Nanny Knows Best

Nanny Knows Best
Dedicated to exposing, and resisting, the all pervasive nanny state that is corroding the way of life and the freedom of the people of Britain.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Nanny Bans Orals

Nanny Bans OralsOh dear, Nanny seems to have got herself a little worked up over the practice of "orals".

Yes, I mean oral exams in a foreign language!

Nanny is worried that the orals are way too stressful for little "Timmy" and "Jocasta", and as such they might have to be abolished.

I well remember at the tender age of 15 waiting nervously outside the interview room for my French oral (no sniggering please!). I had run through all the possible permutations re Q&A's wrt ordering a meal in a restaurant, and what I did on holiday.

Needless to say the best laid plans of mice and Ken went awry that day, the examiner chose to discuss what I liked to do in my free time.


Suffice to say I made a bold attempt to direct my limited conversational French towards my free time enjoyment of ordering food in restaurants and going on holiday.

I gained a "C" grade in French at O Level, as my Form master often remarked "Lads, don't have an orgasm if you get a 'C' in French O Level, it means you can't speak the language".

Wise words indeed!

Anyhoo, it has been reported that the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority might adopt a recommendation to rely on teacher assessments instead of orals in response to a review of language teaching by Lord Dearing.

The review said one-off oral tests were not a reliable guide to ability.

Lord Dearing's report warned that the stress of oral exams might deter young people from signing up to take languages.


"It is interesting that when people spoke about the oral test, that however long ago it may have been, it is often remembered as a stressful experience.

We therefore proposed that these parts of the examination should be over a period through moderated teacher assessment

Yes, of course it's stressful, all interviews are stressful.

That is the reality of life!

We do not serve children well if we constantly seek to shield them from the harsh and unpleasant realities of life, and wrap them in cotton wool.

However, it seems that Nanny has not yet decided as to whether the orals will be banned; coming to a decision, it seems, is too stressful for her.


  1. This is another gem.
    Silly me, I thought the whole point of learning a new language was to be able to converse with other users of that language.
    I accept that written communication is often important, but in general terms, it is the spoken word that is the prefered communication method.

    I too remember only too well my oral exams, one in French and one in Russian. They were something I worried long and hard about.

    The problem of using teachers to judge pupils performance is there may be a temptation to just tick a box to massage exam pass rate figures to make the school look as if it is performing up to Nanny's prefered level.

    With the way our exam and education systems are going, soon there will be no exams at all....A pupil will just be given an A* so as not to be traumatised or hurt if they did fail.....Ooopps Too late... That's already happening it seems.

  2. I think everyone knows that the issue is not one of teaching children to be competent speakers in a foreign language but to coach them through a course with the aim of gaining additional qualifications. As with almost everything the Labour Party has done in government the propaganda value of enabling more citizens to obtain more access, qualifications etc. is of more importance than the value, to society as much as the individual, of the access or qualifications themselves

  3. I'm 100% with you on this one Ken, I do remember quite a bit of stress before my French orals, but I regard that as NO BAD THING!

  4. I got CSE 2.
    Never did have time for French.
    However, what part of 'learning a language' does the Oral Exam NOT address?

  5. Honi soit qui mal y pense

  6. Grant9:23 PM

    Not much point in the kids taking a foreign language oral test when they would fail an English language oral.

    The alternative solution would be to annex France and enforce the English language on them.

    The English could then move over the channel and occupy the parts of France they have not already conquered.

    The rampant Sarteacosy chap could join Galloping Gordon in the land formerly known as England and spend time managing the immigrants. Scotland and Wales could do what they liked - build walls and dykes to keep the hordes out for example.

    Thus the problems of the English would be solved in one pass. The resident French would also benefit by the removal of the embarrassing Sarkosy and the need for them to learn French when really they know they need to speak English in order to be part of the post modern world.

    We could start by moving the people who live in Kent.


  7. Is there an oral exam in English?
    Might be useful for all the equal people.
    So many in Russia, China, and Africa seem to speak better English than you know where.