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Concern over languages pipeline despite GCSE progress

Education and business organisations have welcomed a modest rise in the uptake of languages at GCSE level but warn that more must be done to arrest the decline in people pursuing language study and research.

Slightly more students receiving their results on 22 August this year had studied foreign languages, with entries up 3.7 per cent on the previous year. This was driven by a rise in students studying French and Spanish, by 3.2 per cent and 7.5 per cent respectively, while entries for German dropped 3.9 per cent. 

Simon Swain, vice-president for research and higher education policy at the British Academy, said the small increase suggested the long-term decline in modern language study “may be starting to change”.

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