Doing a MFL language A level privately?

(46 Posts)
Katisha Sat 13-Feb-16 19:42:41

DS's school seem to be on the verge of abandoning MFL A levels, at least this year, because of small numbers. He is very keen to do German though and we'd rather not move schools for sixth form.

So how advisable would it be to try and get a tutor and do it privately? And would it need two years? He'd be doing three other A levels in school.

Katisha Sat 13-Feb-16 19:43:26

And apologies for tautology in the thread title, d'oh!

BoboChic Sun 14-Feb-16 06:18:58

Where do you live? Do you have a Goethe Instutute (German cultural centre) at hand? Your son could do German classes there.

LarkDescending Sun 14-Feb-16 10:49:08

It's definitely doable. I successfully did my fourth A-level (also a MFL) off-timetable and spent a great deal less than 2 years on it (started the syllabus in the January immediately before the A-level exams in the summer, so about 6 months). Mind you I am ancient and that was the mid-1980s, but I don't think MFL A-levels have got harder since then.

One possibility which may be worth exploring, unless the school is getting rid of its German teacher(s) altogether, is whether your son could take German off-timetable at the school, but as a club/extra-curricular? Are there others who might be interested, so that a few of you could suggest it together?

Needmoresleep Sun 14-Feb-16 11:53:53

Also look at the Goethe summer camps in Germany. Three weeks of study in the morning and activities in the afternoon. Extrememly well run and both DC really enjoyed them and made friends from all over the world.

Oscha Sun 14-Feb-16 12:03:15

If he does it one-to-one with a tutor it definitely won't take two years. There will be slightly complicated arrangements for coursework and exam entries, but it's absolutely doable.

catslife Sun 14-Feb-16 13:02:45

MFL subjects are becoming linear qualifications and there will be no coursework so 100% exams. That may make it easier to take the subject as a private candidate, but doing it in less than 2 years won't be possible as the first A level linear exams won't be available until Summer 2018

Katisha Sun 14-Feb-16 14:49:43

Thanks everyone. I've had a look at the Goethe institute but they seem to run their own qualifications rather than standard A level. Looks like he could maybe spend a year doing it on his own then with a tutor - unfortunately I don't think the school is open to running a club.

Katisha Sun 14-Feb-16 14:50:41

Oh hang on, good point catslife. Hmmm

BoboChic Sun 14-Feb-16 14:51:34

Far preferable to do the Goethe Institute qualifications - they are valid internationally, not just in England.

LarkDescending Sun 14-Feb-16 15:08:22

The Goethe Institute route is a great suggestion - but presumably if he did want to do the A-level then Summer 2018 exams wouldn't be a problem (is that when he will be doing his other A-levels)?

Pradaqueen Sun 14-Feb-16 19:32:22

Try the NEC. My DD is doing a GCSE MFL using their correspondence course backed up by a Skype tutor twice a week. It wa Beauty of the NEC is access to a tutor for guidance and a full syllabus with notes.

Pradaqueen Sun 14-Feb-16 19:34:01

Posted too soon. It was the tutor's idea to do the GCSE but as she is at primary school (y5) only the NEC offered the syllabus and chance to sit the exam which she is doing in May. We're very happy with them. Good luck!

Katisha Sun 14-Feb-16 20:38:20

Thanks although it looks as if the NEC doesn't do German A level.
I suppose if he can do it in a year with a tutor the question is whether to try to do it in 2017 or the new style A level in 2018. Have I got that right?

boredofusername Mon 15-Feb-16 17:59:20

Try Wolsey Hall, they do German KS3, GCSE and A level courses. My son is currently doing the KS3 course as his school isn't offering it.

daphnedill Mon 15-Feb-16 23:31:04

I am a German tutor, including to A level. There is no coursework in the current A level. FWIW it's worth, I would say that German A level needs a minimum of 300 hours of tuition/teaching/independent study. I wouldn't even contemplate it unless your DC has A* at GCSE and a very sound understanding of grammar. To do the A level in a year is going to need about 10 hours of work a week. As far as I know, Wolsey Hall doesn't do any MFL A levels. Depending on how keen your DS is, I think your best option is to change school.

Katisha Tue 16-Feb-16 10:49:30

Yes daphne i am feeling that is only option unfortunately, especially with the change in exam style complicating the time line. I can' t believe the current school isn't trying its hardest to retain mfl A levels but money seems to be the factor, not aspiration or anything else. Really disappointing.

daphnedill Tue 16-Feb-16 14:29:11

Katisha, that's partly why I gave up teaching in schools, which I'd done for almost 30 years. German at A level is in terminal decline, because the minimum numbers to run groups keep on rising. Recent changes to sixth form funding mean that schools just can't afford to run small groups, but this has been going on for years. The destruction of local authorities also means that schools are less likely to collaborate to run joint groups, because they're all in competition with each other for the students who will make them look good in league tables. I guess it depends why your DS wants to learn German. If he's thinking of including it in a uni course, he really needs A level rather than any alternative. Bear in mind that most sixth formers will get four or five lessons a week and you can see how much of a pressure it would be to do an additional subject to those he's doing in school. If he's thinking more long-term (maybe wants to work/study in Germany), there are other pathways. Many universities offer German as a unit for students of any discipline and the Goethe-Institut exams are tough, but will be recognised by German universities and employers. A former student of mine did A level German, but then took a gap year, during which he found himself a job (hotel work) in Germany, which has set him up for doing German at uni and, possibly, looking to live/work in Germany in the future. It will be interesting to see how many employment opportunities there are in the future, because immigration to Germany has meant there's a huge amount of competition from highly-motivated and skilled immigrants. If he doesn't manage to do German A level, he can keep his language skills ticking over by following www.dw.com/de/themen/s-9077 The German government is investing heavily in improving the language skills of foreigners.

BoboChic Tue 16-Feb-16 19:18:09

Universities are quite open to courses other than A-level as a prerequisite for MFL. In fact, A-level is less desirable than most of the alternatives.

daphnedill Tue 16-Feb-16 21:23:31

What's your evidence for that, BoboChic? I've spoken to a number of admissions tutors over the years and they certainly haven't given the impression that A level is 'less desirable'. Although they're certainly open to alternative qualifications from UK students, such as the IB, any worthwhile course is going to take at least 300 hours of study.

titchy Wed 17-Feb-16 08:04:27

That would only apply to native speakers bobo. Everyone else is expected to have the main MFL they want to study at university at A level. A second MFL can of course be taken ab initio.

boredofusername Wed 17-Feb-16 08:35:36

Apologies, I genuinely thought Wolsey Hall did A level MFL. Back to the drawing board then.

I think a uni would consider a Goethe Institut qualification rather than A level, but it would probably be worth checking with admission tutors before making a decision.

IrenetheQuaint Wed 17-Feb-16 08:44:58

What's he planning to study at university? If it's not German-related, then doing the Zertifikat Deutsch (B1) at the Goethe Institut would keep his German going at a decent standard. B2 might be quite ambitious, but perhaps possible if he's really good and committed...?

His three A levels at school would then work for university entrance - I don't know if CEFR levels are officially recognised by universities in any way but any sensible university would be impressed.

BoboChic Wed 17-Feb-16 10:02:01

I can assure you that there are plenty of routes to MFL at top universities with qualifications that are not A-levels and not for native speakers.

titchy Wed 17-Feb-16 10:38:04

Sorry bobo you're right of course. I misread your post as saying A Level or equivalent quals weren't necessary. Of course if an applicant has another qualification that demonstrates their language ability is equivalent (or better) than A Level that is of course perfectly OK.

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