years in east London: issues in policy, research and practice. IPSE seminar Educating Communities: Teachers in Supplementary schools. London 01 Jun 2011 London London Metropolitan University, Institute for Policy Studies in Education.
Practice, Pleasure and Persistence: Collaborative Learning in Turkish
Sneddon, R. 2009. Practice, Pleasure and Persistence: Collaborative Learning in Turkish. in: Bilingual Books - Biliterate Children: learning to read through dual language books Staffordshire Trentham Books Limited pp.