Best Practice

The reasons behind the decline in languages at A level

The latest Languages Trends study has revealed yet further decline in language learning, with specific concerns about post-16 study. Kathryn Board and Teresa Tinsley consider some of the reasons behind the continuing problems.

The Language Trends survey has tracked what is happening in language teaching in English schools from both the state and independent sectors every year since 2002. 

This authoritative annual report provides both data as well as direct feedback from teachers on the impact of education policies and initiatives on the teaching of languages in mainstream education.

Information on the study of languages beyond key stage 4 is of particular interest because of the indicators it provides for potential university applications to degree courses in languages.

It also provides evidence of the numbers of young people entering work who are able to use languages or those who are about to embark on higher level studies in a wide range of subjects who might be able to enhance those studies with skills in another language. 

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