Schools may drop ‘minority’ exam subjects, bursars say

David Woodgate of ISBA says schools may decide to drop subjects such as Mandarin and economics to cope with Covid impact

Independent school bursars are warning that some schools may have to stop offering “minority” GCSE and A-level subjects because of the financial impact of Covid, the TES reports.

David Woodgate, chief executive of the Independent Schools’ Bursars Association said that a potential “deep recession” as a result of the pandemic could mean some independent schoosl drop subjects such as Mandarin and economics.

He said: “I think any subject would be looked at under the microscope,

“I think a lot of schools would like to continue Latin or classics…maybe they drop Chinese if there isn’t demand for it or look at other minority subjects.

“It could be things like languages, it could be some variations on history – obviously it’s not core subjects – but, again, it will come down to looking at what pupils are looking for at GCSE and A-level.”

He said schools might also look at combining a subject where there were currently two sets into one, larger class or even relegating subjects to an evening class.

He added: “Obviously, schools have faced financial pressures over the last 18 months like any other business.

“We don’t yet know what the new normal will be like,” he added.

He said that there was uncertainty around the economic climate, with some predicting deep recession while others saying it would be less severe.

He said: “If there’s a deep recession then I think, yes, schools will have to cut their cloth and respond to the whole issue, which might be a change of affordability.”

He added: “I’m not suggesting it’s mainstream modern languages or anything like that where clearly there is still demand, but I think schools are looking very carefully at their offer.”