PUPILS have been told their GCSE German has been axed nearly three months into them studying for it.

St Helena School in Colchester has decided to withdraw the language with immediate effect due to “funding” reasons and said the only class studying it was just 45 per cent full.

But Andy Mitchell, whose son is in Year 9, claimed students were told at school and asked to choose on the spot what alternative subject they would take.

He said: “If they had decided at the outset we wouldn’t have had much of a case to make but they allowed the course to go ahead. It has diminished the quality of my son’s education.

“He doesn’t particularly want to do any of the other options he has been given.”

Mr Mitchell said head teacher Fiona Pierson had apologised to parents for the way the matter was handled.

But Mr Mitchell has contacted Colchester’s MP Will Quince and the Education Secretary Damian Hinds.

He added: “The girls’ grammar has just been given a huge amount of money and a school half a mile down the road cannot afford to run a GCSE course. The inequality is unacceptable.”

Ms Pierson defended her decision but said it was not one any head would want to make.

She said while German had been “withdrawn” from Year 9, pupils in Year 10 and 11 were continuing to study it so they can sit their GCSE.

She added: “I have met with parents and students and we have managed to get everyone onto a subject that would have either been their fourth or fifth choice when taking GCSE options, or a subject they would want to pick up.”

Until now German has been offered from year nine as a GCSE option.

Just one Year 9 class was running this year with three hours dedicated to the subject and it had less than half as many pupils compared to other subjects.

The money has been saved by deploying the school’s resources more efficiently.

Ms Pierson said an after school German club was on offer for pupils who were still passionate about the subject.

She added if the uptake for German improves the school might reconsider.

She said she was confident students starting new subjects nearly a term late would catch up.

Starting GCSE work in Year 9 also gives students three years of work on a subject, she added.

“The staff here are really behind making sure students can pick up work and catch up.”

Alternative subjects offered include French, Food and Photography.