PLEASE do not make a false comparison between continental learners of English and UK learners of other languages.
Foreign languages start after English for most continental pupils. A fairer comparison would be German pupils learning French or French pupils learning Spanish.
Primary pupils can make real gains through learning foreign languages with their own teachers. There is plenty of evidence of this to be found on the early language learning website (www.nacell.org).
The key stage 3 national strategy is already having an impact on changing expectations and promoting thinking skills - and this is now working its way through into modern languages.
Focusing more on the creative aspects of language learning and less on vocational competence may also increase pupils' engagement with the subject.
Trinity and All Saints Comenius Centre
Trinity and All Saints College