The Guardian is reporting that half of sixth forms in schools and colleges have been forced to drop A-levels in modern languages as a result of “totally inadequate” funding of post-16 education, according to research.
French, Spanish and German have been hardest hit – 57% of sixth form leaders who took part in a survey said German courses had been axed, 38% have dropped Spanish, 35% had ditched French and 15%, Italian.
The poll by the Sixth Form Colleges Association comes as concerns rise about dwindling language skills in schools, but school and college leaders say funding cuts and cost increases in post-16 provision make it impossible to put on courses for small numbers of students.
Highly rated courses in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) are also suffering. More than a third (38%) of those surveyed have dropped Stem courses for the same reasons. Three quarters (78%) have cut student support services or extra-curricular activities and eight out of 10 (81%) institutions have bigger classes.
Bill Watkin, the SFCA chief executive, said: ““If we are to keep key subjects on the timetable, offer a wide range of extra-curricular experiences, and provide the essential support activities that our young people need and deserve, the government must raise the rate to at least £4,760 per student, per year.”
Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, added: “Government funding for 16 to 18 education is set at a level which is totally inadequate. The grim reality is that this policy decision is restricting the options and support available to young people in the state sector and it is impeding efforts to improve social mobility.”
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