Language Rich Europe research provides a rich source of cross-national insights into multilingualism across the education sectors. You can browse all the national/regional profiles or simply focus on secondary education by reading on:
■ Additional support in the national language is provided for newcomers either before or during mainstream education in 21 countries/regions, with Denmark, Italy and Ukraine reporting no provision.
■ As expected, all countries/regions surveyed offer foreign languages in both lower and upper secondary education. Significant differences emerge, however, in the number of compulsory languages offered, the range of languages, the monitoring of language skills, the use of CLIL, and the extent to which the CEFR is used to evaluate the level achieved.
■ The only countries/regions to make two languages compulsory at both lower and upper secondary level are Austria, Estonia, France, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Switzerland.
■ As expected, attainment targets in line with the CEFR for foreign languages are much better established in secondary schools than in primary schools in the participating countries/regions, with 13 of them explicitly stating a level to be achieved. B2 seems to be the commonly agreed level for proficiency in the first foreign language, and B1 for the second.
■ Nineteen countries/regions offer regional or minority (R/M) languages within secondary education. The countries/regions not offering R/M language education are Denmark, England, Estonia, Greece and Poland.
■ Eighteen countries/regions monitor the language skills acquired either through national/regional or school-based tests, with only Italy reporting no monitoring. Austria and Wales set no targets for the standard to be achieved, but all other countries/regions do. All countries/regions offer the languages free of charge to all pupils.
■ Few countries/regions are making immigrant language provision available systematically (three in pre-primary and five in primary), and in secondary eight countries/regions out of the 24 responded positively. These are Austria, Denmark, England, Estonia, France, the Netherlands, Scotland and Switzerland.
■ Full state funding is available for immigrant languages in Austria, Denmark, England, the Netherlands and Scotland. In France and Switzerland funding is provided by the countries of origin of immigrant pupils and in Estonia parents meet the costs. The only countries/regions offering immigrant languages in both primary and secondary education are Austria, Denmark, France and Switzerland.
■ The most commonly offered foreign languages are English, German and French, although other European languages such as Spanish and Italian are also offered. Some immigrant languages such as Arabic, Croatian, Polish, Russian and Turkish are offered as optional foreign languages, and Arabic and Turkish have a firm status as examination subjects in secondary schools in France and the Netherlands. Russian is offered widely in Eastern European countries either as an R/M language or as a foreign language.
■ As in primary education, CLIL is widespread in the teaching of R/M languages, but much less so in foreign languages, with only France reporting widespread practice, and 14 other countries/regions reporting localised examples.
■ Foreign language teachers are well qualified, and only in Estonia and Northern Ireland do general classroom teachers teach foreign languages.
■ There is a little more structured support for mobility at secondary level than at primary, with Austria as well as Catalonia reporting that teachers spend a semester abroad as part of their pre service or in-service development. Another 17 countries/regions encourage and support mobility of teachers financially, leaving Estonia, France, Italy, Portugal and Romania as countries where teachers are less likely to spend time in a target language country.
■ In line with EU and CoE recommendations, foreign language teachers in most countries are required to have attained a certain proficiency level in the foreign language and this is measured against CEFR levels in eight countries/regions. C1 appears to be the most common level required, although B2 is considered appropriate in Basque Country.
■ There is a shortage of language teachers in some countries/regions, and special measures are being taken to recruit professionals with appropriate qualifications and to encourage people to qualify as language teachers. The most active countries/regions in teacher recruitment are Scotland, Basque Country, England, Romania and Switzerland, who are all recruiting for teachers in at least three of the four language categories.