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Exam success for local councillor

Published on:

16 May 2016

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The government’s decision to order exam boards to reinstate community languages as GCSE and A Level examination subjects has been welcomed by Enfield Council’s education lead, Cllr Ayfer Orhan.

The government’s decision to order exam boards to reinstate community languages as GCSE and A Level examination subjects has been welcomed by Enfield Council’s education lead, Cllr Ayfer Orhan.

Enfield Council played a pivotal role in a national campaign objecting to plans by two examination boards to scrap the subjects, and others, at GCSE and A-Level, passing a motion at full council meetings and writing letter of objection to Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan and Schools Minister Nick Gibbs.

Cllr Ayfer Orhan, Cabinet Member for Education, Children’s Services & Protection said: “So many young people who speak and study these languages were disappointed last year to hear that examination boards intended to drop them, but we have been able to demonstrate their importance through our campaigning.

“It is really great news and I am delighted the government has responded to our campaign which was started by the local Turkish paper Londra Gazete and supported by Enfield Council.”

In September, last year, Cllr Orhan secured full council backing to ask Schools Minister, Nick Gibbs to intervene and force the Assessment & Qualification Alliance (AQA) and Oxford, Cambridge & RSA (OCR) exam boards to reconsider their decision to scrap “A” levels and GCSEs for community languages such as Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, Greek, Polish and Turkish.

Cllr Orhan continued: “Now that the government has stepped in, it is not only Enfield’s young people who can confidently gain qualifications that recognise their considerable linguistic skills but also all young people throughout the UK.”

Cllr Orhan received a letter from Nick Gibbs thanking her for her tireless efforts in the campaign to restore community languages to the range of study courses for external exam qualifications.

Exam facts

  • In May 2015, the Secretary of State for Education wrote to the exam boards during the pre-election period to convey her concern about their decisions to stop offering GCSEs and A levels in certain languages.
  • Since then the government worked with Ofqual and the exam boards to secure agreement that these important subjects will not be dropped and that qualifications will continue to be provided in these important subjects.
  • Examining boards Pearson and AQA will continue to offer the languages they currently offer and will also take on most of the qualifications that are being withdrawn by OCR.

As a result of those discussions the following languages will continue at GCSE and A level:

  • Arabic
  • Modern Greek
  • Gujarati
  • Bengali
  • Japanese
  • Modern Hebrew
  • Biblical Hebrew
  • Panjabi
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Turkish
  • Urdu

The number of pupils entering for a modern language GCSE has risen by 20% since 2010.