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Community Languages

Volume 615: debated on Monday 10 October 2016

11. What progress she has made on maintaining the availability of GCSE and A-level qualifications in community languages. (906526)

After several months of negotiations, we have secured the exam boards’ commitment to continue to provide all but one of the existing language qualifications at GCSE and A-level. I place on record my thanks to Rod Bristow of Pearson and Andrew Hall of AQA for their help and support in securing a long-term future for those important qualifications. It is right that we have a range of language qualifications available, reflecting the diversity and dynamism of today’s Britain.

I congratulate my hon. Friend on his answer and on the negotiations that have taken place.

Every year, thousands of young people from the age of five onwards begin learning Gujarati, Urdu or Punjabi, expecting it to lead to a long-term qualification. What steps can my hon. Friend take to make sure that those qualifications are secure not just for an interim period but in the long term, and that the teaching staff are available to provide that education?

I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for his work in helping to secure those qualifications, particularly in Gujarati, working with the Consortium of Gujarati Schools. I am pleased that we have secured the continuation of qualifications in community languages. There will be no gap in provision—the existing qualifications will continue to be offered until 2018, when the new qualifications are introduced. We continue to support the recruitment of high-quality language teachers, including by offering bursaries of up to £25,000. There are also many successful and long-standing Saturday schools, which help to ensure that culture and languages continue to be taught.