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Boys speak the lingo better

I note the anxiety this year about the popularity of language A-levels. It is welcome to see that people are recognising the importance of languages to our country's future, economically as well as socially, culturally and diplomatically, and the decline in numbers taking A2 and, particularly, AS-level in languages is regrettable.

There are, as has been discussed, questions to be asked about how motivating these exams are. However, other things that strike me in the A-level results have not been highlighted so much. The A-E pass rates for those who did study languages were very high: 98 per cent for Spanish, 97.7 per cent for French and 97.4 per cent for German. This is a tribute to students and, of course, their teachers.

It is also interesting that, of those who did do languages, the percentages gaining a grade A bucked the trend of girls' outperforming boys. In Spanish, 35.4 per cent of boys got As and 31.9 per cent of girls; in French, the figures were 33.5 per cent and 30.4 per cent; and in German, 34.3 per cent and 29.4 per cent.

Steven Fawkes

President

Association for Language Learning

150 Railway Terrace

Rugby, Warwickshire

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