Poor and lower ability pupils are missing out on languages

Concern has been raised about the growing gaps in access to and the study of foreign languages, with pupils at state schools in disadvantaged areas most likely to be missing out.

Furthermore, the introduction of the new, more rigorous GCSEs mean that lower ability pupils are now less likely to take a language in key stage 4.

The findings have come from the 2018 Language Trends Survey, published last week by the British Council. It reveals that schools with the highest proportion of pupil eligibility for free school meals are more than three times more likely to have low participation at GCSE level with no plans for this to improve. This is when compared to schools with the most affluent pupil cohorts.

The report states: “Schools in more disadvantaged circumstances tend to dedicate a shorter time to languages in key stage 3, allow pupils to drop languages after only two years and have lower participation at GCSE.

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