Some bits of news - and a request for action.
1) Petition now at 3279 (the sixth largest education petition) and includes notables such as Tom Stoppard and much of the House of Lords.
2) A meeting will be held (at some point) between the Minister, Jim Knight, Michael Fallon and other MPs and QCA; no date as yet.
3) (As I heard through the Sunday Express) there is likely to be a demonstration outside parliament on this issue, perhaps followed by meeting inside. I gather a likely date might be 5-7pm on 14th May, but this is not yet fixed, so do not turn up without further warning.
4) Conflicting rumours emerge from inside QCA (some suggesting that OCR can do what they want; others that there is serious displeasure...); meanwhile, there is likely to be further media coverage, most immediately in Telegraph, and TES this Friday.
Now for the request. This would be a good moment for schools, departments or individuals to express their concerns/outrage to QCA. (Remember that they are the people who we want to come in to reverse teh decision, so we need to tease them into the right-minded position, not attack *them*.) Things to stress are:
1) the complete lack of consultation on the most crucial aspect of the specifications (the discontinuation of a long-established A level) - if this is consultation, offered when it is all but too late to reverse the decision, that is worthless.
2) the lack of any rationale for the decision. The loss of AH is no necessary consequence of OCR's 'integrated suite of A levels'. They have denied that it is financially motivated, and there are plenty of A levels with far fewer entrants. So why AH?!
3) OCR's misrepresentation of their specifications as integrating AH within CC when in fact in terms both of content and skills they do not begin to satisfy QCA's subject criteria
4) QCA's statutory duty to protect minority subjects. You might like to remind them of the statement of the then minister for schools Stephen Twigg at the time of AQA's withdrawal of Greek and Latin, that QCA *would have intervened* had AQA been the only board offering the subjects.
5) that not only will thousands of pupils be deprived of the opportunity to study Athenian democracy, Augustus etc., but that this will disproportionately affect the FE sector from which half of the A level's entrants come, and all the growth
6) that in other areas also, their cutting of language requirement, their removal of essay components in Latin and Greek, their proposals give grave grounds for concern, not only for the future of classics in schools but also for OCR's competence in general.
In summary, if they do not intervene in this case, when will they ever? what are they for?
A letter would need to arrive before c. 15th May at the latest (decision due by 18th). Where to send it to? Either to their Customer relations email (info AT qca.org.uk) or preferably in paper to either Ken Boston (chief executive) or Chris Maynard (Classics person) at: QCA, 83 Piccadilly, London W1J 8QA. You could copy it to OCR as well but I am not sure that their online consultation is a serious process.