Changes made to GCSE foreign languages illustrates government desire to increase the number of GCSE students studying modern languages. The reforms to French, German and Spanish GCSEs reflect sector feedback and received an overall positive response from language teachers.
In the reformed GCSEs, students will learn the most common vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation to increase lesson clarity and enable students to track their progress easily.
Crucially, these proposals will further widen the academic step up for students moving from GCSE to A-Level languages, which is already significant and may deter many students from studying languages at A-level – Dr Simon Hyde, HMC
HMC fears the new GCSEs will not increase the falling number of students wanting to study foreign languages, and will instead make the courses more difficult for students to maintain.
Dr Simon Hyde, general secretary at HMC, commented: “This model will not give students the confidence in their language, both at examination level and as a life skill, to take forward into further studies, careers and personal endeavours.
“Crucially, these proposals will further widen the academic step up for students moving from GCSE to A-Level languages, which is already significant and may deter many students from studying languages at A-level.”
The organisation also expressed concerns about the potential costs associated with retraining teachers. Hyde continued: “The costs and time involved in retraining teachers and redesigning resources, so soon into the lifecycle of the current language specifications, will be an unnecessary burden on schools when they are already incredibly stretched.”
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