The Telegraph reports that the number of teenagers taking the English Baccalaureate has fallen significantly for the first time as students turn their backs on language.
The Schools Minister Nick Gibb said that the Government needed to do more to reverse the trend, adding that Britain must train more linguists to succeed post-Brexit.
Writing for Telegraph.co.uk, “We are a country that thrives in making its way in the world,” he wrote. “As the physical, legal and fiscal barriers to trade are torn down, the need for shared language has grown. But progress in the uptake of languages has lagged. Much more needs to be done. Government can and will do more to encourage language graduates into teaching.
“But teachers, parents and businesses also have important roles to play. We must ensure that pupils choosing their GCSEs understand the importance of languages to their futures and the future of this country.”
Last night, Mark Lehain, director of Parents and Teachers for Excellence, said the decline showed the negative consequences wrought by making language GCSEs optional in 2002.
“We’re suffering from the consequences of this now because there are far fewer modern foreign language graduates to draw into the teaching profession than before,” he added.
“This doesn’t mean that schools should give up encouraging students to study languages, or that the EBacc target should be abandoned. On the contrary, if anything we need to double our efforts, particularly in the primary and early secondary years, so that more kids have a passion for another language ignited sooner.”
How can schools make pupils see the importance of a foreign language? How is your school tackling the decline? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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