Decline in languages at GCSE is halted

23 Aug 2012

Following years of decline, results released today showed that entries for modern languages at GCSE have increased from 309,397 to 315,444, up by almost 2%. This compares with a total entry for all GCSEs which has increased by 1.4%.

Although numbers for French have decreased by 0.5%, the rate of decline has slowed considerably when compared with the dramatic fall of 13.2% last year. There is still concern over German which has declined by 5.5% this year. Spanish on the other hand has seen a 10% rise in entries this year and entries for other modern languages have risen by 13.7% since 2011. There were notable increases in Portuguese (19%), Arabic (18%), Polish (18%) and Chinese (17%). Pupils performed well at GCSE with 26.3% of French, 25.7% of German, 32.1% of Spanish and 59.5% of Other Modern Languages entrants achieving an A or A* grade.

Michael Turner, Director of the Joint Council for Qualifications, said: “These are a good set of results and students and teachers should be pleased with what they have achieved. It will be interesting to see if this year’s rise in students taking Spanish and the rate of decline slowing in French and German is the beginning of a trend that will see more young people studying languages.”

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