Figures for GCSE entries published today show a 6% fall in the number of pupils taking languages GCSEs, providing further evidence that the positive effect of the EBacc performance measure is tailing off. Numbers taking French, German and Spanish rose in 2013 in response to the EBacc measure announced in 2011, but have since started to fall. Numbers taking German have dropped by 10% this year and even Spanish, a language which has been performing relatively well, has seen a 2% decline in entries this year. Numbers for French fell by 6% compared to 2014.
Entries for other languages show a mixed picture. The most popular of these – Italian, Urdu, Polish, Chinese, Arabic and Russian (see graphic 1/2), have all grown since 2011, but Russian has fallen back this year after four years of steady growth. Chinese, Polish and Arabic have all see large percentage increases since 2011, whilst Italian has declined over the last two years.
In the middle tier in terms of number of entries (graphic 2/2), Portuguese and Turkish have grown over the 5 year period, whereas Bengali, Japanese and Panjabi have all declined, confirmed a longer term trend.
Figures for the very small entry languages, Gujarati, Persian, Dutch, Modern Greek and Modern Hebrew, are given in the chart below.