The 2015 WJEC A-Level figures show the number of foreign language exam entries remains relatively stable – with 460 for French (468 in 2014), 121 for German (114 in 2014) and a marked increase for Spanish with 219 compared to 167 last year.
Commenting on the figures, Jenny Scott, director at British Council Wales, said:
“The number of entries for modern foreign languages remains very low, but we’re pleased to see that this year the decline has halted. The healthy increase in the number studying Spanish is particularly encouraging, as Spanish is number one in the British Council’s top ten languages needed by the UK. The drop in the number of pupils taking French and Spanish at AS Level is concerning – we hope that those pupils studying languages will continue with them at A-Level. The good pass rates and respectable proportion of high grades shows that first-rate language teaching is available in Welsh schools and our young people are well capable of passing language exams.
“Wales needs more people to learn languages to help take advantage of the opportunities offered in international business. We also know a lack of language skills can prevent young people from taking advantage of international opportunities, which can be the key to future career success and personal development. Welsh Government is putting new strategies in place to increase the number of pupils opting to study languages at GCSE and A-Level and we are working with them; in the future we hope to see more pupils opting to study languages.”
British Council Wales published Language Trends Wales in June 2015; the report found that foreign language learning is becoming increasingly marginalised within the Welsh curriculum, with the number of pupils choosing to study foreign languages in decline.