With the introduction of new GCSE and A level specifications for languages from 2016, exam boards have announced their intention not to redevelop qualifications in a range of small-entry languages, including Modern Hebrew A-Level. AQA informed schools of their decision to withdraw this qualification at the start of 2015. Other small-entry languages, including Biblical Hebrew, present ‘significant awarding and resourcing challenges,’ according to one of the awarding bodies, and are currently under discussion.
In 2012, PaJeS campaigned together with the Board of Deputies and Jewish primary schools to successfully change the government’s proposal to have a prescribed list of seven languages to be taught in primary schools. This enabled primary schools to continue teaching Modern Hebrew as their main foreign language.
Crucial to this success was the effort made by Jewish primary schools to add their voice to the campaign.
In order to ensure success, we have come up with seven ways in which you too can help:
1. Volunteer: We are looking for volunteers from schools to advocate for Modern and Biblical Hebrew A Levels to be retained, working closely with the Board of Deputies and PaJeS. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
2. Give feedback: We are looking to collate written feedback on how dropping Modern and Biblical Hebrew A Levels would impact young people in our community. Please could all secondary schools email their feedback to email@example.com. It is vital that we represent the students’ voices and this feedback will give weight to the negotiation.
3. Apply to be an examiner: The exam boards have expressed concern about a shortage of Hebrew examiners and are looking for new professionals to put themselves forward. If you are interested please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Write to and/or tweet your MP using #languagepolicyUK
5. Write to local and national press
6. Sign a petition: The petition to stop exam boards removing lesser modern languages from GCSE and A Levels can be found here: http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/save-lesser-modern-languages
7. Keep informed: Read about the call to action on the Speak to the Future website: http://www.speaktothefuture.org/withdrawal-of-gcse-and-a-level-exams-in-small-entry-languages/