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MFL condensed KS3 & language choice

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by Hijaqs, May 30, 2012.

  1. Hi,
    I would be grateful if you could give me your thoughts and suggestions on the following dilemna.
    In KS3, our students have always studied French. Last year we introduced Spanish so that we now have 2 languages studied equally over the 3 years of KS3. This seems to be going well as students appreciate the choice of languages when they have to make their options - particularly as the more able students have to study an MFL at KS4.
    I have just been told that from the Sept 2012 intake we have to condense KS3 into 2 years with students taking their GCSE options at the end of year 8. The most sensible decision - which will ensure better results would be to offer just 1 language in KS3. This seems such a pity, however, I'm concerned that 1 year of each language would be insufficient prep for GCSE. This is not a grammar school - but a challenging school with poor results.
    To find some way round the problem, I'm considering the option of offering, say, a half-term of each language at the start of year 7 with students (with their teacher) making a choice of which language to pursue thereafter throughout KS3 and eventually KS4. However, the timetable problems that this may cause, plus what to do when students can't get the MFL they want (due to numbers etc) and complaining parents etc. is causing me anxiety already.
    I can't be the only one to have this dilemma - I would really appreciate sharing your thoughts on this.
     
  2. Hi,
    I would be grateful if you could give me your thoughts and suggestions on the following dilemna.
    In KS3, our students have always studied French. Last year we introduced Spanish so that we now have 2 languages studied equally over the 3 years of KS3. This seems to be going well as students appreciate the choice of languages when they have to make their options - particularly as the more able students have to study an MFL at KS4.
    I have just been told that from the Sept 2012 intake we have to condense KS3 into 2 years with students taking their GCSE options at the end of year 8. The most sensible decision - which will ensure better results would be to offer just 1 language in KS3. This seems such a pity, however, I'm concerned that 1 year of each language would be insufficient prep for GCSE. This is not a grammar school - but a challenging school with poor results.
    To find some way round the problem, I'm considering the option of offering, say, a half-term of each language at the start of year 7 with students (with their teacher) making a choice of which language to pursue thereafter throughout KS3 and eventually KS4. However, the timetable problems that this may cause, plus what to do when students can't get the MFL they want (due to numbers etc) and complaining parents etc. is causing me anxiety already.
    I can't be the only one to have this dilemma - I would really appreciate sharing your thoughts on this.
     
  3. Not easy. We have a condensed KS3. 2 hours of French throughout Years 7 & 8. Up to now 1 hour of Spanish in Years 7 & 8 for more able students - the others do something else. Recently gained 2 hours throughout Year 7 & 8 for both langs. We're lucky and I appreciate that other departments might not get that kind of contact time.
    However remember that the GCSE will last 3 years (unless your SLT push for early entry) and you can take your time embedding language skills. We have 3 hours over 3 years to teach GCSE. I've managed to get a small bunch entered early as they are very able but most need the 3 years.

     
  4. My thoughts are these: Is your school an Academy? Any school making kids choose at the end of year 8 is a school with a plan to phase out languages altogether except perhaps for a tiny group to act as some sort of fig-leaf for parents and OFSTED. If kids get the option to drop a subject (any academic subject) most of them will and the staffing requirements will be reduced accordingly. The school will save money and minimise or get rid of an irritating subject that doesn't fit in with the whole "soft skills" (no skills at all) approach of English education.
    What can you do? Very little. I suggest you get rid of one of the languages. Good luck.
     
  5. I agree. Don't mess around with further diluting the little time that you have. You can always alternate which language is studied to keep staff happy and onside.
     
  6. Hello
    The same thing has happened in my school. KS3 was condensed two years ago and we lost Spanish and German as a result. Now just French is offered, and it has affected the take up for GCSE French too.
    My school is a band 4 school, so possibly similar to yours. We tried the half term of each, it didn't work out.
    Good luck anyway!
     
  7. delnon

    delnon Lead commenter

    duncandisorderly and others are bang on the money. Is your CV up to date?
     

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