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Modern languages suffering at GCSE

26/08/2011 Joanna
New figures have revealed that the number of pupils taking modern languages such as French and German at GCSE level has dropped.

Secondary teachers helped just 307,386 students through GCSEs in foreign languages this year, down from 348,528 in 2010 and 559,115 a decade ago – a 45 per cent drop over ten years.

French and German, the two most popular language subjects at school, are two of the GCSEs that are declining at the fastest rate when all subjects are taken into account.

Nick Gibb, the schools minister, said: "It is worrying that the downward spiral in the number of students studying modern foreign languages has continued, with French and German uptake halving over the past decade."

"Languages are key to our economic and social future; without them we risk insularity and we narrow the job opportunities available to young people educated here," he added.

The coalition government is currently considering a review of the National Curriculum and may reverse changes made by Labour in the previous administration, which made modern languages optional for 14-year-olds.

It is believed that the move has contributed to the decline in the popularity of languages at GCSE.

A recent study carried out by the National Literacy Trust showed that literacy is also being left behind, with one in six children failing to read a single book in a month.

The report said that seven per cent of youngsters have never visited a library and that children are more likely to read text messages and emails than novels.ADNFCR-2164-ID-800711725-ADNFCR
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