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A level not running next year - numbers not viable

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by sam enerve, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. sam enerve

    sam enerve New commenter

    Sadly, 3 students isn't enough to run an A level course in any school these days. At a previous school I taught A level French after school with 4 students because the school would not run a course for 4 students.
    To SLTs in most schools I've worked at, MFL is just not seen as important.
     
  2. I would suggest that 10% of the year group cohort is quite a success. I would be interested to know what percentage other schools have, as this is probably a better guide than class size alone.
     
  3. Three in my class:)
     
  4. buttongirl

    buttongirl New commenter

    I have just 2 in my 6.1 - we started the year with 3, but one dropped out in October.
    I support a previous poster's argument that as long as you have someone to teach, you should continue teaching it to avoid becoming deskilled in teaching at KS5 level. You may end up having 10 people interested the following year but if you have lost a year's experience of teaching at A level then it will not be to anyone's advantage.
     
  5. parkykeeper

    parkykeeper New commenter

    A couple of things: it is worth emphasising the point that the school is going to lose 10 per cent of its year 12 students next year which raises further questions: can the school afford to lose the income that these students generate by being on you roll? What will be the impAct in other subjects if these three students leave? Will it mean that other subjects don't run? If this is the case the school is at risk of a domino effect and ultimately not having a sixth form at all. Word travels fast with such matters in the local community and parents may choose not to send their child to the school in Year 7. Either the school is serious about having a sixth form or it's not!

    Secondly, is there any chance if sharing the A level teaching in a consortium of schools , perhaps with just one other school. It may well be possible to come to some sort of agreement where they are taught as two or more schools for some aspects of the spec and in their own school for other aspects.

    If this isn't possible and you really are up against a brick wall, you know that the only way you can teach a level is to find another job in a school where languages ARE valued.

    One final point: a test if the slt's emotional intelligence would be to ask them: how they would feel if it was their son or daughter that was told they couldn't do a subject at A level, a subject that was essential to their chosen career etc . Additionally if you hearteacher is a history teacher how would he feel if he had been told he couldnt do it himself? And when he/she turns round and gives the glib answer: I would mine to another school or I would get the books and teach mysel the spec, you can respond by saying that unfortunately it is significantly more difficult to teach yourself a language than history!

    I hope this helps!

    Out if interest what subjects are being allowed to run?
     
  6. I had a timetable planning meeting with my deputy head yesterday and have been told that where AS and A2 classes fall below 6 students the number of teaching hours will be cut fro 9 to 7 per fortnight. The remaining two periods will be independent study.
    This affects 4 of the 6 AS/A2 classes which we have timetabled next year.I've raised all the obvious arguments against the proposal but I feel we will have no option but to accept the decision otherwise the classes won't run at all - it all comes down to money.
    Is there a precedent for this in other schools? What has been the impact on results? How have students and parents reacted?
     
  7. marmot.morveux

    marmot.morveux New commenter

    All of our 6th form lessons have been decreased to 8 a fortnight. However, I have taken a decision to offer an extra hour a week of my own time for 'conversation'. I guess this would usually be fulfilled by a FLA.
     
  8. Well ... I almost hesitate to post this ... At my school (small, independent, girls) we have dropped from nearly 35% of pupils going into 6 form doing one or more languages to, wait for it , only 1 wanting to do it (but another is biting the cherry as I speak).

    The Head's take on it to the governors was:
    - we offered this in the prospectus and never said it would not run with small numbers.
    - we could teach reduced hours but is it good to have year 12s with too much time on their hands?
    - what message does this send out about the subject?
    - If we don't teach it one year staff will lose their skills.
    - if they can't do this subject here they might go elsewhere( bums on seats argument)


    To my joy this was accepted.

    I can only say that we saw the drop occur once Controlled Assessment brought in. Can't say whether it is connected but I am thinking that it could be.

    I am very saddened by this decline, especially as we bucked the trend of perplexing results.; in fact we got very good results (and our pupils are not highly selected: however they work and we give them what I like to call a good grounding earlier on so that the cross between GCE and A level is not as bad as it could be).

    I am hopeful that the next cohort will be more positive.

    All the best in your argumentation

    Julia Whyte
     
  9. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    At our place, if numbers fall below three then teaching periods are reduced from 8 to 6. We are a private school and can't afford to refuse a subject to run, even if there's just one student wanting to take it, so I think this is a good compromise. Vice-versa, you'd hope that for bigger groups (14 in my AS next year!) you'd be allowed extra teaching time, but not so.
     
  10. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    They wouldm't ru it for us last year with 6.
    This year 3 want to continue, so I guess it won't be happening.
     
  11. parkykeeper

    parkykeeper New commenter

    And then they wonder why applications for language degrees are falling! We will be offering ab initio French degrees before long.
     
  12. parkykeeper

    parkykeeper New commenter

    Excuse the typos on my message
     
  13. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

  14. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    Larger groups in the subjects you quote bring bums onto those seats, and that's why you won't get any sympathy from your colleagues who have more students in one teaching group than MFL has in total across two levels and maybe three languages. Nor will SMT care if six French students walk away when there dozens staying to do that academically challenging array of subjects, with the obvious exception of history [​IMG]. However, a school that doesn't offer breadth of curriculum at A level doesn't always look too appealing to the outside world.
     
  15. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    Out of 28 German learners in year 11, 4 chose German AS, plus 2 'maybe's', plus 3 from the girls' school next door (all of whom SLT discounted, with the argument 'well, they might not turn up'). French was also chosen by 4 students. Therefore they decided to run French AS but not German ('We can't afford both').
    The day after the letters were sent home, all four sets of parents requested a meeting with the Headteacher. A few days later the money was found to fund German AS.


     
  16. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    Sheer coincidence!! Well done. Have sent you a PM.
     
  17. I am in the same boat. I only have 6 doing Italian in my A2, but they were allowed only 4/5 lessons per week (ours last 60 minutes). Last year (also with 6) they had a full complement of lessons and their results were excellent [2 A* and 4 A], there is no chance that this year will be as good - I know that already as they had less hours when doing the AS so they basically lost 20% of their lessons over TWO years! However, their TG are still very high!
    The current Y11 have also been told that they will have their hours cut to 4 in Italian. FYI, I only had 11 in my group and therefore, the uptake of 6/11 students for A Level is 55% which makes Italian the most successful subject in the school. The Head has admitted that much, but he is not budging. I suppose we [myself, students and parents) have to be grateful for small mercies (i.e. that he is running the course at all!), and I will have to continue to give "free" lessons to pupils who need them, because if I don't, the results will suffer and then I will have even less of an uptake, creating a vicious circle!
     
  18. We have run an A-level with 3 good and motivated linguists on 50% in AS and 75% in A2. It's do-able, as in such small classes you can get more done and give more support. The results were good. You do however race through the course and need to forget about fun and extension.
    It might be an alternative to not having A-level at all, which seems to be quite a common step to take now.
     

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