I posted a couple of weeks ago about the Ofsted report that highlighted the limits of language teaching in secondary schools in Britain. Now the Education Secretary has indicated that a modern foreign language may once again become compulsory at GCSE level.

A national curriculum review has just been launched in England, with Education Secretary Michael Gove stating that English, maths and science should be the core subjects pupils should study up to 16. From the BBC News article:

When asked whether he was “leaving the door open” to making modern foreign languages compulsory at GCSE, Mr Gove responded with an emphatic “yes”.

He added: “We have given people a nudge with the English Baccalaureate towards a certain set of academic subjects.”
“Beyond that we want to have an informed debate.”

To gain the English Baccalaureate pupils need good GCSEs in English, maths, science, a modern foreign language, and either history or geography.

Studying for a language GCSE was no longer compulsory after 2004, and the years following saw a large drop in numbers of pupils taking a language, to the dismay of many. The debate will surely continue.