Language Education Policy in England: Is English the elephant in the room?

Ursula Lanvers

language education policy, global english, language learning in the uk


This paper offers a critical review of language education policies and the state of language education in England over the last decade (2000-2010), which has been characterised by a bewildering array of initiatives to promote language learning, year-on-year improved grades of school exams, and language education policies showing little coherence. Conversely, both media and student voices on the subject of language learning in the UK reveal high awareness of the UK’s poor performance relative to other EU countries. This picture is interpreted within the context of Global English, proposing that a tacit assumption that English is enough offers a coherent explanation of current practices and policies. Citing economic, cultural and political arguments, the conclusion illustrates the costs to the UK of this dangerous assumption and proposes some strategies that might help to counter complacency towards language learning in the UK.

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Apples - Journal of Applied Language Studies