BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 June, 2005, 13:18 GMT 14:18 UK
Schools 'teaching 30 languages'
Languages such as Arabic are becoming popular in schools
The number of pupils taking GCSEs in languages such as Chinese, Arabic and Turkish has doubled in the past decade.

A study from the Teacher Training Agency highlights the increasing diversity in the range of modern languages being studied.

The training agency says this has contributed to an overall increase in students taking GCSEs.

The report says there are about 30 languages being taught in school, including GCSEs in Japanese and Polish.

Languages growth

Against a background of concerns over a long-term decline in learning modern languages, the report says that the range of languages has become much wider.

Source: TTA/CILT

French remains the most studied language - but numbers taking the subject at GCSE have declined by over 2% since 1994 - down to 321,000.

But there has been a sharp increase in the popularity of other languages over the past decade - including Spanish, where GCSE student numbers have grown by 81% to 66,000. There are now almost 3,000 pupils taking Arabic, up from 900 a decade ago.

German, Urdu, Chinese, Bengali, Japanese, Turkish, Portuguese and Polish have also increased - while Gujurati, Punjabi and Russian have declined.

The survey says that the total number of language students has risen by 8% - up to 561,000.


Modern language teaching in secondary schools has been seen as facing a range of problems - including shortages of teachers and the removal of compulsory language learning for 14 to 16 year olds.

A report earlier this year from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority warned that French and German lessons were in"chronic decline".

As a financial incentive to attract languages teachers, there is a "golden hello" worth 2,500.

But a survey from education watchdog, Ofsted, published on Tuesday, highlighted how secondary schools serving deprived areas could successfully teach modern languages.

The Ofsted report, published to coincide with a conference on modern languages, highlighted the success of a small sample of schools in overcoming expectations that language teaching would decline when it ceased to be compulsory beyond the age of 14.

115m to boost language learning
11 Mar 05 |  Education
Chinese is the language to learn
11 Mar 05 |  Education
Languages in schools 'in decline'
28 Feb 05 |  Education

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific