Our plans for our FCSE qualifications

Published: Wednesday 17 Jan 2024

Our Foundation Certificate of Secondary Education (FCSE) Chinese (Mandarin 8973), French (8958), German (8968) and Spanish (8998) qualifications will be coming to an end. The last cohort for first teaching will be in September 2024. The final certification for both the short course and the full course will be in summer 2026. There will be no re-sit opportunity.

We appreciate that this may come as a disappointment and wanted to explain the reasons behind this difficult decision, which was very carefully considered.

Our aim is to make sure that we offer qualifications that meet the current and future needs of most learners, and teachers. As an education charity, we also have to make sure we use our resources effectively, so we regularly review our qualifications to make sure we’re meeting those aims.

We introduced the FCSE for first assessment in 2008 and it was initially quite popular with teachers and learners. However, after 2014, it was no longer included in KS4 performance tables. By this time, the FCSE was already in decline, but this decision saw the entries drop even more and continue to do so over the following years.

Such low and declining entries suggest we’re not meeting the needs of most learners and teachers. It also makes it more challenging for us to support this qualification, as the additional resource needed is disproportionate to the number of students who take it. So, while we do our best to respond to these needs by offering a broad range of qualifications, this also means not continuing with others.

We will of course continue to provide schools and colleges with the support they need to complete this qualification while it is still available.

Schools and colleges might like to consider our Unit Award Scheme (UAS) as an alternative for their learners. Although not accredited by Ofqual, the UAS is a unique way to record learner achievement, allowing all students to engage with learning and build up a portfolio of certificates to evidence their skills, knowledge and experience. The scheme boosts confidence, increases engagement and improves motivation, helping students to make progress on their lifelong learning journey. We're busy building UAS units for French, German, Spanish and Chinese (Mandarin) that will be similar to our FCSEs.

If you have any questions, would like further support or to talk about alternative qualifications, please contact us and our teams will be happy to help.

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