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Warning of false panic

The Government is overstating the decline in modern languages in S5 and S6, the Scottish Parent Teacher Council says.

An analysis by Judith Gillespie, the council's development manager, shows that 14.7 per cent of S5 pupils studied a language in 1982 against 13 per cent in 1996. Languages have been marginally squeezed by the popularity of subjects such as biology, computing and maths.

"The real question is what subject would the Government like pupils to drop to take modern languages given that south of the border there is much hand-wringing at the poor uptake of science? Here, the sciences are the next most popular after English and maths," Mrs Gillespie said.

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