Languages are critical for young people as part of a rounded curriculum

“Offering languages is an essential part of a rounded curriculum for young people and helps them to have a greater appreciation for the wider world around them” according to Dr Catherine Richards, Principal of East Norfolk Sixth Form College, the only post-16 institution to offer French, German and Spanish at A level.

It follows the results of a BBC investigation that shows Foreign language learning is at its lowest level in UK secondary schools since the turn of the millennium, with German and French falling the most. The BBC analysis shows declines of between 30% and 50% since 2013 in the numbers taking GCSE language courses in the worst affected areas in England.

Although pressures of funding have affected many sixth form providers offering languages, East Norfolk has continued to offer this wide range and in addition has been offering Japanese and Mandarin which are proving popular with students.

The College also supports students by offering overseas trips, including a recent visit by A level Spanish students to Barcelona and has taken part in celebrations for the Chinese New Year for students learning Mandarin.

Over the past 5 years, the number of young people applying for some of the languages has reduced leading to smaller class sizes, but Trustees and the Senior Management Team are doing everything they can to protect these important subjects.

‘Learning a language helps young people to develop their confidence and be able to explore other countries and cultures, so positively promoting languages continues to be a priority for East Norfolk. We work closely with our local schools to ensure we can offer pathways for languages to A level and then beyond to university’ said Dr Richards.