Language revival sparked by AS-levels

1st December 2000 at 00:00
MORE sixth-formers are studying foreign languages since the introduction of the revamped AS-level, a survey has suggested.

Nearly three-quarters of schools and colleges which responded reported an increased take-up of languages at AS-level, which allows students to study up to five subjects in the lower sixth.

More than 100 early returns to a 3,700-school questionnaire by Professor Keith Marshall, of Bangor University, show an average 30 per cent increase in the number of pupils opting to learn modern foreign languages.

Schools and colleges also predicted the number of pupils continuing on to full A-level would increase by about a fifth.

Professor Marshall said: "The emerging picture is tat the new AS-levels are on the brink of turning around dramatically the declining fortunes of post-16 languages in the UK."

Language associations have expressed concern about the Government's inaction on the state of foreign languages. The Nuffield report, published six months ago after a two-year inquiry, recommended appointing a languages supremo, making it compulsory for all pupils to learn a new language from age seven by 2010 and compulsory languages in sixth forms.

A ministerial reply to the report is expected by the new year.

An announcement is expected at the North of England conference on January 3 where the British launch of the European Year of Languages will take place.

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