Pendle teacher backs calls from MPs to save UK language skills to avoid post Brexit crisis

A teacher has backed calls from MPs to save UK language skills before it is too late.

Monday, 8th April 2019, 3:25 pm
Updated Monday, 8th April 2019, 3:29 pm
Kirsty with her husband Mark and daughters, Sophie and Emily.

Ministers and peers said all pupils aged five to 18 should be taught a foreign language and urged education bosses to act now to avoid a post-Brexit crisis in language teaching.

The all-party parliamentary group on modern languages called for cross-government action in a recovery plan published in early March.

Kirsty Burrows (34), from Colne, is in full agreement and said: “With the UK’s exit from the European Union looming, the need for young people to learn a foreign language has never been greater.”

Parents and children enjoy one of the Bilingua sing classes.

The mum-of-two, who owns BilinguaSing East Lancashire, teaching French and Spanish to babies and children, believes both primary and secondary schools should put a bigger emphasis on language learning as part of the curriculum.

Kirsty said: “Language learning is so important, especially with Brexit just around the corner.

"People might not be so enthusiastic about speaking English once we leave the EU and that is something we need to prepare for. Multiple studies show that we are designed to learn languages from birth.

"The best window of opportunity is between 0 – 12 months when the brain is processing and distinguishing all of the different sounds that it is exposed to. The brain is able to produce additional grey matter and ‘compartments’ for the different languages that it processes at a young age.

"The brain loses this ability between the ages of six and nine, which is why young adults struggle.

"This is the age that we start to teach languages in the UK – crazy!

Baroness Jean Coussins, who is an an adviser on corporate responsibility has said that one of the myths that needs quashing is that languages are just for the top set.

She also pointed out that in a number of other countries the expectation is that everyone can learn another language.

Studies also show that being introduced to a second language as babies helps boost brain development and can help to enhance cognitive skills, problem solving and can even help to ward off dementia.

BilinguaSing classes use songs, music, movement and sensory experiences to make language learning fun.

Kirsty is a former International Business Manager started BilinguaSing East Lancashire in 2015 after having her first child and since then has taught Spanish and French to countless children and their families.

Spanish and French sessions for children aged from birth upwards and their parents take place in Foulridge, Skipton, Whalley and Oswaldtwistle as well as in schools and nurseries across East Lancashire.