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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 February, 2004, 18:52 GMT
Language trips for new teachers
More people training to be primary school teachers are getting the chance to develop language skills, thanks to a new deal between England and Spain.

The agreement builds on similar arrangements already in place with Germany and France.

Trainee teachers can get a four-week teaching placement to improve their knowledge of the language and culture.

The government wants all pupils aged seven to 11 to have the opportunity to learn a foreign language by 2010.

children with puppets

That strategy to encourage an early interest in other languages accompanied its controversial move to drop compulsory modern language study for those aged over 14.

Spanish has been growing in popularity in secondary schools in recent years. French and German, though still studied by far more youngsters, have been declining.

The new deal with Spain was signed in Madrid by schools minister Stephen Twigg, who said: "It is vital that we create a true thirst for language learning in our schools.

"It is good for our pupils' development and the international standing of our country."

The Department for Education and Skills has allocated 460 places for trainee teachers this year across France, Germany and Spain, rising to 580 places next year.

Dr Lid King, National Director for Language
"Lots of young trainee teachers are coming into this scheme"

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