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Government support for new Turkish exams

Nick Gibb, the education minister, pledged support for Turkish exams in the future

Schools must have high quality qualifications in many languages, not just French, German and Spanish

Education minister Nick Gibb has reiterated the UK government’s support for sustaining Turkish language exams in secondary schools in the future.

In response to a parliamentary question by the Labour MP Stephen Timms, Mr Gibb said every school was required to teach a modern foreign language at Key Stage 4 and that schools could choose which one to teach.

“It is important to have high quality qualifications not just in French, German and Spanish but also in languages such as Polish, Urdu, Arabic, Bengali, Gujarati and Turkish,” he said in the statement.

“The Government and exam boards have secured the future of these languages so pupils can study them as part of a core academic curriculum.

“We are also expanding the teaching of Mandarin Chinese through our Mandarin Excellence Programme.”

Work on new qualifications

Turkish GCSE and A level exams faced cancellation just a few years ago when an exam board decided to drop the subject entirely.

But Pearson, the new provider, told Haber newspaper in February that it was “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”.

It added that it was  “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.