Fewer pupils in Brighton and Hove are learning a foreign language

Posted On 26 Oct 2010 at 7:25 pm

About one in a hundred students preparing to take a foreign language at A level is studying in Brighton and Hove.

The city has one of the highest populations of foreign students learning English.

Now a government minister has revealed that it also has one of the highest populations of domestic students studying foreign languages such as French, Spanish, German and Mandarin.

But the numbers are still small and have raised concerns among educational and business experts that, as a country, we rely too heavily on the widespread use of the English language.

Spacewords Brighton

For example, in Hove and Portslade last year (2009) just 120 students sat an A level exam in a foreign language.

Given that some students may have sat, say, French and Spanish, the number is likely to be lower.

In 2006 just 99 foreign language A levels were taken in Hove and Portslade, the lowest number for a generation.

Across Brighton and Hove the numbers have fallen from 324 in 2003 to 259 last year.

The figures, given in a parliamentary written answer by Schools Minister Nick Gibb, the Conservative MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, do not say how many passed.

In his answer to Hove Tory MP Mike Weatherley, Mr Gibb also revealed that 661 GCSE foreign language exams were taken last year – down from 1,034 in 2002.

Across Brighton and Hove as a whole, the numbers fell from 2,583 in 2002 to 1,418 last year.

One consolation for teachers in Brighton and Hove is that a much higher proportion of pupils locally stick with a foreign language at A level than in the country as a whole.

Mr Weatherley’s question and Mr Gibb’s answer can be seen on the They Work for You website by clicking here and in Hansard by clicking here.

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