According to Andrew Hall, Chief Executive of the AQA exam board, Spanish is set to become the “dominant language” taught in UK schools. He says, “I think more and more people are speaking Spanish. I think students recognize that it is a very important language to have.”
Reports from examiners have shown a rise in the number of students taking GCSE Spanish whereas numbers sitting French and German exams have dropped. According to The Telegraph, the number of pupils who sat GCSE Spanish this year increased by nearly 2,000 to a total of 93,000, a record high. This is a 50% increase over the past ten years and almost three times the number in the 80’s.
It is thought that the popularity of Spanish football with high profile stars such as Argentinian striker, Lionel Messi, is attracting students to the Spanish language. Andrew Hall, head of the AQA refers to this as “The Messi Effect” with Messi driving students across the UK to learn Spanish.
Greater exposure to Spanish culture; through music and food have also contributed to this rise in popularity of the Spanish language.
Students and their parents are soon catching on to the fact that Spanish is perhaps the most important language to learn for business with trade opening up in South American countries. In the Independent, Lesley Davis, Vice-President of Pearson (which owns the Edexcel exam board) highlights the importance of Spanish to UK businesses: “We know it’s becoming an increasingly important language for business with our recent Pearson/CBI Skills Survey showing that half of employers want Spanish speakers.”
Brian Lightman, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders says that students tend to find Spanish an easier language to grasp, “It is similar to our language in many ways. It’s quite a straightforward structure. They find French more difficult, particularly because of the accent and so on.”
Spain is still a top travel destination for families all year round. Many children that I teach have relatives living in Spain and go over for regular visits. This exposure to the language gives them an incentive to learn in order to be able to speak and understand local people and to make friends.
More related stories: GCSE Results: Spanish to become dominant language in UK schools.
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