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Reaction to BBC modern languages in post-primary schools survey

Reaction to BBC modern languages in post-primary schools survey

| 27/02/2019

The BBC have today released details of their recent survey of the state of modern languages in state secondary schools around the UK. With over half of all schools responding, it is a revealing snapshot of current uptake and highlights the need to do more to build up the numbers of young people opting into languages. The ability to speak more than one language is a major advantage in the job market and if we are to be an outward-looking society in a global economy, we must ensure we have a pipeline of people with skills in languages. My own research and that of colleagues from the AHRC’s Open World Research Initiative demonstrates the value of languages in terms of intercultural understanding, creativity, health, community cohesion and of course their importance for international relations and trade.

Traditional language choices such as French and German have declined substantially, yet for a body such as the CBI, French and German are top of the list of languages in demand by employers. It is also very positive news that there is an increase in numbers studying Spanish and Mandarin.

The BBC survey has stimulated a positive debate across the UK about the value of languages, with many employers going on air to stress how important they are for our future.

You can listen to my discussion of the survey with Noel Thompson on BBC Good Morning Ulster on the 27th February at the clip above.

Also listen to my conversation with Matthew Wright on Talk Radio (5:23 into clip)