Languages in English Secondary Schools Post-Brexit
This chapter argues that language learning in English secondary schools is still on the brink of crisis. There is a serious shortfall in the take up of languages at GCSE and A level, with damaging consequences for languages at degree level. Decreases in participation in languages beyond the age of 14 are increasingly associated with socio-economic disadvantage, poverty and areas of the country affected by economic deterioration. The chapter traces the historical patterns of language learning in schools and the educational factors that have contributed to its decline, including the perception that languages are difficult and lead to poor examination outcomes. It examines recent policy initiatives to include a language in the English Baccalaureate, the importance of European programmes in supporting language learning and the likely impact of Brexit. It suggests actions that can help to ensure future language capacity in England.