More pupils taking language AS-levels after GCSE reform

The Evening Standard is reporting that new figures show more teenagers are choosing to study foreign languages in the sixth form following a controversial shake-up of GCSEs…

Experts believe a dramatic rise in the number of students taking AS-levels in French, German and Spanish is a  knock-on effect of the English Baccalaureate measure, which was introduced to encourage students to take academic subjects at GCSE.

Latest figures from the Joint Council for Qualifications, which will release A-level, AS and GCSE results next month, show a 6.1 per cent increase in the number of students taking AS-levels in modern foreign languages.

Spanish has seen a particularly big rise of 14.8 per cent.

Students receiving their AS results this summer are the first to have been measured against the English Baccalaureate standard at GCSE. The EBacc, introduced by former education secretary Michael Gove, recognises students who take at least five academic GCSEs, including a foreign language…

Students getting their A-level results this summer were not under the same pressure to study a language at GCSE. Data for these students shows a 4.2 per cent drop in the number taking modern foreign languages.

A JCQ spokesman said: “As the data shows, the EBacc appears to be influencing student and centre choice at AS.”

Today’s results also show an increase in AS entries for Geography (16.9 per cent) and History (14.2 per cent)…

 See also: The Michael Gove legacy: Surge in number of teenagers studying ‘serious’ A-levels such as history, geography and maths


Will this come as a relief to those universities starting to offer places to students on modern language degrees with only GCSEs in the subject because of lack of demand? Please give us your reactions in the comments or via Twitter and take part in our poll…

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  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove It’s fairly obvious that A level choices will change if GCSE choices are narrowed and forced down a particular route

  2. EnticeProject

    SchoolsImprove good news – employers always asking us for potential apprentices with language skills

Let us know what you think...