The last week of the Summer holidays will have seen many teachers beavering away at preparations for the start of the new school year. It’s very easy once we’re back into the swing of things to lose sight of the bigger picture so taking a moment or two in this final week to pause and consider some of the wider issues concerning the future of languages and language teaching could be no bad thing.
There are currently a number of consultations going on which are due to end within the next few weeks; this means that time is running out if we want to have our say.
The future of A levels
The first is a survey run by Ofqual on A level reform which runs until September 11th. Ofqual has published a consultation document on its proposals which include changes to assessment as well as to the content and structure of A levels. Amongst other things Ofqual is proposing an end to the January series of exams and a limit on the number of resits that can be taken to one; this will be with effect from September 2013. They are then looking for revised content for some “priority” subjects to be taught as from September 2014; languages are included in a group of subjects that could form part of the initial phase of reforming the content of what is to be taught. A summary of the proposed timetable of reform is in paragraph 82 of the consultation document. The questions to which Ofqual are seeking responses are listed at the end of this document, and the means of responding are here.
Languages at KS2
Secondly there are just 4 weeks left to make your views known on the government’s proposals for making languages compulsory at KS2. The consultation document can be downloaded from the DfE website as can be the response form. Alternatively responses can be sent to the Association for Language learning who will collate responses that have been sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by September 14th.
Save community languages
Finally there is an online petition to OCR in support of retaining a broad spectrum of languages that are accredited under the Asset languages scheme. At present OCR is planning to offer Asset languages qualification in just French, German, Spanish, Italian and Chinese from 2014; this represents a cut from the current of offer of 25 languages (many of which are community languages) and is OCR’s response to government policy that does not recognise an Asset language qualification as part of the Ebacc.
Join the Campaign for languages
Finally, Speak to the Future is THE campaign for languages and has a whole host of resources which can be used to make the case for and promote languages and language learning – could be useful in the lead up to the European Day of Languages on September 26th. There is also the opportunity to show support for this campaign.