We do have to look again at our MFL methodology. It has manifestly failed. After five years of learning a language, even the majority of the tiny percentage of the age cohort who get an A at GCSE cannot hold a basic, unscripted conversation. I feel great sympathy for MFL teachers who are under immense pressure: MFL does not have enough time; SMT are often hostile; teaching has become a bureaucratic, tick-box nightmare; behaviour in schools in general has deteriorated. Languages are hard: as the most cumulative subject on the timetable they demand much greater self-discipline, concentration and application over an extended period of time than any other subject. More than any other area of the curriculum, they reward the conscientious student and crucify the lazy. MFL teachers work harder than almost any other teachers I know to produce entertaining, interesting lessons. Yet, in the final analysis, using the only criterion which really matters - a pupil being able to hold an unscripted conversation with a native speaker - they largely fail. In the couple of hours a week in which pupils study MFL there is simply not enough time for them to acquire it subconsciously as they do their mother tongue. The only hope is structured, systematic teaching from day one. This means teaching grammar thoroughly so that pupils can adapt what they have learnt to new situations It means pointing out to them the differences in structure between the FL and their own and, yes, it means translation. Pupils want to know how to translate. They frequently ask, "how do I say this sentence in ...(French)?" Instead of expecting them to pick it up by osmosis, we should give them the tools - a thorough knowledge of grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary - to do the job themselves. I hate teaching a class where the previous teacher has used the communicative method. Invariably the knowledge that the students have is almost zero and their accuracy is abysmal. They have wasted their time in meaningless pair work and group work exercises - the blind leading the blind. They have been occupied and entertained but not taught. Students themselves realise how futile the whole process is. When they encounter a native speaker, they see that the few set phrases they have learnt are useless. They know that the side of A4 which they memorised and regurgitated for their controlled assessment (and which was, in all probability, written by someone other than themselves) is a fraud: an evil, wicked deception which has failed a whole generation - just like the communicative method.