There have been some depressing headlines recently about the state of foreign language learning in UK secondary schools.
BBC analysis highlights language learning drops of between 30% and 50% since 2013 in the numbers taking GCSE language courses. This is the lowest level in UK secondary schools since the turn of the millennium, with German and French falling the most.
Most schools said the perception that languages are a difficult subject was the main reason for the decline.
But the dramatic headlines don’t tell the full story. While German and French – the languages of two of the UK’s closest trading partners – has really dropped away at GCSE level, there has been a noticeable surge in some others, such as Spanish and Mandarin – something we have noticed here too at la Academia.
Contrast this with the fact that in 2001, only 2,500 students were taking a language other than French, German, Spanish or Welsh.
Nick Gibb, the minister with responsibility for school standards at Westminster, says the overall picture in England is improving. ‘Since 2010, the proportion of children taking a language at GCSE has risen from 40% to 46% in 2018 – and we are determined to see this rise further.’
It is also worth noting – especially if you are a parent – that employer demand for French, German and Spanish skills has significantly increased over the last few years. This is expected to continue. But it will take time to reverse the decline of these languages in schools – something we can and are helping with through providing our tutors.
At la Academia we offer language coaching and teaching at GSCE and A Level in French, German Spanish – and Mandarin. If your school isn’t offering the language you want, then please contact us to see how we can help. We promise – our teaching methods are fun, engaging and they work.