Reinstate funds for languages in primary schools
I am extremely concerned at the recent cuts made in education in my native town of Belfast. I have a DPhil in Education from the University of Ulster and have spent much of my career advancing the teaching of languages across the UK, Ireland and Europe.
There is a mountain of evidence which reinforces how learning a language at a young age can enhance a child's academic performance, as well as immeasurably improving their life chances in an increasingly global society. Children who learn at least one other language exceed their peers in problem-solving and being able to communicate with people from a different background.
This issue is close to my heart because I raised my children in Belfast and they benefited from the excellent education system in place there. I have seen first-hand the benefits of learning a language as my daughter (who was educated in Belfast) now teaches Spanish to primary school children in the UK. I would urge politicians to put aside all partisan issues and reinstate the funding for primary languages for the sake of the children of Northern Ireland and their future economic and social wellbeing.
DR A C O'HANLON
BA (QUB); DPhil (UU); MBPS; FRSA (Fellow)