How many GCSE language options does your school offer?
Many state Secondary Schools are limiting the GCSE language options offered to their students – rather than having a choice of languages many students learn only one – so they can “focus” their efforts.
Often students in Year 7 are randomly allocated to French, German or Spanish for the next 3-5 years, with no chance to try another language. The reason for this is that the “languages are difficult” idea seems to have infected even language departments in schools. In an effort to improve results and league table positions the idea that students should “focus on one language” is taking hold.
And how many GCSE Sciences?
Imagine if schools said “Sciences are difficult, so you are going to focus just on Chemistry”. Instead, students are encouraged to try 3 sciences and to pick at least 2 for GCSE. This allows students to choose the subjects that appeal most to them, or if they have a talent for science they can carry on with 3 subjects.
Why are students with language skills not offered this opportunity? Research has shown that learning a language provides benefits in terms of confidence, reasoning ability, job prospects, and helps with memory and multi-tasking – surely schools should give students the opportunity to try more than one language? After all, a child who does not enjoy French may well take to German (or Russian, or Chinese or Arabic, given the opportunity!)
Rather than schools narrowing the choice of GCSE languages, offering students a wider choice increases the chance that they will find a language that suits them, and that they will enjoy their study and carry on to a higher level.
Let’s start a campaign!
Does your local school offer just one language? Should we start a campaign? Let us know on Social Media what your views are!