UK Community Languages Surveys


Joanna McPake (Scottish CILT)
Ceri James (CILT Cymru)


SEED, DfES, Welsh Assembly




Surveying provision for community languages

Scottish CILT, CILT - the National Centre for Languages and CILT Cymru are conducting surveys of provision for learning community languages across Scotland England and Wales. These surveys focus on provision aimed at children of school age, whether this is offered in school time or after school hours, with the support of also be considered community languages. In order to identify the best ways of supporting community language learning, the survey will seek answers to the following questions :

  • How many community languages are taught?
  • How many children take part in community language classes?
  • How many years of study do they complete?
  • What kinds of teaching materials are in use or are needed?
  • What kind of training have community language teachers had/do they need?
  • What do learners achieve at the end of the study period and what kind of certification do they-or could they-receive?

There are two phases to the study

Phase 1: Building the Database (September-December 2004)

Scottish CILT will contact representatives of all local authorities to investigate the extent of information held locally about provision for community languages. They will seek contact details of local providers in both the mainstream and voluntary sectors. This will be supplemented with information from national and voluntary bodies concerned with community language learning.

Phase 2: Survey of providers (January-March 2005)

Drawing on the information collected in phase 1, questionnaires will be sent to providers, seeking information about the numbers of students catered for, the aims and outcomes of provision, the kinds of support which providers already receive, and what additional support might be beneficial. The survey aims to provide a more detailed picture of provision, to supplement the database, and to help to identify the most effective ways of promoting community language learning in future.

The findings will provide a picture of provision for community language learning across Britain and to inform future decisions about the best way of supporting this. They will also feed into the VALEUR project.


McPake, J. and Tinsley, T. (2004). Mapping provision for community languages in the UK and Europe : Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the British Association for Applied Linguistics , London (September).

Provision for Community language learning in Scotland (2006)

Learning Community Languages Leaflet



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