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Reports and briefings

May 2018 Multilingualism and Wellbeing in UK—report

Last year the Cambridge Bilingualism Network ran a series of forums on the theme of 'multilingualism and wellbeing', which brought together practitioners and researchers from across linguistics, education and psychology (generously funded by the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account). The Bilingualism Network has now produced a brief report on the main points coming out of the forums, which can be downloaded here.




The ESRC-funded seminar series The Educated Brain was convened to share the latest research from educational neuroscience, psychology, and linguistics with teachers and practitioners in order to consider potential implications for teacher training, best practice, and educational policy. Over the course of two years the series spanned a range of topics from the importance of play, speech development, school readiness, bilingualism, dyslexia, the adolescent brain, autism, and the effects of stress and deprivation. 

Two reports, Infancy and Early Childhood and Late Childhood and Adolescence were complied by a team of early-careers researchers to summarise key findings. The series concluded with a research and policy showcase hosted Daniel Zeichner MP at the House of Commons on 24 April 2018.


Infancy and Early Childhood

Late Childhood and Adolescence

The team gratefully acknowledges the support of the Economic & Social Research Council. The Educated Brain series has been coordinated by Cambridge NeuroscienceCambridge Public Policy and Cambridge Language Sciences (University of Cambridge).


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A journal connecting research in linguistics and languages with policy and the public

Languages, Society and Policy (LSP) is the Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals, Transforming Societies (MEITS) Project's policy journal. LSP publishes high-quality peer-reviewed language research in accessible and non-technical language to promote policy engagement and provide expertise to policy makers, journalists and stakeholders in education, health, business and elsewhere.

LSP promotes the multidisciplinarity of linguistics and language research and welcomes contributions from diverse disciplines including, but not restricted to, linguistics, modern languages, cultural studies, cognitive science, developmental linguistics and psychology, sociolinguistics, corpus and computational linguistics, education, health sciences, psychology and neuroscience. 

For more information, including on how to submit a paper, please see:

What is the value of languages in the UK?

CPP report


The role and contribution of language to the UK economy and society is both rich and varied. It stretches from enabling economic growth and prosperity through the language and communication skills required to enable UK business to participate in the global market place; to the ‘soft power’ and diplomatic skills through which the UK’s role and authority in foreign policy is manifested; to enhancing the cultural capital, educational attainment and social cohesion within England and the devolved communities of the UK both now and in the future.

A new report by Cambridge Public Policy draws on discussions held at a workshop in Cambridge in October 2015 to discuss strategic issues in which languages play a part: national security, diplomacy and conflict resolution, community and social cohesion, migration and identity.

Representatives from government departments and bodies included: Ministry of Defence, UK Trade and Investment, Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure Northern Ireland, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Ofsted.

Where we are now

  • Language contributes to UK prosperity: languages are a ‘value-added’ skill
  • Language learning forms part of ‘cultural agility’ from knowing other languages and cultures
  • Languages provide value-added skills across a range of occupations
  • There is increasing understanding of the personal and societal benefits of bilingualism
  • Recognized importance of ‘soft power’ and language skills in conflict areas

 Key concerns 

  • Business lost to UK companies through lack of language skills
  • Gaps in detecting incidence and spread of disease outbreaks and other health and security threats
  • Loss of language departments and degree courses in UK higher education
  • Lack of native English speakers in translating and interpreting departments of EU and UN
  • Inadequate language services in courts and healthcare.



Improving support for pupils with English as an additional language

EAL report


A new report on UK school pupils who speak English as an additional language (EAL) argues that their progression in English language proficiency, academic achievement and social integration is closely linked and that a strong professional knowledge base is needed in schools to support the pupils. The authors also argue that parents are an ‘untapped resource’ for support and social integration. The report makes a series of policy recommendations.

The report identifies opportunities to target outreach to parents of EAL pupils, and develop frameworks and qualifications for English language support specialists to enable better assessment of language proficiency among pupils.
The researchers, from the University of Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin University, were commissioned by the Bell Foundation to conduct a two-year longitudinal study of secondary schools in the East of England between 2013 and 2015. 




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