The Language Trends 2021 report surveyed teachers at more than 1500 primary, secondary and independent schools across England. 

The report, which has been published annually by the British Council for nearly twenty years, gathers information about language teaching and learning in England.

Teachers and pupils faced unprecedented challenges during the 2020-21 school year because of Covid-19. Headline findings in this year’s report include:

  • language teaching was suspended at one in five primary schools in January 2021 due to Covid-19
  • two in five pupils in Key Stage 3 (age 11-14) at state secondary schools did not engage with language learning during the first national lockdown, leading to time lost to language learning for a lot of pupils
  • significant decline in international activities at primary and state secondary schools, such as partnering with a school abroad, involvement in international projects and hosting a language assistant
  • while French is the most popular language at primary, Key Stage 3 and GCSE, Spanish is the most popular A-level language for the second year in a row
  • ninety-eight per cent of teachers ‘much better prepared’ for online teaching in 2021 than in 2020
  • increase in resourcing and opportunities for online, language-specific Continuing Professional Development – in-service training for teachers to improve their skills and knowledge.