61% of GCSE pupils at local schools are studying a foreign language

National average is of 74%. More need to be done to promote language learning, says Schools Minister Stephen Twigg.

LEA with the lowest levels
LEA
Percentage of 15 year olds attempting either French, German or Spanish
Tower Hamlets
35
Barking and Dagenham
37
Manchester
48
Nottingham,City of
50
Southwark
51
Hackney
52
Haringey
54
Stoke on Trent
55
Leicester City
57
Merton
57
Greenwich
58
Birmingham
59
Redcar and Cleveland
59
Kingston upon Hull
59
Isle of Wight
60
H&F
61
Sandwell
61
Blackpool
61
Waltham Forest
61
Luton
61
Westminster,City of
61
Southend
61
Coventry
61
Knowsley
61


The Number and Percentage of 15 year old
students in each LEA attempting French,
German and Spanish in 2001/02

61% of 15-year-old pupils at local schools are studying a foreign language, according to regional figures released last week by Schools Minister Stephen Twigg. The figures show that Hammersmith and Fulham is bellow the national average of 74% of pupils learning a foreign language and it is among the lowest levels compared with 149 LEA in the country. Only 15 LEA have lower percentages.

Mr Twigg has published figures on the number of pupils studying French, German or Spanish throughout England, and highlighted the need to do more to promote language learning at an earlier age in the schools.

The figures give a breakdown of the percentage of all 15-year-old pupils in each Local Education Authority who took at least one of the three languages at GCSE last year. They also reveal the percentage of pupils who took each of the three languages.

The majority of pupils in Hammersmith and Fulham that are studying a foreign language prefer French. 473 pupils are learning French, 44% of a total of 1085 15 years-olds pupils in Hammersmith and Fulham LEA. 15% of local students are learning Spanish and 10% went for German.

Nationally, 74% of all 15-year-old pupils taking GCSEs last year studied at least one modern foreign language. More than half of last year's GCSE pupils studied French (51%), 21% studied German, and 8% took Spanish.
 
Hammersmith and Fulham LEA
Number of 15 year olds
Number of 15 year olds attempting French
Percentage of 15 year olds in each LEA attempting French
No 15 year olds attempting German
Percentage of 15 year olds in each LEA attempting German
No 15 year olds attempting Spanish
Percentage of 15 year olds in each LEA attempting Spanish
No 15 year olds attempting either French, German or Spanish
Percentage of 15 year olds attempting either French, German or Spanish
1085
473
44
103
10
166
15
665
61



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 existing qualifications
o New training opportunities for teaching a foreign language will be developed so that language speakers can work with teachers in classrooms.
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)

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