Spanish overtakes French as most popular foreign language A-level

Spanish has leapfrogged French for the first time to become the most popular foreign language A-level.

The language has been growing in popularity over recent years, while other languages, such as French and German have been in decline.

One Spanish cultural leader said he believed there was a “growing perception” of the importance of the Spanish-speaking world.

EDUCATION Alevels
(PA Graphics)

In total, there were 8,625 entries for A-level Spanish this year – up 4.3% on last year, according to data published by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ).

In comparison, French entries fell 3.8% to 8,355.

And there were 3,033 entries for A-level German, down 0.7% on 2018.

Ignacio Peyro, director of Instituto Cervantes, the official Spanish language and cultural centre said there had been concern in recent years about students taking foreign languages at GCSE and A-level.

But he added: “For us, of course it’s very positive that Spanish is growing and I think that it is in a global country like the UK, there’s a growing perception that the Spanish-speaking world is becoming more important in terms of demography, economy, trade, culture and so on.

“Who would have thought that 20 or 30 years ago that this was going to happen?” Mr Peyro said, pointing out that at that time, other languages such as French were more commonly taught.

“Spanish was in a very different place at that time.”

Mr Peyro also said it was “good to study any foreign language, better than none”.

“I hope that all foreign languages will soon be on the rise again in Britain,” he added.

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