The British Council and Qatar Foundation International are working together to promote the teaching and learning of Arabic language and culture in the UK, aiming to make Arabic a realistic choice for UK Schools.

Research into long-term language needs identified Arabic as the second most necessary language for the UK over the next 20 years. However, Arabic is taught in five to six per cent of secondary schools in the UK, the majority of which are Muslim faith schools, and often only as an extracurricular subject or in the supplementary sector. 

By developing Arabic to the same standards expected of the other major world languages in the British school system, the British Council and QFI are working to make Arabic a viable option for students of any background to explore.

Teacher Councils 

For the first time this school year QFI are offering grants to support the establishment of local Arabic Teacher Councils.  Applicants must be based in a host institution (a school or university or professional organisation) and will act as organisers, administrators, and facilitators for Teaching Council activities.  

There are four grants of five thousand pounds available. Each Teaching Council will support the teaching of Arabic in its local area or region by:  

  • Recruiting members who have an interest or involvement in the teaching of Arabic  
  • Meeting, networking and sharing resources and ideas 
  • Reaching out to the wider community to educate it about Arabic language and culture and advocate for Arabic programs in schools.

UK schools are invited to work together with us to provide Arabic in the curriculum, with three-year funding and support available.

Our programme aims to:

  • Increase the number of schools in the UK teaching Arabic language and culture
  • Provide professional development opportunities, mentoring and modern resources for Arabic teachers
  • Produce fresh research into Arabic language and culture teaching pedagogy and initiate a key stakeholder committee to pave a strategic way forward to meet the UK Arabic needs.

Our funding offer to schools:

Schools are invited to apply for a package of funding and support over three years in order to introduce, or expand, provision of Arabic in the schools curriculum:

  • A grant of up to £15,000 per year for three years (maximum £45,000 in total)
  • Links to resources with a focus on study of Arab culture
  • The opportunity to apply for Skype sessions with Arabic speakers
  • The opportunity to apply for an international link to an Arabic-speaking school
  • Support with taster sessions 
  • A link to your nearest Arabic supplementary school in association with the NRCSE
  • Assistance with finding UK-trained MFL teachers who can teach Arabic.

The offer is open to secondary schools and Sixth Form Colleges in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. State schools can apply on their own; applications from Independent schools will be considered if they work in conjunction with a State school.

Email us to receive full details and eligibility criteria

Funding from Qatar Foundation International

Qatar Foundation International provides support for in-school Arabic language and culture programs across the United Kingdom, with renewal decisions made at the end of each year. Programs can vary from cross-disciplinary cultural initiatives, to fully incorporated Arabic language classes. Grants for schools are designed for QFI to gradually decrease their funding while the school takes on increased responsibility for their program from year to year.

QFI also provides Classroom Resource Enrichment Grants (CREGs) in the United Kingdom. CREGs are small scale grants of up to £700 that can be used to support Arabic language or Arab culture programs either in purchasing materials for the classroom, or for smaller scale events such as culture nights or field trips.

You can apply for both of these opportunities by visiting the QFI website

Professional development for teachers

QFI is partnering with Goldsmiths University of London to provide an Arabic Certificate Course for teachers of Arabic. The course provides a foundation in up-to-date methods for teaching Arabic as a second or foreign language to primary and secondary age learners. To ensure flexibility in meeting individual needs and an ongoing integration of theory and practice, it is based on a blended approach combining face-to-face teaching, supported self-study and classroom observation.

The course is open to teachers working in the UK in mainstream, independent and community-based school contexts, teaching classes of primary and secondary school aged children. Visit the Goldsmiths University of London website for more information.

Connect with a refugee and learn some Arabic

NaTakallam ('we speak' in Arabic) connects forcibly displaced persons with language and cultural exchange students around the world, providing them with economic opportunity, purpose, and re-gained dignity. Displaced people have self-generated over $400,000 through their work with NaTakallam. Give your students engaging, immersive language practice and cultural exchange with NaTakallam. NaTakallam has partnered with QFI to bring virtual guest speaker sessions that amplify refugee voices to schools worldwide. Programs can be conducted in English or Arabic (or a blend of both), as a single 60-minute session, or a three- or 10-part series, any of which can be integrated into an existing school class or an extracurricular club activity.           

Watch an introduction to NaTakallam.

Ready to bring NaTakallam to your school? Contact us or sign up today

Arabic Online Beginners Course

Created by Pendragon Educational Publishers the Arabic Online Beginners Course is a free online taster course of that has been specifically designed for students in schools throughout the United Kingdom. It is ideal for secondary pupils of any age, but will be particularly beneficial at key stage 3 as it leads learners progressively towards an active use of the Arabic language and understanding of Arab culture. The course is available on desktop and laptop computers and is complemented by a smartphone app. The course can be classroom based and teacher guided, but can also be offered to pupils for self-study. No previous knowledge of Arabic is required.

Language League Kick-Off

Language League Kick-Off, developed by Routes Into Languages and Manchester Metropolitan University, is a creative and unique initiative for young people to develop and enhance their Arabic language skills. It offers an attractive and creative approach to language learning linked to the game of football. Materials comprise of a fully integrated package of teachers’ notes, pupils’ workbook, a series of PowerPoint presentations and additional printable materials, such as flashcards.

Pilot Arabic Speaking Competition 2021

We are pleased to announce that we had 8 winners for the Arabic Speaking Competition this year:

  • Amira – Bolton Muslim Girls School, Bolton
  • Faaiza - Bolton Muslim Girls School, Bolton
  • Fatima – Madani School, Leicester
  • Nour – Life Sciences UTC, Liverpool
  • Nuzhat - Bolton Muslim Girls School, Bolton 
  • Rand – Abraham Moss Community School, Manchester
  • Shaza – Bolder Academy, London
  • Weam – Friends School, Lisburn

Watch the recording of our celebration event.