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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 8:45 pm 
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Hi all,

I wonder if those of you who understand about GCSEs, IGCSEs, league tables and school politics could shed some light onto this matter?

My son's grammar school, which is an academy, have changed their languages policy. In the past, all children who already spoke another language could take a GCSE with their support. I know two boys who took it, one in year 8 and another in year 9. These children were bilingual and the rationale was to get them out of the way so that they were free to work on their other GCSEs in year 11.

They have now changed the policy and all bilingual students will have to take the exam in year 11. Moreover, the school will only support those who speak a language taught at the school. No reasons has been given. Also, they are currently doing IGCSEs for languages and in two years they will be changing to GCSEs.

Now, many things spring to mind. Would this have anything to do with the league tables?

I understand that if the child speaks another language at home that the school has to support them in taking their GCSE. Is this true? Is there a time specified or is it assumed that it would be in year 11? Does this rule apply to academies?

What happens to those early entries? Are they classed as them being taken independently? Do they count towards the school's league tables? Do they count if taken in year 11?

Why would it be of any advantage to a child who is getting A* on all their mocks to wait until year 11?
Why would it be of any advantage to the school?

Is there a cost involved?

And finally, could the parent just register the child independently bypassing the school? Would it be bad form? Would this make a difference to the school?

Many thanks for your input.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 8:47 pm 
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It could be that the only exams taken at one time count towards league tables etc these days - also I get the feeling that not much credit is given to GCSE / A level in "heritage" speakers of a language, I think some Unis specifically exclude them from offers.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 9:06 pm 
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Thank you for your quick response.
I think that people underestimate the effort put into being bilingual. A child born here still has to learn to read and write in their "heritage" language and learn not to mix them up. To be honest, if the school has not taught them the language, then I cannot see why it should go on the league tables. Moreover, I cannot see why a university would not take them into consideration. The child had to do extra work as a language is not just acquired by being among other speakers. Often, children understand the language but without proper effort they cannot speak it properly, let alone write it or read it. There are some languages which are so different to English that a lot of work is involved in teaching it.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 9:14 pm 
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I am sure that is the case - I am aware of children who have spoken a language at home but it has remained at a rather childish level and they have not put in the effort to learn the grammar /vocabulary to communicate with adults / write with correct grammar etc.

The university view on the A level varies by Uni - some will accept it, others won't - here is a comment from UCL:

Quote:
If you are taking A levels please note that UCL does not accept native language A level study for entry to undergraduate programmes: in other words, the three A level subjects on which an offer is based cannot include an A level in your native language.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 9:23 pm 
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Thank you. However, I wonder what they mean by native? A British child born and raised here cannot be considered native from any other nation than the UK, can they?


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 9:28 pm 
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salsa wrote:
Thank you. However, I wonder what they mean by native? A British child born and raised here cannot be considered native from any other nation than the UK, can they?


I don't know - there are comments on TSR that people might not admit that they are bilingual / spoke the language at home etc when applying - but that the referee may comment on it etc.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 9:48 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:42 pm
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Location: Chelmsford and pleased
Interestingly my children both took language GCSEs early. DS took French in year 8, we'd lived there when he was little. School policy was for all to take a language in yr 9 so he took German then. Both grades were A*. He took French AS, again school policy, in year 11 and A2 in year 12. Grade A awarded. He now has university offers that count the French A level which is lovely for him.

It would have been a shame for DS to have taken these with the others as he wouldn't have the A* as by year 11 he was entirely disaffected with school.

DD took French in year 9 with two other girls who had also lived in French speaking countries. She was only 7 when we returned. She is now taking A level but in year 13.

Both have chosen degrees with a year in Europe, one arts and one science.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:08 pm 
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It may be down to the new GCSE and league tables - if they sit a GCSE now it will have a results in the 'wrong' format ie A* to G. The new GCSE is 9 to 1 gradings and performance tables rules are always changing!

Don't sit it privately as there will be issues - technically the 'home' school has to know for UCAS etc.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:59 pm 
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Thank you for the replies. Surely this change is to do with more than league tables?

Moved, at least your children wouldn't be classed as natives and could benefit from their effort. After all, they had to adapt to life in France and learn a new language, then keep it up and have a good level of grammar, spelling, reading, etc.

Guest55, I don't understand, what issues could there be?


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 11:38 pm 
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If it is sat privately it has to be 'linked' to you or your results won't show up when you come to apply to uni.

If it is linked then the results will be included in the League tables - and, as I said, they could be in wrong format.

It is also to do with this recent guidance:

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/per ... idance.pdf


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