A-level results: Spanish overtakes French

Spanish has overtaken French as the most popular modern foreign language at A level for the first time, figures show

Catherine Lough

A levels: There were more A-level entries for Spanish than French for the first time ever in 2019

Spanish has overtaken French in the number of A-level entries for the first time ever, according to today's results.

A total of 8,625 candidates were entered for Spanish A level this year, compared with 8,355 entries in French. In Spanish, the number of entries increased by 4.5 per cent compared with last year, while in French, the number of entries fell by 4.1 per cent.

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The change could partly be due to higher numbers of specialist Spanish teachers. Data from the Teaching Regulation Agency’s annual report and accounts published in August showed that 1,365 Spanish-born teachers received QTS in 2018-19 compared with 46 French teachers.

A levels: Spanish versus French

The news backs up provisional A-level entry data from Ofqual released in May, which showed that while Spanish rose from 7,705 to 7,995, French fell slightly, from 7,945 to 7,680. 

It also echoes predictions in a report by the British Council in December 2018 that Spanish would overtake French as the UK’s most popular language at A level.

The report’s authors said increased awareness of the importance of Spanish in the United States, as well as travel opportunities in Latin America, may have increased the popularity of Spanish.

“Because we consume so much American culture, it seeps into our awareness that – if there’s another language to learn – then Spanish is a good one to know,” Teresa Tinsley, one of the report’s authors, said at the time.

The report’s authors also said that Spain’s attraction as a holiday destination for UK tourists might lead to more pupils choosing to study the subject at A level.





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