Community languages saved to ensure diverse curriculum continues

Government PRESS RELEASE

GCSEs and A levels in a range of community languages such as Panjabi, Portuguese and Japanese are to continue thanks to government action.

Government action [and massive lobbying from community members and organisations – Ed] means GCSEs and A levels in a range of community languages such as Panjabi, Portuguese and Japanese are to continue to ensure young people can carry on studying a diverse range of foreign languages.

The news, announced today (22 April 2016) by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, marks a significant step for the government in its efforts to extend opportunity to young people and equip them with the skills they need in what is an increasingly global economy.

It follows a government commitment in 2015 to protect a number of language GCSEs and A levels after the exam boards announced that from 2017 they would be withdrawing several courses. In May 2015, the Secretary of State for Education wrote to the exam boards during the pre-election period to convey her concern about their decisions to stop offering GCSEs and A levels in certain languages.

Since then the government has worked with Ofqual and the exam boards to secure agreement that these important subjects will not be dropped and that qualifications will continue to be provided in these important subjects. Pearson and AQA will continue to offer the languages they currently offer and will also take on most of the qualifications that are being withdrawn by OCR.

The Government’s reforms are designed to make GCSEs more robust and rigorous, to match the best education systems in the world and to keep pace with universities’ and employers’ demands. For modern foreign languages, this includes:

Providing £1.8million between 2014 and 2016 to train teachers to teach the new languages curriculum in primary and secondary schools and help with its more demanding aspects.

o more opportunities to speak and write spontaneously in the language

o using languages across a range of contexts, including personal, academic and employment-related use

o a clearer focus on grammar and translation

o We are reforming A levels to equip students for progression to higher education. For modern foreign languages, this includes:

o more opportunities to speak and write spontaneously in the language greater engagement with themes directly relevant to the countries where the language is spoken

More details on WWW.GOV.UK website

“‎The National Resource Centre for Supplementary Education is delighted that government and the exam boards have recognised the importance of all languages to Britain and have collaborated to ensure the redevelopment of GCSE and A level examinations in those languages lesser-taught in Britain but no less important to the world.

We urge recognition of the vital role of community-led supplementary schools in supporting children and young people in the acquisition and‎ retention of mother-tongue and heritage languages and we call on government and exam boards to provide training and support in the new exams for supplementary school language teachers – the majority of whom teach on a voluntary basis at weekends while working in other professions during the week.”

Pascale Vassie, Executive Director NRCSE

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