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Ofsted identifies barriers to effective MFL provision in key stage 2

Languages education continues to suffer from a variable quality of provision at key stage 2 and curtailed study at key stage 3, Ofsted has said.

The inspectorate’s latest subject research review has sought to identify the factors that make for high-quality languages teaching and provision.

Language uptake at GCSE and A level has been in decline for two decades following the decision in 2004 to make the subject optional at key stage 4. Indeed, GCSE entries have almost halved since 2005.

In a bid to reverse the decline, since 2014 it has been a statutory requirement for primary schools to teach a language to pupils from age seven. The first cohort to receive this teaching made the transition to secondary school in September 2018.

Languages was also made part of the EBacc. However, we have yet to see a significant impact on uptake at GCSE or A level and entries for GCSE languages reduced by 19 per cent between 2014 and 2018 (although there is evidence of a small increase between 2018 and 2019).

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