Thursday 24 August 2023
  • Spanish had the second largest increase compared to other full course subjects at 11.3% and is on course to overtake French as the most popular language at GCSE level.
  • German had the seventh largest decrease of GCSE entries compared to other full course subjects since 2022, at 4.7%.
  • Number of pupils taking French at GCSE remains consistent with 2022, with a slight increase of 1%. 
  • Entries for Other Modern Languages had an increase of 9.5%.  
  • Launch of the National Consortium for Languages Education to improve uptake in German and other modern languages.

Vicky Gough, British Council Schools Advisor, said:

“Congratulations to those pupils collecting their GCSE languages results today for all their hard work.

“The continued rise in popularity of Spanish, and the increase in Other Modern Languages, is proof that languages can be an attractive option for pupils. 

“However, the same enthusiasm needs to be boosted for German, which has seen another decrease in GCSE and A-level entries this year.

“As Germany is one of the UK’s biggest trading partners, German language skills are strategically important and will open doors for young people as they leave school and pursue their careers.

“This year, the British Council is playing an important role with University College London and Goethe-Institut to reinvigorate languages education in England, with the formation of the National Consortium for Languages Education (NCLE).

“Funded by the Department for Education, the consortium will select twenty-five lead hub schools across England to deliver training to improve language teaching and learning across the country. 

“Importantly, this will boost the teaching and learning of German through the GIMAGINE project.

“This initiative will make more students aware of the benefits language learning has to offer, not just for future employment, but for a deeper appreciation and understanding of the world they live in.”

Notes to Editor

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Read the British Council’s Language Trends England 2023 Survey here:

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We support peace and prosperity by building connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and countries worldwide. We work with people in over 200 countries and territories and are on the ground in more than 100 countries. In 2021-22 we reached 650 million people