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MFL not compulsory at KS4

(35 Posts)
redskybynight Fri 11-Sep-15 11:10:07

DS's school has stated that, despite the rise of the EBacc, it will not be making the taking of a MFL at GCSE compulsory, although it will guarantee that every child that wishes to is able to study one.

So ... I was wondering - how will children not taking a MFL GCSE

- affect individual children
- affect the school
?

Just seems an odd stance for them to take!

patterkiller Fri 11-Sep-15 11:18:33

Probably done to stop their a-c average being effected by those who just don't get languages but are forced to study them.

My eldest has the EBaac my youngest won't as it's not compulsory. I'm sure she won't take to crime as a profession and lead a long and happy life. Meh.

TeenAndTween Fri 11-Sep-15 11:54:06

I think that is a very sensible stance.

If you have children performing at a low level in English, difficulty writing with correct grammar and spelling etc, it is possible they will not gain much by attempting an MFL.

So kids who wouldn't pass an MFL benefit by the stance, instead they can do a GCSE or BTEC they can achieve in.

The school's Ebacc figures will be lower which will look less good for people who don't look beyond figures.
But the school's 'Progress 8' figures may benefit (I don't think they require an MFL do they?).

(I'm speaking as the parent of a DD who did 2 MFLs, but dropped History after mocks so didn't end up with the Ebacc anyway).

The downside is those kids who could achieve an MFL but 'can't see the point' or don't want to put the effort in because they are perceived to be harder. So that will be up to the parents & teachers to be persuasive.

merlottime Fri 11-Sep-15 12:42:35

My DS is severely dyslexic. His school does not make him do a MFL. Instead he has extra English as this is his best chance of scraping the all important C grade; he would probably fail English and the MFL if the this hook didn't adopt this sensible approach. One size doesn't fit all.

merlottime Fri 11-Sep-15 12:42:49

School, not hook.

Ta1kinPeace Fri 11-Sep-15 13:36:01

It will be effectively compulsory for all children deemed capable of passing it
but very sensibly left out for those kids who have to put all their energies into English, Maths and Science core

noblegiraffe Fri 11-Sep-15 14:45:15

Ofsted have said that schools who don't make all children (from current y7 on) study ebacc subjects to GCSE will not be able to achieve the highest ratings in their inspections.

So the school might fail Ofsted.

TeenAndTween Fri 11-Sep-15 14:50:19

noble that is depressing. sad

So instead of being allowed to drop history (which she was going to fail despite best efforts), DD would have had to keep it on. So she would have failed English Language too, and dropped at least 1 grade in both her sciences. That would have really been to her benefit.

ifonly4 Fri 11-Sep-15 14:55:58

They all have to study one/two languages up in KS3 at my DD's school, but when they take their options a language is not compulsory - they had to choose two out of three languages offered, geography and history.

noblegiraffe Fri 11-Sep-15 14:57:22

Sorry, it wasn't Ofsted who decided that, it was the current Tory government.

I think exceptions will be made in the case of students with learning difficulties, but I expect these would need to be justified.

redskybynight Fri 11-Sep-15 15:57:10

Yes, the school did say on their info sheet that failing to ensure all children took MFL would mean that they would likely not get the highest Ofsted rating. I presume this means that the school doesn't care. Which I think is good (don't want an Ofsted obsessed school!)

moosemama Sat 12-Sep-15 12:00:16

Ds1 is at an independent school and has just gone into Y9.

We've just been told he doesn't have to take an MFL at GCSE. He has SEN and has missed all the lessons in one MFL subject completely so far, due to out of class support in another area. He has also struggled with the MFL he has studied, so it would make no logical sense at all to try and force him through a GCSE which he would hate, struggle with and inevitably fail.

He also has very clear ideas about what career he wants and MFL isn't necessary for that. I would rather he took fewer, more relevant subjects that he can get good grades in and will help him get the job he really wants to do, than spend the next couple of years feeling like a failure, only to have it confirmed when he fails his GCSE.

To be honest I am finding the whole Y9 options thing a bit mind boggling. When I was at school (O Levels, because I am ancient) you just chose what you were best at and enjoyed studying, providing they were from different study blocks, then you took an exam for every subject you were taking - simple. I don't even remember my parents being involved with the process very much.

Now we have to look at potential careers, calculate points, work out which will help towards the right A Levels and ultimately University place etc. Then, when you start looking into it, the subjects you think might help towards a particular career aren't necessarily the ones that colleges/universities want them to have. (Computer Studies/Info Tech to do Computer Science being a prime example.)

I need to get my head around it all before the school starts raising it, because ds1 will be lost without a lot of guidance and support.

roguedad Sat 12-Sep-15 15:14:24

I could not give a damn about the ebacc - all it represents is Michael Gove's twisted views as to what constitutes real subjects. My hat will go off to any school that ignores this rubbish. My son's school does iGCSEs which are not on the moron Gove's league tables either. So I think I am with you red sky...!

