COMMUNITY LANGUAGES SAVED TO ENSURE DIVERSE CURRICULUM CONTINUES
Government action 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 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continue to offer the languages they currently offer and will also take on most of the qualifications that are being withdrawn by OCR.
As a result of those discussions the following languages will continue at GCSE and A level; Arabic, Modern Greek, Gujarati, Bengali, Japanese, Modern and Biblical Hebrew, Panjabi, Polish, Portuguese, Turkish and Urdu.
The number of pupils entering for a modern language GCSE has risen by 20 per cent since 2010. Today’s announcement will ensure pupils will continue to be able to learn as wide a range of languages as possible in the classroom.
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said:
“One of Britain’s strengths is its rich, multicultural nature and ensuring young people have the opportunity to study a wide range of languages is integral to that.
“I am delighted that these languages will continue at GCSE and A level. Learning a foreign language opens up a whole world of opportunity and ensures our young people will be able to compete on a global scale.
“I also want to thank those exam boards who have worked with us to protect these languages so we will continue to have high quality qualifications available.”
Pearson and AQA will now work to develop new GCSEs and A levels that meet the rigorous standards put in place by government, ready for first teaching in 2018. To help with the transition OCR has agreed to continue offering GCSEs and A levels in those courses until 2018.