The future of GCSEs and A levels in minority languages such as Polish and Turkish would be guaranteed under a newly-elected Conservative government, says the education secretary.
In a letter to the heads of exam boards, Nicky Morgan said she is “very concerned” about their alleged intentions to “stop awarding qualifications in some community colleges”.
Her move comes following the publication by exam boards AQA and OCR of lists of subjects to be axed. This includes languages such as Polish, Bengali, Gujarati, Modern Hebrew, Turkish and Portuguese. A spokesperson for AQA has said the board was “no longer able” to offer Bengali, Modern Hebrew, Panjabi and Polish at A-level.
Ms Morgan’s letter stated: “I am making a clear commitment that the next Conservative government will guarantee the future of GCSEs and A-levels in subjects like Polish, Gujarati, Panjabi, Bengali and Turkish.”
According to the education secretary, the Conservative party would launch a consultation within the first month of a new government on the best way of securing the future of the qualifications.
She said minority groups in the UK had come to her with concerns that young people would “soon be unable to take gold standard qualifications in these languages”.
According to the education secretary, the Conservative Party believe it is “vital” that young people master English – but “engage with and study other languages as well – in particular their mother tongue or that of their parents and family”.
She called on exam boards to work with exams regulator Ofqual to make sure these qualifications are included in the curriculum and “reverse the decision to cancel them”.
Speaking last month, shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt called on the government to “rescue” these subjects – saying: “Make no mistake, it is the Government that has caused this mess, which risks important languages like Turkish, Polish, Gujarati, Bengali, Punjabi, Modern Hebrew, and Portuguese, being lost from the school curriculum.”
Liberal Democrat shadow education secretary David Laws is reported as saying it was vital a wide range of modern languages were available in schools, and that his party supports those parents who are making their case to the exam boards.