AQA has taken a unilateral decision to scrap the A-level in Polish from 2018. Are you going to lobby the AQA to reverse their decision? If yes, are there any other actions which you would undertake in order to preserve the Polish A-level?
I know there are concerns about the decision by the AQA exam board to discontinue A-Level Polish from 2018. Indeed, over 16,000 people have signed a petition concerning this. I believe that foreign languages are an important part of our education system, and that they can give people the necessary skills and opportunity to meet the challenges of a multilingual society and global economy. It is of course important to consider levels of demand among students and the availability of examiners and teachers when deciding which courses should be offered. I am aware, though, that the Government has expressed concern over the potential withdrawal of a number of foreign language qualifications, and is now considering what steps to take next. I will follow this issue closely and scrutinise any proposals the Government come forward with on this matter.
Poland was the most loyal ally of Britain in the Second World War and the Polish army contributed to the defeat of Nazi Germany. Would you therefore challenge some of the British media falsely labelling the German concentration and death camps as being “Polish” e.g. Polish ghetto, death camps of Poland, or, Poland’s Auschwitz?
I agree it is important that we do not forget the sacrifices and suffering of the Polish people during the Second World War and their important contribution to the defeat of Nazism. Poland endured a brutal occupation which saw millions of innocent Polish citizens murdered or imprisoned and it would be quite wrong for this to be forgotten by history or the media. Sensitivities around the use of language should be part of this. Similarly, the contribution of Poland’s armed forces should be recognised and remembered – including fighting alongside British forces at D-Day and during the Battle of Britain.
Do you support promoting information about the positive contribution of Polish immigrants to the economy of the UK?
I am proud of our diversity as a country and I appreciate the valuable contribution that the Polish community make to Britain, both economically and socially. I also recognise, however, that there are a number of concerns that some British Poles have raised, and I believe it is important these are appreciated and addressed.
In the event of Brexit, would you support granting an unconditional Indefinite Leave To Remain to the EU citizens who have lived and worked in Britain under the freedom of movement rules?
As you are aware, the Government is currently legislating for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. I believe that Britain should remain a member of a reformed EU and build strong relationships with our European neighbours as this partnership helps create jobs, secure growth, encourage investment and ensure our security and influence in the world. The Referendum will happen by the end of 2017 and it will be important for the Prime Minister to clarify a number of important points about our relationship with the EU prior to that vote, including the potential implications for those who have moved to Britain under freedom of movement rules. Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views.
Would you consider joining the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Poland and finding out about its activities and initiatives?
I will of course continue to follow these issue closely and the work of the APPG on Poland.
Questions were sent out after the elections.