France and England face very similar challenges and issues in relation to education and training. Both countries have, over a number of years, worked together to share information on policy and practice and to try to develop lasting partnerships between individuals, institutions and organisations in the fields of education and training which contribute to the meeting of common objectives such as the teaching of modern foreign languages and the mutual understanding of our respective cultures.
A joint Memorandum of Understanding for a partnership programme related to co-operation on education and training was first signed in 2003, and again in 2006. This partnership has led to the accelerated development of successful joint projects already underway, and to a range of new and innovative projects, with particular regard to the introduction in both countries of modern foreign language teaching in primary schools.
Within the new MOU, England and France have confirmed their commitment to work together on:
- developing partnerships between secondary schools to promote the teaching and learning of modern foreign languages and the promotion of joint work in Arts and Sport;
- generally encouraging pupil and teacher mobility and increasing the number of language assistants working in both countries;
- supporting modern foreign language learning in the Primary Sector, including the development of school partnerships, curriculum projects, teacher and pupil visits;
- co-operating in professional and vocational education and training including professional development for teachers in initial and continued teacher training;
- co-operating on and increasing exchanges on policy and practice issues of common interest such as school leadership, pupils’ anti-social behaviour;
- using information and communications technology in the implementation of the above.
Three million British secondary school pupils currently study French, the most popular foreign language in the United Kingdom.