Concern over foreign language A-level slump

Steep declines have been recorded in the number A-level students studying traditional foreign language subjects, including the previously popular French and German.

Mandarin is now a more popularly studied subject than German, where only 3,000 students sat A-level papers, marking a drop of 16 per cent on last year and a 45 per cent fall since 2010. With french A-level participants also suffering, it is believed that the growth and importance of science, maths and computing is deterring students from pursuing humanities subjects.

The number of students studying chemistry, physics and biology all rose by three per cent, while mathematics students rose by 2.5 per cent. Modern languages in general saw numbers fall 15 per cent, compared with 2010, while english literature, history and geography saw average drops of 11 per cent.

The policy of compulsory study of foreign languages up to GCSE level was dropped in 2004.

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