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News article

19th March 2019

A recent survey of UK secondary schools *, highlights an alarming decline of language learning across the country, however here at St Brendan’s we are proud to be going against the grain.

A-level Language Students

A-level Language Students

According to a recent BBC study, since 2013 there has been a drop of between 30 - 50% in the numbers of students taking GCSE language courses in some areas of England. Meanwhile, additional analysis shows a third of UK secondary schools have dropped at least one GCSE language option from their provision.

The Language landscape at St Brendan’s however, is as positive as ever, as we continue to invest and grow our language provision for all of our students. Well aware of the link between language skills and employability, over the past three years we have invested heavily in developing our Language Centre and offer a range of different courses for students with varying skills.

Most recently, as a College we were thrilled to be awarded PASCH School status for our commitment to teaching the German language and now offer both A-level German and the Goethe-Zertifikat B1 to students of different abilities, who wish to continue their studies of the language. In addition, we also offers a Level 2 (GCSE Level) qualification in Global Business Communication, in which students develop their French skills within a business context. These qualifications join our current A-level offer, which includes A-level French, German and Spanish.

Vice Principal, Marian Curran commented, “As a College we strongly believe in offering a broad and wide curriculum for all of our students, whilst also taking into account both local and national needs. Our language provision is a key part of meeting those needs and also the different aspirations and interests of all of our students. Our young adults have many different interests and talents and we want to ensure that we nurture these rather than close down possible progression routes.”

Although there has been a decline in the teaching of French and German across the country, the insightful BBC study highlights a noticeable surge in the popularity of other languages, such as Mandarin.

As we continue to improve our provision, whist simultaneously analysing global development and preparing our students for the modern world, St Brendan’s is keen to develop its relationship with Chinese schools. Recently we hosted a week-long cultural experience for our students and a cohort of 25 visiting Chinese students and we look to continue offering international experiences for all of our students; preparing them for life in a competitive and increasingly globalised world market. 

*Jeffreys, B. (2019). Language learning: German and French drop by half in UK schools. BBC News, [online]. Available at: [Accessed 10.03.2019].