MFL Needs Some Serious TLC

6 Sept 2017, 17:04


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MFL GCSE entries have halved in the last 20 years.

The number of students taking modern foreign languages at GCSE level has been steadily declining since the 1990s. French language and German language have taken a hit, however, there are some signs of promise for the future...

The 2000/2001 school year was the all-time peak for French and German entries, with 321,000 and 131,000 students respectively, whilst the numbers have fluctuated, the overall trend shows a large drop in the popularity of MFLs up to the present day. This past 2017 exam season saw an all-time low in the number of students taking French at GCSE (130,509).

However, one language in the standard MFL curriculum looks to be on the rise: Spanish! In the last 20 years, the language has risen in popularity, from 5% of all pupils taking Spanish Language at GCSE in 1995 to a more impressive 14% as of 2015.

MFL entries at GCSE across all schools in England

 

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(Data source: House of Commons Library, Telegraph online)

How can we reverse this overall downward trend in MFL?

In a world where we have the technology to translate speech and text at our fingertips - young people need to be shown the advantages of having a real understanding and knowledge of foreign languages firsthand and to be celebrated for their skills and victories in their studies. What better way to re-engage students than immersing them on an educational school trip?

Château de la Baudonnière is our very own French language immersion school centre in Normandy. It has established itself as the premier French Chateau destination for UK schools by leading MFL teachers. Everything done at the Chateau involves using practical spoken French, led by our team of specially trained native speaking 'Animateurs'. Our team help students to understand French in a truly authentic and enriching environment, one which they thrive in. A second language immersion programme with the same values runs close by at another Voyager owned centre, La Grand' Ferme.

As one of our party leaders said; "The classroom situation is always artificial to some degree. [At the Château] my pupils know it's for real. If they know that when they want something, they have to ask for it in French, they will do it!"

Time to take a step out of the classroom? Leave us a quick note

It's a formula that works!

school trip to Germany is an increasingly popular choice for schools cross-curricular. Gaining experience speaking German in its motherland is invaluable. From the idyllic scenery of the Rhineland to the urban city centres, Germany isn’t only a fantastic destination for German language students. Between History, Politics and Music, the culturally renowned Berlin boasts benefits for all students.

We also run an adventure Spanish language school trip at the Arbolar centre in Murcia. Our team of native speaking ‘Monitors’ combine exciting activities with totally immersive learning. Students push themselves and improve their language skills by using them in situ, and conquer fears on our fleet of watersports equipment. We also send schools to Barcelona, Madrid and Granada.

"Talking Spanish in real life situations is so different to anything we do in lessons. I feel more confident speaking Spanish now." - Spanish Language GCSE Student, Year 10

Let's plan a trip they'll remember. #BeThatTeacher who puts MFL back on the map.


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