Thursday, January 20

Millions of students in England received no language instruction in the bull runs: survey | Education

Millions of children did not receive language classes during the confinements in England, the British Council said.

The advice annual survey of English primary and secondary schools found that more than half of primary school students and 40% of secondary school students did not learn a language during the first national lockdown. And in the closure of January and February, 20% of all students had no language education.

This will inevitably affect acceptance at GCSE and A-level. The report shows that the government will not meet its goal of three-quarters of students taking a modern language GCSE by 2022, if current trends continue.

The government wants 75% of students to take a modern language GCSE by 2022 and 90% by 2025, as part of their English Baccalaureate. The 2010 introduction of Ebacc, a group of more traditional subjects at GCSE that includes a required language, was intended to help halt the decline in language learning. But according to the report, released on Thursday, only 53% of Year 10 students were studying for a language GCSE in 2020.

Julie McCulloch, Policy Director for the Association of school and university leaders, said: “This report shows that an already poor level of student engagement in foreign languages ​​has been further eroded by the pandemic and Brexit-related issues.

“Poor language adoption is undermining the Ebacc system and the government’s goals are totally unrealistic,” he added. “While 100% of students take the English, math and science components, only half of them take the modern languages ​​component.”

Entries for modern languages ​​continue to fall. Analysis of official figures from The Guardian shows that in schools in England, entries for GCSE language exams have dropped by 41% since 2003, the last year when it was compulsory to take a modern foreign language in the 10th anus.

The position of German is particularly precarious, as only 36% of English secondary schools teach it. German GCSE provisional enrollments for 2021 are down 66% from 2003 levels, while those for France are down 59%. In general, only 5.8% of GCSE entries in England in Summer 2020 they were for a modern foreign language, according to the Joint Council on Qualifications.

Level A numbers also continue to decline: equal numbers show that provisional entries for modern foreign languages ​​this year are down 17% based on 2020 figures.

The report also found that by the time students reached the ninth grade, in up to 20% of schools, entire groups of students were not learning a language. “Fewer and fewer students are being taught a language after the age of 13,” said Lady Coussins, co-chair of the All-party parliamentary group on modern languages. “Having proficiency in a foreign language, even at a basic level, improves social mobility and employability. Without it, our young people are at a disadvantage in a global job market. “

Although the French and German GCSEs have been graded less severely since 2020, after Ofqual dictated that there should be an adjustment in grading standards, there are still concerns that students will be put off studying modern foreign languages ​​because it is more hard to get top grades.

“On average, students’ scores in modern languages ​​are up to one grade lower than other Ebacc subjects,” McCulloch said.

The outlook is not entirely bleak: about 110,000 students must sit in Spanish this year, almost double the number who did so in 2003 and 20% more since 2018.

Vicky Gough, British Council School Advisor, said: “As education begins to recover from the pandemic, it is essential that language learning is prioritized and available to all students. The benefits of having language skills and some understanding of other cultures cannot be underestimated, especially now that the UK is renegotiating its place on the world stage. “

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said: “The revised subject content for the GCSEs in French, German and Spanish aims to encourage more students to take these important subjects, broadening their horizons and improving their employment opportunities. Ofqual has also adjusted the qualification standards in French and German GCSE following a revision.

“Ebacc remains vital to giving all children an equal opportunity to be successful in core academic subjects, and we have already exceeded our 75% recruitment ambition in four of the five subject groups.”

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