PPLI Annual Report 2018 - Flipbook - Page 19
Audit of Foreign Languages Provision in Post-Primary Schools 2017 (Action 2.A.2)
The Audit of Foreign Languages Provision in Post-Primary Schools 2017 sought to identify the range of
languages schools offer, the languages schools wish to offer, and the range of language teachers employed in
schools. It was also intended to identify teachers who are qualified to teach a foreign language but who may
not currently have the opportunity to teach that language in their schools, with a view to providing
opportunities and incentives for these teachers to upskill by means of CPD or post-graduate courses. Finally, it
sought to identify locations where there is a level of interest and demand for mother tongue support to inform
further provision. The results of the audit will be used to inform future actions which will be taken as part of
the foreign languages strategy. Data is presented on the breakdown of languages taken throughout the
different stages of school, including in junior cycle, Transition Year, and Leaving Certificate. This data highlights
the dominance of French, and the various factors that influence how many languages a school is likely to offer.
Data is presented on foreign language teachers in schools and spare capacity, or lack thereof, and the demand
for upskilling. The languages that schools would like to be able to offer is also presented. The languages spoken
in schools in addition to English and Irish are presented, as well as data on the provision of non-curricular
languages as part of the Leaving Certificate, and support classes for these languages.
Some of the key findings from the audit include the following:
The larger the school the more likely it is to provide a wider choice of languages
Fee-paying schools offer the widest range of languages and the largest uptake
Students in Community and Comprehensive schools are least likely to study a foreign language
Geography is a factor with a particularly reduced range of languages on offer in the North-West
Girls’ schools are more likely to offer a wider range of languages
Where there is only one language available on the curriculum the main reasons given for this are allocation,
lack of student numbers, tradition, lack of staff qualifications and timetable constraints
There is a relatively high progression rate for those taking a foreign language in the third year of Junior
Cycle in to 5th year
On average each school has 0.8 teachers who are not teaching the languages that they are qualified to
teach. Dublin and Cork are the only two counties which really have spare capacity
76% of schools would like to offer additional languages, with Spanish and Chinese the two most frequently
The comments that are repeated for Spanish relate to demand from both parents and students,
popularity of the language, a useful language for holidays and travel, spoken in lots of countries, and to
a lesser extent, for future career opportunities.
In relation to Chinese, most of the comments refer to it as a language for business and many principals
mention that they would like to provide it because their teachers are taking CPD modules in the
language (this training refers to the provision of Chinese classes to teachers by the Confucius Institutes
which realistically would only prepare teachers to deliver the TY unit which is primarily culture focused.
German is seen as advantageous for the school to offer a wider range of languages, a useful language
for trade, and for third level study (very useful for an Erasmus placement).
Japanese was mentioned in the context of a positive experience working with PPLI.