A Sheffield school has launched a campaign against A-level Urdu being scrapped – backed by hundreds of people.
High Storrs School says 20 per cent of its students have Urdu as their mother language and students from across the city go there to study the subject at A-Level.
Edexcel is the only examination board to offer Urdu but has now written to schools saying it will be scrapped from September 2017.
More than 600 people have now signed petitions started by High Storrs calling for the plans to be reversed and Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg is to pass on his concerns to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan.
Earlier this year, Ms Morgan said a Conservative Government would ‘guarantee the future’ of GCSEs and A-levels in minority languages like Polish and Bengali.
Mohammed Akram, who has taught Urdu at High Storrs since 1990, said: “If these minority languages can be saved, then why not Urdu?
“This is an international language very much alive and thriving in the UK.
“There is a desperate need for interpreters in Urdu.
“We feel Urdu is just as important as a mother tongue and a community language as Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali and other notable languages.
“The whole community is getting behind this campaign and have responded with outrage and disbelief.”
Around a dozen students are currently studying A-level Urdu at High Storrs.
One said: “Urdu is a very big part of my life and I want to learn how to speak it fluently to communicate with members of the community and family members.”
Headteacher Ian Gage said: “This decision is surprising and disappointing. High Storrs has offered this qualification to students from across the whole of Sheffield.”
A spokesman for Pearson, which offers Edexcel qualifications, said: “Further to requests from the Secretary of State and statements from the shadow Education Secretary, we will be entering dialogue with Ofqual about available options for securing the future of our A-level qualifications in Urdu from September 2017.”