Thursday 22 August 2019
  • Entries for modern foreign languages up three per cent;
  • French up 3.2 per cent to 130,831 (2018: 126,750) and remains the most popular foreign language;
  • Spanish up 7.5 per cent to 102,242, exceeding 100,000 results for the first (2018: 95,080);
  • German has dropped 3.9 per cent but outcomes have improved.

Vicky Gough, British Council schools advisor, said: 

“It’s encouraging that GCSE numbers are picking up, but this has to be seen as a slight recovery from a huge drop over more than a decade.

“Hopefully these rising numbers will have a knock-on effect as pupils take A-Levels and university courses, because the UK needs more foreign language speakers.

“Languages underpin our relationships with other countries. They are vital to the UK’s future prosperity, security and global influence, and they are important to pupils because they open doors to new people, places and cultures.”

The results also show a gender divide with more girls taking modern foreign languages than boys, and out-performing boys in French, German and Spanish.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. We do this by making a positive contribution to the UK and the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year 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.