ASCL comment on gender gap in foreign languages

27/01/2020
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the report from the British Council and Education Policy Institute on the gender gap in foreign languages
 
Commenting on the report from the British Council and Education Policy Institute on the gender gap in foreign languages, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“Despite the best efforts of schools to dispel gender stereotypes, the fact remains that more girls choose creative arts and language GCSEs, more boys choose computing and technology subjects, and the attainment of boys lags behind girls in general.

“Schools are doing their utmost to address these issues and we welcome the research findings in this report in respect of languages.

“There is a particular problem with the take-up of languages because the government has tried to drive up entry rates through the use of school performance measures without addressing the fact that schools are desperately short of teachers and funding, and the grading of language GCSEs and A levels is too severe.

“We are pleased that exams regulator Ofqual has recently decided to make grading less severe in GCSE French and German and we are continuing to press for similar action at A level. Beyond this we need a national strategy to revive languages which is based on encouraging a love of these subjects and which is properly resourced in terms of teachers and funding.”