1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice


Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by addled13, Feb 19, 2016.

  1. addled13

    addled13 New commenter

    PLease can anyone tell me what has happened regarding 90% of pupils from Y7 onwards having to study a MFL? I've been out of the UK this week and have just checked the D for E policy document following the EBACC consultation which closed on 29th January. I'm still not much clearer on what it means! My job as HoD of MFL is currently at risk as so few students choose to study a language from Y8, and more than 30% are disapplied by SMT in Y7 and Y8. I'd be really grateful if someone could enlighten me please!
  2. -myrtille-

    -myrtille- Occasional commenter

    I don't think it's 100% clear, to be honest.

    I believe the government said they wanted all pupils to study a language at GCSE, then backtracked to 90%, recognising that for some of the very weakest pupils a language GCSE course is not appropriate.

    There hasn't been any talk of making it compulsory as such. But rather that schools wouldn't be able to get an "Outstanding" grade if they weren't entering 90% of pupils for the EBacc subjects. The extent to which schools are reacting to this seems to depend a lot on their existing ethos, with some saying they will ignore the new requirement and others embracing it.

    My school already has compulsory MFL at KS4 (and I only know of two pupils in the entire school who are disapplied in KS3 - there are quite a few others who miss 1 lesson per week due to reading interventions) but we currently put about the bottom 20% in for FCSE instead (because dragging them kicking and screaming through controlled assessments was totally counterproductive). We've been told that from the current Y8 onwards, only the bottom 10% will be able to do FCSE so we have to pick them wisely as the other 90% will be doing GCSE.

    Sounds like good news for you, in terms of job security, if your Head takes this into consideration.
    But if language take-up has traditionally been low in your school, you're going to have a tough time with some of the pupils for the next couple of years.

    We're in our 4th year, with last year's Y11, the current Y11, the current Y10 and current Y9 all having been required to study a language. And it's definitely getting easier with each year group - Y9 are much more willing. Or if they're unwilling it's because they're the types of pupils who are unwilling to work in any subjects, rather than being good in other subjects then arguing about having to study a language.
  3. BrightonEarly

    BrightonEarly Occasional commenter

    The FCSE was more worthwhile when it accrued league table points. This qualification doesn't count to Progress 8, nor does it go towards the EBACC.
  4. -myrtille-

    -myrtille- Occasional commenter

    Indeed - which is why we're now being asked to reduce the numbers of pupils we enter for it.

    Last year, when the main measure was 5 A*-C including English and Maths, it was a good solution. We took the pressure off pupils by putting them on a more accessible course and it also took some pressure off those of us who were teaching those pupils because we no longer had to continue the painful process of controlled assessments with F/G/U grade candidates. But due to Progress 8, we're now having to keep some pupils on the GCSE course (even if they're going to get a G) because otherwise they won't have enough subjects for Progress 8.

    FCSE suited us because the school has a "languages for all" policy. So our options are either: all pupils do the GCSE even if they don't have any chance of achieving above a G, OR the majority do the GCSE but the very weakest do FCSE.

    In terms of league tables, having the bottom 10-20% of the cohort doing FCSE makes absolutely no difference. They could just as well not be doing MFL at all.

    But I do think it makes life easier because you're not having the argument about why some pupils don't have to do MFL when most do. There's no precedent set of pupils dropping the subject, which other reluctant learners can then exploit. And for some of these weaker pupils the FCSE gives them a real sense of achievement. I had 3 SEN pupils (one with major mental health difficulties) complete their FCSE course before Christmas and their parents are delighted that they've achieved a Merit in something.
  5. BrightonEarly

    BrightonEarly Occasional commenter

    Take heart, I would doubt that your job is at risk, even if there are no GCSE candidates, there would still be KS3 linguists. Schools would not wipe languages off the curriculum entirely even if it were possible. In which case, a subject coordinator will be needed. I'm surprised that languages are not currently a 'guided' option subject at your school. Have you had a talk with your line manager to discuss strategies to increase uptake or to review the options process?
  6. addled13

    addled13 New commenter

    Thanks. I have had many conversations with our deputy over this. Policy is total free choice for options and we are not allowed to give any guidance to pupils. We are consistently rated good/outstanding as a department yet pupils prefer to choose "easy" options. I currently teach 8 MFL lessons a week and 11 RE/PSHEE.
  7. toadman

    toadman Occasional commenter

    Whilst considering it sheer madness to force 90% into KS4 languages and make GCSE harder, I can see it happening!
  8. addled13

    addled13 New commenter


Share This Page