British Council statement on modern foreign languages GCSE results

2021 has seen a rise in entries for modern day languages with a record number of entries for Spanish for the second year running though German entries continue to decline.

Vicky Gough, British Council Schools Advisor, said: “This has been another challenging year for schools, with recent British Council research highlighting the disruptive impact of COVID-19 on the teaching and learning of languages.

Pupils and teachers have worked extremely hard despite the obstacles they’ve faced, and many congratulations to all pupils collecting their results for GCSE languages today.

“It’s encouraging that, for a second year running, record numbers of pupils chose to study Spanish. For now, French remains the most popular language at GCSE. However, the continued decline in pupils studying German is concerning.

“While entries for modern foreign languages overall have increased this year, this is just a slight recovery from a significant drop over more than a decade. Hopefully we’ll see more pupils go on to choose languages at A-level and university, because the UK needs more foreign language speakers.

“As education begins to recover from the pandemic, it’s essential that schools prioritise language learning and look to build back international opportunities and connections. Languages enable us to work together on global challenges, as well as opening doors for pupils to discover new people, places, and cultures. It is vital for the UK’s future that all pupils have access to high-quality language teaching.”

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