Latest News

A selection of language-related news. Does not claim to be comprehensive or represent the views of SCILT.


Alarm raised over modern language cuts at Manchester University

20 May 2017 (Guardian)

Planned staffing cuts that will hit modern languages teaching and research at Britain’s largest university should be scrapped, a group of senior academics have warned in a letter to the Guardian. The plan to shed as many as 35 jobs from the University of Manchester’s school of arts – a third of its strength – would do harm to the UK in the long run, they said.


A-levels choice 'reduced by funding squeeze'

27 October 2016 (BBC News)

Funding pressures mean pupils at sixth-form colleges in England must choose from an increasingly narrow range of A-level subjects, a study has found.

The Sixth Form Colleges Association's annual survey suggests two-thirds of colleges have had to drop courses.

[..] Over a third of colleges (39%) have dropped courses in modern foreign languages...


Foreign languages A-level slump blamed on cuts

18 August 2016 (BBC News)

A sharp decline in entries to modern foreign language A-levels has been blamed by head teachers on severe funding pressures.

Entries to A-levels in French have dropped by 6.4% from last year, in German by 4.2% and in Spanish by 2.7%.

Malcolm Trobe of the ASCL heads' union said schools and colleges were finding it hard to run courses with small pupil numbers, due to funding shortages.

The government replied that it had been encouraging pupils to take languages.

This is mainly through the English Baccalaureate - the wrap-around qualification which requires pupils to sit a range of certain GCSES including a language.


Related Links

A level results 2016: Which subjects did students do the best and worst in? (The Telegraph, 18 August 2016) - despite a decline in numbers taking foreign languages, more than a third of students taking German and French achieved an A or A* this year.

A-level results: Squeezed budgets cutting AS-level choice and language entries, heads warn (TES, 18 August 2016)

Pupils shun English and physics A-levels as numbers with highest grades fall (The Guardian, 19 August 2016) [..] But it was the steep decline in entries for French, down by 6.5% on the year, as well as German and Spanish, that set off alarm bells over the poor state of language teaching and take-up in Britain’s schools.

A-level results show that standards remain high, but languages are a cause for concern (The Independent, 18 August 2016)

Number of pupils taking languages at record low (The Times, 19 August 2016)

ALL Statement on A Level results 2016 (ALL, 18 August 2016)

British Academy responds to A-Level results (British Academy, 18 August 2016)

University language departments 'at risk' as recruitment slumps (THE, 19 August 2016)

The role of schools in building community links through languages

28 March 2014 (The Guardian)

(Applies to England) Schools play a key role in the community, but the devolution of budgets has put funding for specialist language services at risk.


Modern languages in Wales - House of Lords Debate

25 February 2014 (CILT Cymru)

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Modern Languages, chaired by the Baroness Jean Coussins, will hold a debate on the challenges facing MFL in Wales at the House of Lords at 16.00 on March 12th. Amongst the speakers will be Ceri James, Director of CILT Cymru, Professor Claire Gorrara, Chair of the Routes into Languages Cymru project and Sarah Grain of Eriez Magnetics Ltd. Following 3 short presentations there will be an opportunity for guests to ask questions and take part in the debate. If you wish to be added to the guest list for this event, please contact Philip Harding-Esch :

Language learning cash to be cut by two thirds

4 February 2014 (BBC News)

The National Centre for Languages (CILT Cymru) - which encourages children to learn foreign languages - is having its funding slashed by two thirds. BBC Wales understands that Cardiff-based Cilt Cymru will have its government funding reduced from around £600,000 to around £200,000 in the financial year starting in April. The Conservatives have attacked the Welsh government's decision. But ministers say in a time of austerity they have to prioritise.


Exclusive: Core A-level courses scrapped after Michael Gove cuts £100m from sixth-form colleges

3 February 2014 (The Independent)

Michael Gove will be embroiled in a fresh controversy on Monday as it emerges that his department’s savage spending cuts have forced sixth-form colleges to scrap A-level courses in core subjects such as languages and maths, regarded by the Government as crucial to the future of Britain’s economy.


Call to set aside cash for school language skills

6 September 2013 (The Herald)

Plans to expand foreign language teaching in Scotland face being undermined by the lack of overseas assistants in the classroom, it has been claimed.

The warning follows figures that show a lack of progress in boosting the numbers of native language speaking staff in schools.  Now the British Funding Council has called for funding for the assistants to be ring-fenced in an attempt to improve the uptake. Councils have employed only 70 foreign language assistants for the 2013/14 school year despite a campaign to increase their use.

Before the onset of council cuts, Scottish schools employed hundreds of the assistants - native speaking staff who work to bring language learning alive, as well as fine-tuning comprehension and pronunciation.

The foreign language assistant programme, run by British Council Scotland, is funded by the Scottish Government, but the money is no longer specifically set aside and most councils have decided to use funding elsewhere.


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