In the last 20 years, there has been a continuing decline in modern foreign language students in the UK. The number of students studying at a GCSE level has more than halved and only about 20 per cent are studying an A-Level.

But why is this?

Lilia Crothers, head of Spanish at Peter Symonds College, said it is due to a lack of interest from students caused by society’s focus on STEM subjects - especially at a GCSE level. This means languages often get left behind.

 She said: “Learning a language is just like learning to play an instrument - you have to love it.”

And with a rapidly increasing English-speaking business world, the requirement for students in the UK to learn a foreign language is diminished.

Lilia truly believes that to “spark” interest in language lessons, students should have the ability to explore the culture of the country in topics such as traditions, music and film as it “brings alive the beauty” of the language.

To expose students to different cultures, Peter Symonds runs annual trips for them based on the language they are learning. For example, Spanish students have the opportunity to go to Seville in Spain. They also provide weekly speaking sessions with a native speaker to improve their student’s communication skills.

In a globally business-orientated society, communication skills are vital which is why UK students being able to speak foreign languages can set them ahead of others. Increasing employability rates and obtaining transferable skills are just two of the reasons why students should feel empowered to learn foreign languages at a GCSE and A-Level.

  • This article was written by Millie Underwood, from Peter Symonds College, as part of Newsquest's Young Reporter scheme.