At la Academia, we were disappointed to see that the number of entries for language A-levels fell again this year. Mostly this was due to a drop in entries for European languages traditionally studied in schools, such as French and German. Even Spanish fell slightly, after rising over the past 5 years.
On the plus side, Asian languages such as Mandarin and Japanese and other non-traditional languages such as Russian, Polish and Arabic recorded a rise, but not enough to offset the drop in French and German. We were interested to see that these languages are seeing increased demand – perhaps reflecting a more global world where Russian, Mandarin Chinese and Japanese are seen as the most useful languages to learn.
Studying languages is sometimes seen as a ‘harder’ choice than other subjects, and since both students and teachers are under pressure to get the best grades possible, there is an argument that students are dropping French and German classes to take other subjects that are considered ‘easier’.
We find this a very disappointing trend. In the short term going for an easy option seems tempting, but in the longer term the ability to speak a language is highly valued by employers, and pupils may wish later that they had continued with language studies. Also, learning Spanish, French or German at school teaches skills that can be used to learn other languages later in life. We see many adult language learners in our classes who regret that they did not continue with language classes at school – equally we are teaching Chinese and Japanese to many students who have strong language skills from learning French or German.
la Academia offers one-to-one tuition at GCSE and at A-level in the traditional languages – French, German and Spanish – and also in Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and many other languages, so that students can get the best grades possible in their exams. These are held at our offices in Cheadle, Greater Manchester. We always see a rush in September as the new academic year starts, so do contact us soon to book your language tuition, and make sure that you get the best possible grades next August.