Languages in schools mentoring scheme honoured

College of Arts and Humanities Modern Foreign Language students have been involved with a unique mentoring scheme, designed to encourage language learning amongst young people in Wales - and the project has been awarded the prestigious Threlford Cup by the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL).

The Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) Mentoring Scheme, which is led by Cardiff University’s School of Modern Languages, is funded by Welsh Government as part of its Global Futures plan which aims to improve and promote the take up of modern foreign languages in schools.

In partnership with Swansea, Bangor and Aberystwyth Universities, the project undertakes a nationwide approach to increasing inter-cultural understanding and promoting language learning at key stages.

The CIOL awards the Threlford Cup annually to an individual, organisation or project that has encouraged language learning in others.

"We are delighted that language students at Swansea University have been involved in the project and very proud that it has won this award," said MFL lecturer Dr Greg Herman. "We are continuing our involvement with the project this academic year and there are some exciting digital developments which allow us to access more schools than ever before."

After nominations from external evaluator, Teresa Tinsley and South East Wales MFL consortium coordinator, Sioned Harold, the MFL Mentoring scheme was presented with the Threlford Cup by CIOL’s Royal Patron HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO at an award ceremony which took place at The Law Society in London.

The scheme has achieved much success since it began in 2015, working with over a quarter of all secondary schools in Wales. MFL students from Cardiff, Swansea, Bangor and Aberystwyth Universities are trained as mentors and coaches. The student mentors are then partnered with schools in their respective areas and matched with Key Stage 3 mentees. Student mentors undertake weekly mentoring and coaching sessions for their pupil mentees in small groups across the academic year.

Over the last two years the mentoring scheme has had a significant impact on partner schools who have reported a marked increase in pupils choosing languages at GCSE as well as improved motivation to continue learning languages and to consider progressing to university.

Teresa Tinsley, who nominated the scheme, said: “This has been a win-win project. It has broadened horizons and built ambition in pupils and at the same time has provided university students with employability skills and experience to take into their working lives. It is always good to see universities working with schools and this project has been particularly well targeted and well organised. I am delighted to see this recognised nationally.”

Rob Davies, Head of the Secondary Phase Unit in the Education Department of Swansea Council discussed the future of the project stating: "Cyngor Abertawe/Swansea Council, in conjunction with regional working through ERW, is delighted to support the work between Swansea University and its local schools.  We are pleased to see that the mentoring programme has had a positive impact by increasing the proportion of pupils studying a modern foreign language at GCSE.  This is an area for the council to improve.  We look forward to supporting and strengthening this partnership work in the future.”


MFL Mentoring Student Pic Languages