§ Mr. Blunkett
To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps she is taking to ensure that examining boards continue to offer minority languages at GCSE level, with particular reference to eastern European languages. 638W
§ Mr. Forth
GCSEs in modern foreign languages for courses starting in September 1996 will be subject to regulations and subject criteria published by the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority in March 1995 and designed to align the GCSE with the requirements of the national curriculum.
The Government have been mindful of the implications of the new GCSE criteria for the availability of syllabuses in the less-commonly studied languages, including those from Eastern Europe. The Secretary of State therefore agreed in principle that special arrangements could be made in certain cases, to give the examining groups scope to continue to offer a suitably wide range of language syllabuses.
The SCAA is discussing with the examining groups the detailed arrangements that could be made for individual languages. The decision on what syllabuses to offer is ultimately one for each examining group. An announcement will be made shortly about the range of languages to be offered at GCSE.