2020-21 | Language Education Research and the Department for Education

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'Language Education Research and the Department for Education'


Knowledge Exchange Fellow:
Dr Arlene Holmes-Henderson   |   Faculty of Classics   |   University of Oxford

Partner Organisation:
Department for Education



Dr Arlene Holmes-Henderson is a TORCH Knowledge Exchange Fellow 2020-2021 working with the Department for Education. This partnership allows officials with responsibility for humanities and languages curriculum policy in England to engage with the research evidence on the likely benefits of teaching ancient languages in primary schools, given these are part of the national curriculum. In considering the long-term impact that the study of an ancient language can have on subsequent language study, this knowledge exchange partnership has the potential to inform future policy development on both the teaching of ancient and modern foreign languages in schools in England.

This partnership connects research evidence to policy enactment and contributes to the co-production of tools and resources that facilitate solutions for 1) better teaching of the KS2 languages curriculum in schools; 2) improved transition in languages between KS2 and KS3; and, ultimately, 3) the EBacc ambition at KS4.

Via her Knowledge Exchange Fellowship, Dr Holmes-Henderson is sharing the strength of the existing evidence from her award-winning Classics in Communities project, and wider research, on the impact of learning ancient languages on KS2 children's cognitive development. The feedback, insight and questions from policy colleagues will directly contribute to Dr Holmes-Henderson’s evolving research agenda, for example by making it more responsive to gaps in policy delivery.

Knowledge will be shared widely throughout this Fellowship. Dr Holmes-Henderson is the Outreach Officer of the Classical Association (the national subject association for Classics), she sits on the British Academy’s National Languages Advisory Group alongside colleagues representing modern languages, she chairs the Classics Development Group (the umbrella body for learned societies in Classics), she is a member of the British Curriculum Forum, a member of the OCR Classics consultative forum and a Schools’ committee member of the Roman Society. She aims to improve communication between these organisations as part of this Fellowship, and will help to connect the Department for Education with a more diverse network of stakeholders in language and humanities education.

Past Events