League tables tie teen's tongues

10th December 2004 at 00:00
I read with interest the quote from Sir Cyril Taylor that Britain risks becoming "a nation of monoglots" (TES, November 26).

As long as schools are judged on their position in the league tables, they will encourage their pupils to opt for subjects at key stage 4 where they stand the best chance of achieving a good GCSE grade, preferably a C or above.

There are pupils who struggle to achieve a high grade in a modern foreign language, but there is still value in studying the subject for a reasonable length of time. As the article suggests, we should encourage youngsters to speak another language and to understand the culture of other countries.

At Benton Park school, we still have languages as a compulsory subject at KS4. However, there is so much pressure on us to maintain our position in the league tables, that we are seriously considering putting languages in the free option, so that students who find languages challenging can opt for a subject where they stand a greater chance of success.

What a pity our intrinsic belief in the value of learning a modern foreign language is being compromised by the accountability factor of our position in the league tables.

Anne Clarke

Principal Benton Park school technology college Rawdon, Leeds

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