Pupils to sit examinations in home language

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The Independent Online

Children will be able to sit national curriculum tests in their home language for the first time this year.

Schools will be able to use translators to help pupils struggling with English to take science and maths tests for 11-year-olds. The pupils will be able to answer questions in their home tongue.

It was prompted by complaints from headteachers that their schools were unfairly penalised if they had a large number of ethnic minority children whose first language was not English.

Examinations for older pupils may also be reformed, with the introduction of harder A-levels. The Education Secretary, Ruth Kelly, ordered the introduction of tougher questions as a response to the increasing number of candidates now obtaining A grades. She originally suggested harder questions as an option for brighter pupils - but the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority is investigating whether it would better for the questions to apply to all pupils.

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