DfE doubles funding for German language exchange programme

The Department for Education has pledged to double its funding for a joint programme with the German government which aims to encourage pupils to learn the German language.

The DfE will put in £90,000 per year, up from £45,000 last year, to the UK-German Connection programme, to “build cultural ties and strengthen language learning”.

A further £90,000 per year will be found from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) coffers, alongside £50,000 per year from the British Council. The total amount will be matched by the German government, coming to £460,000 in total.

The number of pupils taking German GCSE has fallen the most of all modern foreign languages, with entries to German dropping by 12 per cent this year, compared with French at 10 per cent and Spanish three per cent.

Experts have also estimated that thousands more MFL teachers will be needed to deliver the government’s target of having 90 per cent of pupils studying the EBacc in 2020. The government has today confirmed it is pushing this commitment back to 2025.

A joint press release from the DfE and the FCO said the British and German governments both wanted to “intensify our efforts to increase the interaction between our young people”.

The money will go towards language and culture projects in primary schools, a two-week language and culture course in Germany, a work-shadowing programme between the two countries called Host a Teacher, several First World War projects, and a scheme called Double Club German, which involves learning German through football.

The project, which was first established in 2005, signals “our strengthened commitment to more school and youth exchange as a long-term investment for peace in Europe, for our security and prosperity – as friends and partners in Europe,” said the press release.

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