Commenting on the number of GCSE exam entries for modern foreign languages in 2013, John Worne, Director of Strategy at the British Council, said:
“At last some good news on languages in this year’s GCSE results, which show a 16.9% increase in French, German and Spanish - with Spanish at an all-time high. And, while a few thousand exam entries won’t transform the UK’s future prospects in Brazil and China on their own, it’s encouraging to see a record number of students taking a Portuguese GCSE, and Mandarin almost back to where it was in the late 2000s.
"Language skills are wanted by employers and needed by the UK economy. After a record low in 2011, it’s good to see the number of students taking foreign language GCSEs up for the second year in a row. But we shouldn’t be complacent – less than half of GCSE students are taking a foreign language, and more need to carry their languages forward into their careers and lives for the UK to really profit on the world stage - both culturally and economically.“
British Council research shows that UK employers see international skills like foreign languages as vital – but feel that not enough UK young people have these skills. A separate piece of British Council research carried out this month shows that 78% of people in Britain are unable to speak a foreign language to a high standard.