The British Academy welcomes the news that the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has written to exam boards guaranteeing 'the future of 'lesser taught language' qualifications and committed to an immediate consultation if exam officials press ahead with plans to drop languages including Polish, Turkish, Gujarati, Bengali and Panjabi'.
Professor Nigel Vincent, Fellow and language lead for the British Academy said: "Our rich multicultural society is itself a soft power asset for the UK. There is a wealth of untapped linguistic resource amongst the school age population in the UK. This needs to be mobilised, supported and given recognition through accreditation. The Academy has called for strategic oversight by Government and relevant funders regarding HE language provision, where similar issues around take-up of languages exist. It is clear that similar action needs to be taken earlier on. While Universities have an influential role in shaping choices of school students, A Levels and GCSEs occur at a pivotal point in our education system."
In March the British Academy shared concerns on the planned withdrawal of GCSE and A Level exams in lesser taught languages.
Applications for the British Academy Schools Language Awards 2015 have now opened. We are inviting applications from schools, colleges and other education providers, including supplementary schools, from anywhere in the UK that encourage excellence in language learning. A total of 14 awards of £4,000 will be made to winners around the UK, plus an extra £2,000 for two national winners.