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Trips abroad fail to stem linguistic exodus

One of the first schools to abandon compulsory languages for over-14s warns that others will suffer the same collapse in take-up of the subject.

Beaumont Leys school in Leicester had to stop offering German GCSE this term because of a lack of interest. Only around 15 per cent of its key stage 4 students are taking courses in French or German.

One final group of Year 11 pupils will sit the German exam next year and it is not known when, if ever, the subject will be offered at GCSE again.

Liz Logie, headteacher, said the school already treated languages as optional for KS4 pupils when she arrived three years ago, before it was approved by the Government.

Efforts to re-ignite pupils' interest, including trips to Disneyland Paris and languages talks at Birmingham university, had failed to increase the proportion who studied them after 14.

Ms Logie said: "We're down this road already and other schools will be in our position in two or three years time. It is very disappointing, as otherwise we are a successful school.

"Pupils perceive languages as hard and alienating. Even among my daughter and her friends - all of whom are girls in top sets - there is not one who has chosen to study a language."

Ms Logie said the school hoped to offer GCSE Spanish in the future as it might prove attractive to pupils who holidayed in Spanish-speaking countries.

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