YeOldeTrout Sat 12-Sep-15 15:57:29

Um, so there will be only 2 new Ofsted grades: pass or fail?

noblegiraffe Sat 12-Sep-15 16:04:51

No. But it was said that schools that didn't force the ebacc would be unable to access the highest ratings, not highest rating.

BertrandRussell Sat 12-Sep-15 16:28:59

Good lord- English, maths, science, a MFL and a humanity- "twisted views about proper subjects"? Frankly, it's one of the few sensible things he's ever said!

TeenAndTween Sat 12-Sep-15 16:39:48

Bertrand Yes and No.

Yes, it is a good well rounded mix.

But if a child isn't going to be able to achieve at the MFL or the Humanity, either through lack of interest or lack of ability, then why waste their (and their teacher's) time forcing them to do it, rather than letting them do something they can achieve in?

As it turned out, despite her interest in the subject, my DD struggled massively with History. Often 'source questions' involved looking at and interpreting details from a picture. For some reason her dyspraxic brain finds that more or less impossible. So how would it have helped her to continue with History just for the sake of entering the ebacc?

So maybe schools should be judged on
a) making ebacc available to anyone who wants to do it
b) (possibly) a target % for those achieving it

noblegiraffe Sat 12-Sep-15 16:43:57

Teen why wouldn't that argument extend to kids who are not going to achieve in maths, English or science?

Bunbaker Sat 12-Sep-15 16:50:48

At DD's school they have to take Citizenship GCSE along with the core subjects. An MFL is not compulsory.

I would far rather DD had taken French than Citizenship as it is a subject she is running at a D in. If she had taken French I could have supported her more. Unfortunately the French teachers at her school aren't very good.

TeenAndTween Sat 12-Sep-15 17:00:36

Ah indeed, maybe it should!

Maths - everyone needs to be highly encouraged to reach a standard of maths to enable them to live functional everyday lives.
So to me that is something like
- percentages
- measures
- fractions
- graph reading
- basics of probability
- currency conversion
(I don't know whether that equates to c grade at GCSE or something lower)

English - English Language GCSE was very hard for my literate, articulate DD. She has no problem with English, except for detailed analysis or language points, or arguing a topic off the top of her head. So again to me I'm not convinced it is a basic baseline educational test. And you do need some kind a award to show employers you are competent in our language.

Science GCSE. To me, core science GCSE was a good coverage of science for every day life, so that seems about right. Additional science gives extra insight, so I would encourage but not mandate for all.

So yes I agree that the Ebacc covers a good range and I have and will encourage my DDs to do those subjects if they are capable. However, linking Ofsted to enforcing that all pupils do all Ebacc to GCSE seems to me to be wrong, and not putting the needs of individual pupils first.

clary Sat 12-Sep-15 18:17:10

I don't personally know of any school that makes MFL GCSE compulsory.

I know of some that say all of set 1 have to do it. Also some (lots) that say students must choose one of Hist/Geog/MFL/Computing (that's to do with Progress 8 not Ebacc).

I don't think MFL GCSE is for everyone. My DS1 (not very academically able!) took Spanish and despite my support (I teach MFL) and him initially wanting to do the subject, it was his worst GCSE grade (admittedly there were other reasons, but overall MFL was probably not for him!). I taught bottom set in year 9 last year and there are certainly some studens there for whom MFL GCSE would not have been a good idea. Luckily they agreed smile

roguedad Sat 12-Sep-15 19:05:44

BertrandRussell - Not everyone can manage a Language, and there are many bright kids that would quite reasonably prefer music or art to history or geography, or to load up with computer science, additional maths, electronics, astronomy..... I'm actually a fan of proper subjects, rather than hobbies disguised as subjects, or trendy rubbish, but to be so narrow in his list of acceptable subjects was a huge mistake. Pupils' individual needs must come before the inanely narrow views of M. Gove.

IguanaTail Sat 12-Sep-15 19:10:06

Clary - I think you might soon know of quite a few who are making it compulsory.

BertrandRussell Sat 12-Sep-15 19:12:41

The Ebacc is only 5 subjects. Plent of space for other subjects.

And, SEN apart, I just front get this "can't do languages" thing. How come people in other countries can do languages? We have this knee jerk "anti language everyone should speak Enflish" attitude- it's not going to help much in the global market, is it? It just encourages insularity.

roguedad Sat 12-Sep-15 19:19:01

I did neither history nor geography to O level. So would not qualify for Ebacc. Somehow my Cambridge triple First makes up for my non-compliance with Gove's utter rubbish and only serve to prove its utter irrelevance to later progress.

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