Article Details

Article Details

Key data on teaching languages at school in Europe

Author: European Commission
Publisher: European Commission
Date of Publication: May 2017

Key messages:

  • Children are starting to learn foreign languages at an increasingly early age in Europe, with most pupils beginning as a compulsory subject when they are 6-7 years old.
  • The amount of teaching time dedicated to language learning in the primary curricula remains modest in most countries; 5-10% of total instruction time.
  • An increasing number of pupils now learn a second additional language at lower secondary level. Learning a second additional language is not compulsory in all countries, but it is an entitlement in many. 
  • English is by far the most taught additional language in nearly all European countries (97.3% EU student in lower secondary), with French (33.3%), German (23.1%) and Spanish (13.1%) following far behind.


Posted in: ADES
University of Strathclyde Education Scotland British Council Scotland The Scottish Government
SCILT - Scotlands National centre for Languages