The provisional results for 2012 were published today. They show a further decline in take up of French and German throughout the UK. In England, French entries have fallen to 11298 (down 5.68% on last year) and the figure for the UK is very similar (12511 – a fall of 5.19%). German is down nearly 8% to 4478. Even Spanish which has increased take-up in recent years is down this year (by 3.5%) . This continues the downward trend begun two years ago following a period of relative stability at A level . Since 2010 French entries have fallen by over 9% and German by nearly 14%. This is over a period when overall entries have hardly changed (a small fall of less than 1% this year) and when subjects such as Art, English and History have had increased entries, while the uptake of science has improved dramatically. Physics (5% up this year) now has more candidates than all languages combined.

Also of concern is the decline in AS entries – where only Spanish has shown a small increase. French is down by 9% and German by 11%

The overall figure for languages appears more positive (a small increase since 2010) because of the dramatic increase in entries for “other ” languages. These now total over 9000 for the UK (8786 in England), which is nearly twice as many entries as German and significantly more than Spanish. As well as seeking to understand the factors that have led to such a rapid fall in the traditional languages, it will be important to look further at the growth in “new” languages.

In common with all other subjects and in response to Government policy there has been a small fall in the number of A* and A awards (around 40% for French and German, rather fewer for Spanish and over 50% for “other” languages.