Thursday 12 August 2021
  • Entries for modern foreign languages up;
  • Record number of entries for Spanish for second year running;
  • German entries continue to decline.

Vicky Gough, British Council Schools Advisor, said: 

“This has been another challenging year for schools, with recent British Council research highlighting the disruptive impact of Covid-19 on the teaching and learning of languages. Pupils and teachers have worked extremely hard despite the obstacles they’ve faced, and many congratulations to all pupils collecting their results for GCSE languages today. 

“It’s encouraging that, for a second year running, record numbers of pupils chose to study Spanish. For now, French remains the most popular language at GCSE. However, the continued decline in pupils studying German is concerning.

“While entries for modern foreign languages overall have increased this year, this is just a slight recovery from a significant drop over more than a decade. Hopefully we’ll see more pupils go on to choose languages at A-level and university, because the UK needs more foreign language speakers. 

“As education begins to recover from the pandemic, it’s essential that schools prioritise language learning and look to build back international opportunities and connections. Languages enable us to work together on global challenges, as well as opening doors for pupils to discover new people, places, and cultures. It is vital for the UK’s future that all pupils have access to high-quality language teaching.”



Notes to Editor

For more information, please contact Vicci Nelmes in the British Council Press Office on +44 (0)7933 386075 or

Read the British Council Language Trends Survey 2021 here: 


About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. In 2019-2020 we reached over 75 million people directly and 758 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive a 14.5 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.