Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Foreign language learning ‘declining rapidly’ in Wales

“Modern foreign language learning in secondary schools in Wales is ‘declining rapidly’ according to a major study.

Budget cuts, overloaded school timetables and Welsh government assessment systems were blamed.

The number of pupils taking French and German at GCSE has halved since 2002.

The education minister has now announced ‘a radical and new approach’ including schools which will be centres of excellence.

The report by the British Council and CfBT Education Trust found ‘no sense of dynamism’ and little prospect of improvement.

In 2005, 12,826 children studied a language at GCSE, but by 2014 the number had fallen by a third to 8,601.

Nearly two-thirds of secondary schools took part in the survey.

Although there has been a decline in the study of foreign languages in other parts of the UK, England and Scotland have both introduced policies to increase the provision.”

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Languages do matter!


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