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Just what “global Britain” needs—a crisis in language learning

Post-Brexit we must forge new alliances. Language learning will be vital to this—but pupil numbers are declining

By Teresa Tinsley  

Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive/PA Images

Ever since 2004, when the Labour government gave schools the freedom to make languages optional, education ministers have awaited GCSE and A level entry figures with the trepidation of candidates who know they have messed up their French oral. Numbers for foreign languages GCSEs have dropped by a whopping 44 per cent and numbers for French and German A levels have declined by more than a third over the past 13 years.

This year’s crop of A level exam figures have been greeted with relief…

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