Video: Welcome to Language Trends Wales 2020: The Conversation - Sir Ciarán Devane, former Chief Executive of the British Council, talks about the importance of language learning.

Since 2015 we have undertaken an annual survey of schools in Wales, asking teachers to tell us about the teaching of modern foreign languages (MFL). 

This year, the year of Covid-19, we’ve analysed the A level and GCSE results for 2020.  And, for the first time, we've asked experts and commentators to tell us their views on MFL education in Wales. 

We asked them to look to the future, to tell us how Wales might become a beacon of excellence for language learning. We wanted to consider what opportunities Wales’ new curriculum could offer MFL education.  Our commentators have also thought about how a post-Brexit Wales might approach MFL.

Over the coming weeks we’ll publish these views as articles and videos. Come back to this page or see our social media for the latest publications.

Language Trends Wales 2020

This year's report presents the latest trends and analysis of language learning uptake at GCSE and A-level in Wales. 

The latest figures continue to highlight the low numbers of overall learners of languages in schools in Wales.  

Nevertheless, the new curriculum, and with it the potential for new qualifications, presents opportunities for reform in the recognition and benchmarking of language education here in Wales. 

Headline findings from the report include:

  • Pupil entries for Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) continue to fall with a 10% decrease at GCSE and a 16% decrease at A-level since 2019.  
  • While numbers for French and German GCSE stabilised slightly, Spanish saw a 19% fall at GCSE and a 15% decrease at A-level compared to last year.
  • The largest decrease in entries between 2019-2020 has been for ‘other languages’ with a fall of 54% and 34% at GCSE and A-level respectively. 

Download the report below.

The Conversation 

We've asked experts and commentators to tell us their views on MFL education in Wales:

Languages in Wales – an interview with Kirsty Williams MS, Minister for Education

The case for international language learning and how we can secure its future - Jenny Scott, Director British Council Wales. 

Languages and Multilingualism in Wales: Preparing for Global Futures - Professor Claire Gorrara: Chair, University Council of Modern Languages and Dean of Research Environment and Culture, Professor of French, Cardiff University. 

Routes into Languages Cymru - a pan-Wales approach. How can we encourage more young people in Wales to learn international languages? Are their peers the key? - Meleri Jenkins, Project Coordinator, Routes Into Languages Cymru.  

Language students are inspiring the next generation of linguists: Inside the MFL Student Mentoring Project - Lucy Jenkins, National Coordinator, Modern Foreign Language Student Mentoring Project

Migrants, Multilingualism and the Welsh Language - Dr Gwennan Higham, Senior Lecturer in Welsh, Swansea University

The Curriculum for Wales’ plurilingual journey: from policy to practice - Elin Arfon, Research Student, Cardiff University

Finding your ‘Route’: the role of outreach initiatives in motivating pupils to continue their language journeys - Eira Jepson, Research Student, Cardiff University

Cerdd Iaith - a powerful new language resource - Project Manager, Natasha Nichols explains how Cerdd Iaith uses music and drama to help children learn languages

Teachers learning to teach languages programme - Helen Phillips and Dr Sylvia Warnecke of the Open University describe how teachers can simultaneously learn a new language and the skills to teach the language in the classroom. 

Languages and the new Curriculum for Wales - Anna Vivian Jones of ERW talks about how the new Curriculum for Wales could educate a new generation of multilingual young people. 

Share your views

We’d love to hear your views on modern foreign language education in Wales.  Please share your comments on our social media channels: 




See also