Friday 25 August 2017


The 2017 exam entry figures for Wales show another overall drop in the number of students sitting foreign language exams, however Spanish bucks the trend with both A Level and GCSE entries increasing.

French and German GCSE entries are down, with French dropping from 4312 entries last year to 3842 this year and German down to 828 entries from 1196. Spanish entries increased to 1570 compared to 1507 in 2016.

A level figures show that entries for French were down to 357 compared to 416 in 2016 and German entries had dropped to 104 from 123 in 2016. Spanish A Level entries increased to 178 compared to 162 last year.

Commenting on the figures, Jenny Scott, Director of British Council Wales, said:

“The Language Trends Wales report, issued by the British Council in June 2017 noted that take up of modern foreign languages was continuing to fall in years 10 and 11 indicating that numbers would decline further in 2017 and 2018.  The prediction for 2017 has, sadly, become a reality.

“Gaining a qualification in a modern foreign language is a real achievement, the courses and exams are not an easy option, but foreign language qualifications are a bonus both professionally and personally in our increasingly connected world.

“The reality is that as Wales and the rest of the UK work to reposition on the world stage, languages matter more than ever. Learning another language isn’t just a rewarding way to connect with another culture; it also boosts job prospects and can give young people the confidence to take advantage of international opportunities. It is vital that we encourage far more young people to develop their language skills both now and in the future.

“In the autumn we will be working with leading figures in the languages sector in Wales to develop new ideas to tackle the root causes of this continued decline.”

 All figures are from JCQ.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. Using the UK’s cultural resources we make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we directly reach over 65 million people and more than 660 million people via broadcasts and publications.

Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. The majority of our income is raised delivering a range of projects and contracts in English teaching and examinations, education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. Fifteen per cent of our funding is received from the UK government.

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