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Requirements for Languages Confusing Teachers

Wednesday 2nd March 2011

Making languages optional but also a prerequisite for the English Bacc is too contradictory says recruiter

More needs to be done to encourage young people to study languages and there must be a clearer policy when it comes to languages in education. That’s the message from specialist multilingual recruitment consultancy, Euro London Appointments.

Since 2004, studying a language at GCSE has been optional, however the new English Baccalaureate will only be awarded to students that take GCSEs in language subjects. Furthermore, there are set to be changes to the way league tables are calculated to encourage more students to take languages, and Universities like UCL will soon only consider applicants who have studied a language at GCSE level.

With schools and students both unsure of where they stand when it comes to language learning, Euro London says that the current situation is too contradictory and that languages should again become compulsory to ensure the UK remains competitive and that British students get the best future job prospects.

“As business becomes increasingly international, languages have become a crucial skill for employers” comments managing director of Euro London Appointments, Steve Shacklock. “However we are giving young people such mixed messages when it comes to studying languages. One minute languages are optional but then they won’t get the English Bac without them – it’s backtracking, and a case of a bit too little, too late.”

“We’re finding less and less British graduates with strong language skills as those that took their GCSEs once languages were no longer compulsory are now coming out of the education system. But this needs to change if we want young people to have the best chance of finding a job and if we want British business to remain competitive.”


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