School pupils learning a language

Language Trends Wales 2018

British Council Wales has published its fourth Language Trends Wales report, which finds that Welsh school children continue to turn their backs on international languages. 

Headline statistics from the report include:

  • 37% of schools say that Brexit is having a negative effect on attitudes towards studying MFL
  • Continued falls in the number of entries for A-level German -33%, Spanish -12%, French -6%
  • Decline in German GCSE numbers halted, but Spanish entries drop by 23%

Download the report below 

Language Trends Wales 2017

British Council Wales  published the third Language Trends Wales report in 2017, which found that teachers were ‘extremely worried about the future of modern foreign languages’.

Headline statistics from the report included:

  • More than a third of Welsh schools had less than 10% of Year 10 (14-15 year olds) studying a modern foreign language.
  • 44% of schools had fewer than five pupils studying a foreign language at AS level and 61% had fewer than five foreign language pupils at A level
  • 64% of MFL departments had just one or two full-time teachers, with one third depending on non-British EU nationals for their staff
  • Take up of modern foreign languages continued to fall in years 10 and 11 indicating that numbers would decline further in 2018

Language Trends Wales 2016

British Council Wales and the Education Development Trust published the second national survey of modern foreign language teaching in Welsh schools in 2016. 

The report found: 

• the majority of schools - more than two thirds - had less than 25 per cent of pupils studying a modern foreign language (MFL) at GCSE level

• schools in more disadvantaged areas were more likely to report very low take-up of MFL 

• there was widespread support for the Welsh Government’s ambition to see MFL taught from a younger age, but primary schools want to see more resources and training.

Language Trends Wales 2015

The first Language Trends Wales survey was published on June 2, 2015, creating widespread interest in modern foreign language teaching and education among the Welsh public, press and broadcast media, and the Welsh Government.

The first report found:

• MFL was becoming increasingly marginalised within the Welsh curriculum

• Many pupils were receiving only a minimal or fragmented experience of language learning

• The potential benefits of bilingualism in Wales were not being realised when it comes to learning a modern foreign language

• In the ten year period from 2005-2014 A-level entries for French, German and Spanish halved

• Only 22% of Welsh pupils take a GCSE in a language other than Welsh or English.

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