According to a recent report published by Ofqual, London has come out head and shoulders above the rest of the country when it comes to the percentage of pupils who are choosing to sit language GCSEs.
As a whole, the country has seen a significant reduction in student uptake for foreign languages, with German having dropped by 12%, French by 10% and Spanish by 3% during the period 2016/17.
However, the ten local authorities in the country with the highest proportion of pupils who sat a GCSE language exam last summer were all in London, except York which ranked ninth.
Central London saw the most significant rise from 62% in 2014, to 65% cent in 2016, whereas the outer London boroughs saw a rise from 60% to 61% per cent over the same period.
With the lowest ranked participation in GCSE languages in the country by far, the Isles of Scilly came in at just 13 per cent, with the second lowest being Middlesbrough – at 28 per cent – in the North East of England.
Foreign languages consultant for the Harris Federation, Rachel MacArthur explained that since there were so many pupils in and around London who speak English as an additional language (EAL) or who were multilingual, learning other languages had somewhat become the norm in the capital.
“When the majority of your friends in school use lots of other languages, of course you want to be able to communicate with them, so it becomes normal for children to want to learn something other than their mother tongue.”
200,000 fewer GCSE pupils studied a modern foreign language between 2002 and 2012, but a spokesperson for the Department of Education said that since languages had become a compulsory part of the primary school language curriculum and of the EBacc performance measure in secondary schools this decline is slowly being “reversed”.