Thursday 12 August 2021


•  A level entries for modern foreign languages have increased

•  GCSE entries have declined

•  French is the most popular foreign language at A level and GCSE

The number of young people in Wales choosing to study a modern foreign language (MFL) at GCSE has declined, while the number taking foreign languages at A level has risen this year. 

British Council Wales warns that foreign language learning is still at risk in Wales, which is bad for education and business.

Jenny Scott, director of British Council Wales, said: “We’ve seen a slight increase in the number of students taking an A level in a modern foreign language, but the drop in the number taking a GCSE is very concerning, as GCSE entrants provide next year’s A level students.

“The low number choosing to study an MFL is worrying for recruitment to language degree courses, the language teaching profession and to businesses that increasingly need language skills.  

“It was positive to see the recent Programme for Government make a commitment to expand teaching of modern foreign languages in schools in Wales. 

“We look forward to working with Welsh Government to help achieve the ambition in the new Curriculum for Wales of enabling learners to gain knowledge and skills in Welsh, English and international languages.

“As schools start to recover from the effects of the pandemic, we would like to see Welsh schools prioritise language learning and we’re delighted that they are already taking advantage of international opportunities through the Turing Scheme with over £500,000 awarded to schools in Wales.  

“We hope to see even more international activity through the Welsh Government’s new International Learning Exchange programme, that will provide opportunities from September 2022.”   

The British Council’s latest Language Trends Wales report will be published in the Autumn.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. In 2019-2020 we reached over 75 million people directly and 758 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive a 14.5 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.