Success at the Language Show Live

31 Oct 2014

Speak to the Future has formed a strategic partnership with the London Language Show for 2014 – it has been a resounding success!

Friday events

As part of the partnership with the London Language Show, Speak to the Future was involved in a series of events on Friday 17 October for leaders and policymakers in the languages arena.

RosieGThe first event of the day was the Born Global Symposium led by the British Academy, which was introduced by Richard Hardie, Non-Executive Chair UBS Ltd., who chairs the policy research steering group. Speak to the Future’s Bernardette Holmes is also Principal Researcher for Born Global and, as such, presented the project’s interim findings, including insights from in-depth interviews with global executives, employer organisations and drawing on survey data from professionals using languages in a wide range of sectors. She was joined by the highly-respected journalist, Rosie Goldsmith, who proceeded to chair two expert panels, addressing languages and the economy, and languages for employability.  Eminent figures from industry and education were invited to lead the debate, including, for the economic case for languages: Guy Warrington, Diplomat, Director English Regions UKTI, Professor James Foreman-Peck, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, Philip Dodds, Managing Director, European Head of Client Relationship Management Investment Bank, UBS Ltd, Ann Carlisle, Executive Director, Institute of Linguists Educational Trust, Chartered Institute of Linguists, Katy Morris, Senior Researcher, Education and Employers Taskforce, and Rob Wall, current Head of Education and Employment Policy CBI; and for education and employability: Professor Michael Worton CBE, Professor William P. Rivers, Ph.D. Executive Director Joint National Committee for Languages – Chair National Council for Language and International Studies, USA,  Teresa Tinsley, Director, Alcantara Communications, Humair Naqvi, Head of Government and Education EMEA, Rosetta Stone, Neil Strowger, Headteacher, Bohunt School, Liphook, Hampshire and Nick Byrne, Director of Language Centre, London School of Economics.


Born Global is a policy research project investigating the extent and nature of language needs in the labour market and the implications for language education from school to higher education These are just a few of the key findings to be considered further:

  • In England, the study of languages is stratified by school type, ability and socio-economic background, and there are marked differences from region to region
  • The EBacc is making a difference to equality of access and numbers of students entering GCSE in a modern language
  • UK students’ international mobility (e.g. through Erasmus) is low, while employers value international experience and international cultural awareness highly
  • UK businesses continue to report low levels of satisfaction with the language skills of school and college leavers and graduates
  • According to a previous survey from the British Chambers of Commerce, (2013) up to 96% of UK businesses have no foreign language ability for the markets they serve
  • Professor James Foreman Peck, former Treasury adviser, estimates the UK’s language deficit costs the economy around £48bn a year, or 3.5% of GDP.
  • But at the same time, the CBI/Pearson education and skills survey (2014) reports that the vast majority of businesses (94%) do not require a high level of foreign language fluency as an essential core competence of their operations

bornglobpanelThe report makes for fascinating reading, addressing the implications for future employability and proposing some fresh solutions to achieving our common goal of language skills for all and the recognition of all languages spoken in our communities.

Everyone is encouraged to read the report summary - available on the British Academy’s website.

The symposium was followed by a networking lunch, generously sponsored by Rosetta Stone, another key supporter of Speak to the Future.

coussinsThis was, then, followed by the Language Leaders’ Summit, hosted by Speak to the Future, and looking ahead at language education policy developments. Baroness Jean Coussins, the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages, introduced the session and referred to the APPG’s Manifesto for Languages which is, of course, supported by Speak to the Future and a host of other organisations.


behtnalgreen Pupils from Bethnal Green Academy showed the audience how transformative excellent language learning can be, with inspiring contributions from speakers of Bengali, Spanish, French, Italian, German and Latin. Phoebe Dodds, undergraduate, then spoke of the importance of language skills to engage with others through initiatives such as the European Youth Parliament. Endorsements from the floor included interventions from Siôn Humphries, Policy Adviser, NAHT, Jocelyn Wyburd, Chair, University Council of Modern Languages, René Koglbauer, President, and Kathy Wicksteed, FLAME Co-ordinator, for the Association for Language Learning, Catalina Brook, Former President, UK Federation of Chinese Schools, Keith Moffitt, Chair, Chartered Institute of Linguists, Steve Eadon, Project Manager, Arsenal in the Community.

This was followed by a panel discussion, chaired by Baroness Onora O’Neill, at which all three of the main UK political parties were represented: Lord Sherbourne for the Conservative Party, Baroness Garden for the Liberal Democrats and Mary Honeyball MEP for the Labour Party.

pollytFollowing this, the British Academy and The Guardian then launched their Language Festival which will be running throughout November. This was attended by Polly Toynbee among other Guardian journalists.

The Guardian covered the day’s events in the following article:


The Saturday programme was also a triumph, with the brilliant Strictly 1000 Words competition, which is supported by Vocab Express and OUP, attracting a large and enthusiastic audience, with the irrepressible Larry Lamb bringing celebrity and genuine commitment to the promotion of language learning, as our celebrity judge. Read in more detail.

This year, the Speak to the Future stand concentrated its efforts on supporting the Manifesto for Languages published by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages.

Nick Mair of Dulwich College and his students provided a voting machine, to draw in supporters and engage them with Speak to the Future’s Write to your MP campaign.

Opposite the Speak to the Future stand and in partnership with us, the Primary Languages Hub was manned by ALL, NALA and S2F, providing face-to-face advice and encouragement from primary language experts for primary practitioners and anyone interested in supporting primary languages..

The event was a huge success and the campaign has received several declarations of support from organisations present – so watch this space for future developments!

Speak to the Future has already been asked to discuss a future strategic partnership for 2014-2015– so please already put the dates in your diary: 16-18 October 2015.

You won’t want to miss it!

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