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School not offering GCSE French, not enough numbers

(21 Posts)
aideesmum Thu 19-Jul-18 11:00:05

Please can anyone advise how my son can study GCSE French when the school are not offering it for his year? He got his options confirmed and French didn't have enough students wanting to study it so they are not doing it! He is doing German instead (doesn't really want to but the other options are worse) but still wants to do French as he has studied it through Primary school and in yr 7 & 8. Thanks.

OP’s posts: |
clary Thu 19-Jul-18 15:53:52

As an MFL teacher this makes me sad (tho I am glad they are still doing German!). The new GCSE is not easy, if he wants to do it I suggest you source a tutor, preferably a teacher who has taught the new spec. Where are you op?

Walkingdeadfangirl Thu 19-Jul-18 16:49:08

He might want to do French now but do you really think he will want to be doing an additional external GCSE in Y11 when he will have the stress and pressure of all the new harder school GSCE exams to do.

Is there even going to be any tutors who are familiar with the new spec? Might be better to learn French for fun rather than for an exam.

tomhazard Thu 19-Jul-18 17:43:12

That's awful. I've no advice really but that's a real shame. Do they run any arts subjects?

admission Thu 19-Jul-18 17:54:32

This is one of the consequences of current funding restraints, where the class is to small the school has to make the difficult decision whether to drop the subject or run with a course that you know is going to be a drain on financial resources.

calabresechicken Thu 19-Jul-18 17:56:19

I would personally be moving schools over this.

Frazzled2207 Thu 19-Jul-18 18:00:20

No advice but as a MFL grad this makes me very sad. I'd consider moving schools over this if he is very keen on it.
Nothing wrong with German but a real shame if he's been learning French for years

Xenia Thu 19-Jul-18 18:07:28

Probably best just to do German in that case as doing an extra GCSE out of school could be a lot of extra work or could he do a night class in it for adults out of school or go to lessons in a local private school by arrangement or with a different state secondary that does do French?. One of my children did German instead of French and it was fine. I did both and then German A level. (This was all in private schools however)

BrownTurkey Thu 19-Jul-18 18:22:59

I was looking into dd doing one through online learning - however I have decided against i think as I don’t want her to be overloaded. Lots of companies do them but some aimed only at adults.

cantkeepawayforever Thu 19-Jul-18 18:24:44

Local comprehensive does 3 languages in school (pupils can take up to 2 for GCSE) and a few more as after school 'clubs' which still lead to a GCSE (though obviously those who do these extra clubs tend to be the most competent linguists, as the hours of study are less than for those studied during curriculum time). Would an after school 'GCSE club', either at this school or another local one, be a possibility?

gillybeanz Thu 19-Jul-18 18:32:50

Similar happened with my dd she was doing 3 languages, two at school and one externally.
Now she is just taking German (compulsory) and will continue french and Italian for fun with the free online apps. This was advised by school as the workload was too great for the new spec.
If they don't intend to take the exam, they can still follow the new syllabus with less stress about sitting the exam.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Thu 19-Jul-18 18:51:41

Can'tkeep - it was probably possible with the old language GCSEs to do an extra GCSE as an after school club, but the new language GCSEs are a lot tougher. DS's school have the boys sit an extra language GCSE as a one year course in Y11 as a challenge and most get A*s every year including DS, but he doesn't actually know the language.

I think it's very sad for your DS OP because french will be so useful in the post-Brexit years. I would encourage him to keep the language up doing external courses/apps etc as suggested. I have also sent mine on immersion courses and summer camps in France which made huge improvements in their spoken french and communication skills, but not in their homework.

cantkeepawayforever Thu 19-Jul-18 19:25:03


I appreciate that - have 1 who did 2 languages under old spec and 1 who is doing the same 2 under the old spec.

This will be the first year for the new spec language GCSEs (most - some minority languages, into which group fall 2 of the languages offered, don't convert till next year). According to the current clubs timetable, the lanaguage clubs are still running, working towards GCSE on the usual 2-year rolling programme.

Frazzled2207 Thu 19-Jul-18 20:02:44

Good idea to speak to the teacher to see if she/he had an idea of what to do. Presumably there will be a handful of disappointed kids and he/she will suddenly have some extra time available.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Thu 19-Jul-18 20:05:42

cant - it will be interesting to see once they convert if they can keep on going. I expect DS's school to axe the challenge language because I don't see how they can keep getting top grades with the new format in a year and it will affect their results. It was a bit pointless anyway, it's an extra GCSE but he doesn't know the language at all.

SassitudeandSparkle Thu 19-Jul-18 20:14:48

The school my DD is going to (Year 7 September) has dropped French for her intake so she'll never be able to do it! I was not happy, she's done it at Juniors and really wanted to keep it up. Very short notice, too.

clary Thu 19-Jul-18 20:34:03

There will be tutors who know the new spec, but they'll have to have taught it this year and last. I'd happily tutor French or German in the new spec, I taught it until I left teaching in December. I guess it wouldn't be easy to find someone in that position (ie I have time due to doing a regular job now!) but plenty of teachers do tutor on the side.

CraftyGin Thu 19-Jul-18 21:21:32

That is really shocking.

TeenTimesTwo Thu 19-Jul-18 21:46:27

Sass Quite possible a teacher resigned and they can't recruit a replacement. MFLs often seem to be offered based on who the school can get. (From reading threads here).

aideesmum Fri 20-Jul-18 09:20:38

Thanks everyone for your opinions smile

He does not want to move schools.

A lot of MFL teachers have left in the last year so this hasn't helped. I still don't believe that out of the 4 French classes in yr8 that not enough wanted to continue into yr9 but the school are not budging.

The school have said it is possible in Year 11 to do fast track French as one of the subjects (Engineering) that he starts in year 9 is a 2 year course so would have more school time to do this, they have done this before, but no guarantee that by the time he is in year 11 that this would be available. We would also have to see how pressured he is before adding more to the workload! He's already predicted the new 9 grade GCSE in most subjects so they are expecting a lot from him already.

He wants to continue learning French so will get some books and there's plenty of online resources so if he does ever get time he can keep learning French for fun.

OP’s posts: |
AChickenCalledKorma Fri 20-Jul-18 12:28:00

We've had the same issue at DD1's school. German was the main language most of them studied up to year 9 and the top set also did French. Then only two wanted to continue French at GCSE and it wasn't viable. They have a desperate shortage of MFL teachers.

In our case, arrangements were made for the one girl who was particularly desperate to do both languages to travel to another school in the same MAT and do the French as a twilight course. It is about 15 minutes travel and she's stuck at it and has now sat her GCSE. She's a very able student and they did bend over backwards to accommodate her, but I'm sure it wasn't ideal. She's now moving elsewhere for sixth form, because the lack of demand for MFL A-levels is even worse.

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