Figures released today which show a halt in the decline in the number of students taking A-levels in languages are to be welcomed as a sign that efforts to put across the value of language learning are starting to take effect. Increases in numbers sitting Spanish and German A levels are particularly encouraging. Figures on applications for university courses with languages are also up this year, with applications for German increasing by 20%.
But there is no complacency about these figures. It is recognised that much more still needs to be done to recover numbers lost to languages over the past ten years to redress the imbalance in gender and social class of this country’s linguists, and above all to ensure that young people are properly prepared for the challenges of the workplace in an age of globalisation.