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A new look for Turkish GCSEs and A level exams

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Students in an exam

One minute they were being scrapped entirely; now Turkish GCSEs and A levels are being comprehensively changed

Teachers will notice substantial differences to Turkish A level and GCSE teaching requirements when a new curriculum is introduced next year.

The secondary school exam system is being overhauled as it switches providers in 2018. The new exam body, Pearson, told Haber newspaper the new qualifications would not just teach students the language but offer them a critical understanding of Turkish culture.

“Pearson is committed to securing the future of A level and GCSE Turkish from 2018,” a spokeswoman for the education company told Haber newspaper this week.

‘We are working with the Department for Education on a new set of content requirements to allow us to feel confident in the quality and credibility of the qualifications, and are partnering with stakeholders in the Turkish language teaching community to ensure that the content of the courses is engaging and rigorous, equipping students with the relevant knowledge and skills.”

More about culture

The Turkish Language Consortium, which represents Turkish-speaking weekend schools that operate across London, is understood to be involved in the work to prepare the new qualifications.

The new GCSE will cover such topics as identity, travel and future aspirations, while the new A level will teach students about Turkish culture in greater depth.

It will mean the first new Turkish A level exam will be offered in summer 2020, mostly sat by 18-year-olds born between September 2001 and August 2002.

Also in 2020, 16-year-olds – born in 2003/04 – will sit the first Turkish GCSE exams.

Risk of cancellation

It is a remarkable turnaround for the qualifications which was under threat of cancellation just two years ago.

In 2015 the OCR examination board announced Turkish would be scrapped entirely as an A level and GCSE subject because of low demand and the difficulty in finding examiners.

The announcement became a political issue, coming just weeks before the May 2015 general election, with both the Conservatives and Labour pledging they would guarantee the qualification’s future in English secondary schools if they won.

Turkish was not the only language affected, with subjects like Polish, Gujarati, Panjabi and Bengali also facing the axe.

In an announcement last year, Pearson said subjects with small entry numbers like Turkish helped individuals make progress in their lives and had “the potential to foster inclusion and diversity, helping to make society more cohesive.

It continued: “All parties – the government, the regulator and the exam boards – should work together in the interests of students, but also the communities in which we all live.”

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