Rutland (89%), West Berkshire (87%),
Poole (87%) and Bolton (87%) have some of the best records in
the country for numbers of pupils studying a foreign language
at GCSE. In London, Sutton and Harrow with 83% of its pupils learning
a foreign language, Barnet with 82%, Bromley (81%) and Kensington
and Chelsea and Richmond upon Thames (80%) have the best performances.
Mr Twigg said: "We want to
work with LEAs throughout the country to encourage more pupils
than ever before to take up a foreign language and develop an
interest in other nations' cultures. This is important for the
pupils' development, and the country as a whole, with more than
half of UK worldwide trade being with Europe."
He added: "I'm particularly
keen that we do more to increase the teaching of Spanish. Last
year, people living in the UK made 12.6 million visits to Spain.
Spanish is the second most spoken European international business
language behind English. And yet, only 8 per cent of pupils doing
GCSEs in England's maintained schools took Spanish as one of their
subjects in 2002."
"Our National Languages Strategy
aims to give every primary pupil aged 7 to 11 the chance to learn
at least one foreign language by the end of the decade. We recently
announced 19 LEAs which are going to pioneer how we do this, and
by working with them we can foster a culture of excellence for
languages in this country. "
The National Languages Strategy,
Languages for All - Languages for Life: A Strategy for England
was published on 18 December 2002. It is backed by funding which
will rise to £10 million a year by 2005/6.
It sets out the Government's plans to transform the nation's capability
in languages. The main aims are:
o All pupil aged 7-11 year old should have the opportunity to
learn a foreign language, at least partly in class time, by the
end of the decade.
o A new recognition system for language learners to sit alongside
o New training opportunities for teaching a foreign language will
be developed so that language speakers can work with teachers
o Employers to be encouraged to support language learning.
o Setting up19 Pathfinder LEAs to start in September 2003, including
Hammersmith & Fulham (read also: A
"revolution" in our schools: Introduction of language
learning in local primary schools)