Advisers warn against short GCSEs

13th October 1995 at 01:00
Leading modern languages advisers are warning that schools should approach the new key stage 4 option of a short course with caution.

Schools will be able to offer a short-course minumum from September 1996, when studying a language will become compulsory for all pupils. But David Sword, chair of the National Association of Language Advisers, said: "We find it very difficult to see who this is going to suit other than curriculum planners. "

Two means of accreditation have been agreed: a freestanding GCSE (short course) or combined GCSE offering a language with another subject.

While advisers welcome the broadening of the requirement, they believe that the short-course option is not suitable for less able pupils, because it demands they achieve GCSE standards in half the time. They also say it is unsuitable for able pupils, because it blocks progress towards A-level.

Sheila Rowell, of the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority, said that the short-course options allow schools to keep breadth while doing less in some subjects.

But Mary Ryan, a general adviser in Avon, said she was concerned schools already devoting 10 per cent of the curriculum to languages may want to reduce that proportion.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today