Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

14-19 MFL requirements

ASCL has raised concerns about the government's new measures, launched in December, to strengthen modern foreign language (MFL) teaching.

Schools minister Jacqui Smith announced that she will write to every secondary school in England setting out that from September 2006 they will be required to:

  • set a benchmark for the number of pupils studying languages, ranging from 50 per cent up to 90 per cent

  • demonstrate to Ofsted that they are delivering on MFL teaching through the self-evaluation form

  • advise parents about progress in teaching languages through the school profile

While ASCL is very much in favour of the government supporting foreign languages as a core part of students' learning, we are wary of the new 'requirements'.

In particular, John Dunford has written to the DfES stating: "We have a problem with adding an obligation to the school profile. When the annual report to parents was invented, it was fairly straightforward. However, various topics and questions were gradually added and it became unwieldy."

"ASCL is quite clear that this must not happen to the school profile. We have already written to you to express concern that the school profile is being added to even before it has seen the light of day."

"The same principles apply to the SEF, which is already a huge administrative burden, when it should be a summary of the school's existing self-evaluation."

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