As we approach the Guided Choices process, I wanted to clarify with you the position of Modern Languages in our curriculum and to underline their importance to the EBacc.
At Sidmouth Community College we offer a broad and balanced curriculum that offers students considerable choice. Alongside the core suite of GCSE subjects, a Modern Foreign Language is currently an option at GCSE for all pupils who have studied one at Key Stage Three.
You may also be aware that together with the core subjects certain option subjects make up what is known as the English Baccalaureate (or EBacc). Key to the Ebacc pathway is the study of a Modern Language; it is a compulsory part of the EBacc.
The EBACC is not a qualification in its own right; it is a combination of GCSE subjects, including a language, that offer an important range of knowledge and skills to young people. In short, EBacc future proofs your child’s prospects. While your child may not have decided on his or her future career path yet, choosing the EBacc at GCSE gives him or her access to a full range of employment options on leaving secondary school and the broad knowledge that employers are looking for.
If your child is thinking of going to university, the EBacc is also recommended by Britain’s most prestigious universities. Research by The Centre for Longitudinal Studies in August 2017 found that students studying EBacc subjects for GCSE, were more likely to stay in education after 16. The Russell Group, a group of 24 universities with a shared focus on research and a reputation for academic achievement, has named a foreign language as the subject that opens doors to more degrees at universities.
Studying a foreign language can be extremely rewarding and exciting. They provide an insight into other cultures and can open the door to travel and employment opportunities. They can also broaden pupils’ horizons, helping them flourish in new environments. As you will see on our website www.frenchatsidmouth.com, ours is a department whose results have improved significantly year on year. This is an exciting time for languages, and we are investing heavily in technology to support students’ learning and progress. We are also in the planning stages of a watersports trip in southwestern France.
Students who achieve a strong grade in French or German will have the competitive edge over their peers nationally. Indeed, some universities are now specifying a GCSE pass in a foreign language in their entry requirements, regardless of subjects studied or grades achieved at A Level.
I will of course be available at the Guided Choices evening and look forward to discussing with you any questions you might have on the above.
Mr D J O’Neill
Head of Modern Foreign Languages
Linguist and Columbia professor John McWhorter shares four alluring benefits of learning a foreign language.