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The Polish Heritage Society

Polish A Level being threatened


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Greg Hands M.P.
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA

03 April 2015

Dear Greg,

Being a member of your constituency, I am also a Member of  your local Conservative Party as well as a Patron of the Conservative Party (you always send me a beautiful Xmas card to my home address in Fulham).

Since you are also the Parliamentary Chairman of the Conservative Friends of Poland, I am writing to you due to the fact that the Examination Board AQA has recently decided to abandon running A Level exams in Polish.

Apart from the fact that Labour has apparently just promised to reverse this decision, the reasons why the exams should be retained are listed on the attachment – please see details attached below..

I would therefore be most grateful if you would kindly agree to approach AQA (Andrew Hall, Chief Executive) and convince them they should not cancel Polish A Level.

Many thanks.
Best Regards,

Christopher Marek Rencki FRAI
Director, Polish Heritage Society (UK) Ltd


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The Reasons why the Polish A Level exams should be retained are as follows :

( 1 ) Polish is now the second most common language in the UK.

( 2 ) Poland is the UK’s ninth largest export market, the sixth biggest country in the EU population and eighth biggest by GDP, and so is of considerable importance to businessmen as well as of interest to academics.

( 3 ) The number of students completing Polish A Levels is now around 1,000 a year, a rapidly growing figure, and more than a number of students of some other languages whose A Level examinations are not under threat.

( 4 ) Polish is mostly taught by Polish Saturday Schools organized by and paid for the Polish community at no cost to the UK budget.

( 5 ) Many of the Polish schools hire premises from British schools on Saturdays, bringing a small contribution to the UK budget. Parents of students doing Polish A Level exams pay additional examination supervision to their British schools.

( 6 ) If the misunderstanding arises because few students study Polish for A Level within British schools, then the answer is that very few British schools choose to teach it for the reason explained in ( 5 ) above.

( 7 ) The only cost to the UK budget is the organization and marking of Polish A Level exams by the AQA.

( 8 ) The cost of running these exams is negligible compared to the taxes paid by hundreds of thousands of recent immigration workers.  

( 9 ) The exiles left in Britain after the Second World War were largely servicemen and their families, servicemen who had made an enormous contribution to the British war effort in fields such as intelligence (Enigma and agents in Germany), the sinking of the Bismarck, the Battle of Britain, North Africa, Italy and after D-Day.

Help in ensuring a broad education for their descendants would be appreciated, is perhaps even their due.

( 10 ) Since the students learn Polish on Saturdays, this leaves them free to integrate with Britain and learn excellent English at British schools during the week , where they generally have the reputation of being well motivated and hard working.

( 11 ) Learning Polish gives students the ability to return to and work in Poland if they so choose.

( 12 ) There are many British people who are not of Polish origin who are also interested in learning Polish. The native British population needs some fluent Polish speakers for academic, diplomatic, intelligence and business purposes.

( 13 ) The Polish community is absolutely determined to continue providing a Polish education to its children.

If the UK abandons the provision of A Level exams in Polish, this will simply drive the community to uses other examination systems, possibly confusing the student’s CVs and so unfairly damaging the student’s further careers in the UK, but certainly damaging the reputation of the British education system and of A Levels in particular.