Spanish lessons booming in English schools – despite decline in MFL teaching

The Telegraph is reporting that Spanish lessons are booming in schools across England despite the general decline of modern foreign languages taught in classes.

It comes a day after the TES revealed that OCR would stop offering GCSEs and A-levels in French, German and Spanish because “there is too much work to be done for OCR to achieve accreditation of its new MFL [modern foreign language] qualifications in time for teachers to make a considered choice about new qualifications for this September”.

While children learning French or German has dramatically declined from the previous two decades, pupils learning Spanish at GCSE level has increased from 29,000 to 85,000 between 1995 and 2015.

Students taking Spanish A-level has also risen from 4,095 in 1996 to 7,608 in 2015, according to a recent House of Commons Library research paper on language teaching in English schools written by Robert Long and Paul Bolton.

That means in the last 20 years, Spanish language take-up has risen from five per cent of pupils to 14 per cent.  In the academic year beginning in 2010, Spanish overtook German as the second largest language at GCSE level.

Spanish could also overtake French as the most popular modern language A-level after it overtook German as the second most common language at A-level in 2008 and was only 1,400 below French last year, the authors write.

More at: How Spanish is the only foreign language growing in popularity in English schools
What do you think? Why are Spanish lessons proving popular? And what do you think of OCR’s decisions to stop offering MFL qualifications? Let us know in the comments or via Twitter.

Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or  just someone who cares about education and has something to get off  your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.

Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.

We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!


Boris Johnson accused of burying study linking pollution and deprived schools
Ten reasons why traditional teacher evaluation is failing our schools
Categories: Learning.


  1. MedwayGovernors

    SchoolsImprove Son’s view as A lvl stdnt in both Sp and Fr = GCSE Sp MUCH easier than Fr despite living/schooling in France as 10/11yr old

  2. Spanish, along with English and Mandarin, are the three most widely spoken global languages.  It makes sense for pupils to learn an international language.

Let us know what you think...