Britain’s dwindling language skills are a disaster for the country and needs action, MPs warn

Britain’s dwindling language skills are a “disaster” for the country and they need to be recovered through urgent government action, a group of MPs and peers warn. The Independent reports.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Modern Languages has set out its National Recovery Programme to revolutionise language skills across the country.

The report argues that languages are not just an issue for schools and it says the government, businesses and higher education institutions must also play a part.

It comes amid a continuing decline in the proportion of students taking languages at GCSE and a fall in the number of university undergraduate applications for modern foreign languages.

Baroness Coussins, co-chair of the APPG on Modern Languages, said: “The reason we have published this framework is that languages have an important role across policy areas and in society, but tend to be thought of as an issue just for schools.

“As a country looking to redefine its role on the international stage and be a leader in trade and diplomacy, we need language skills to become the norm, not the exception.”

Vicky Gough, schools adviser at the British Council, said: “If we don’t reverse recent trends we will be locked into a downward spiral of fewer pupils studying languages at GCSE, tiny and unsustainable numbers at A-level, the continuing closure of university departments, and fewer teachers.”

Nick Gibb, school standards minister, said: “Since 2010 the proportion of children taking a language at GCSE has risen from 40 per cent to 46 per cent in 2018 – and we are determined to see this rise further.

“We are taking a range of measures to do this, such as creating a new network of schools that excel in the teaching of languages to share their expertise and best practice with others and setting up a new mentoring project to encourage pupils’ interest in languages.”

Read more Britain’s dwindling language skills are a disaster for the country and needs action, MPs warn

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