George Eustice, MP for Camborne, Redruth & Hayle, recently met with The Partnership of Cornish Cultural Organisations to discuss plans for re-introducing a GCSE in the Cornish language.
Students taking their GCSEs used to have the option of studying Cornish. However the course was abolished in 1996, due to dwindling numbers of people interested in taking the course. George Eustice now feels the time is right to try and reintroduce Cornish as a GCSE. This is partly due to the emphasis the Department for Education is currently placing on learning a foreign language as part of the English Baccalaureate, but also because he feels that, within Cornwall, there is a renewed interest among young people in learning about their native culture.
There is already a recent precedent for students studying the Cornish Language at the Penryn Campus of the University of Exeter, which gives weight to the notion that it is a serious and demanding academic field and George has already written to the Department for Education, enquiring about the possibility of seeing a GCSE in Cornish reintroduced.
George Eustice says “One of the reasons why there is such a focus on learning a foreign language is that evidence shows it has a powerful effect on wider cognitive ability, which brings wider benefits than just the learning of the language itself. Some students may be uninspired by studying French or Spanish, but might feel a connection to learning their native Cornish, and if given the opportunity, they would also benefit from all the wider cognitive functions that come with learning a second language.”