There has been a great deal in the press of late about the alarming decline in the number of British school pupils studying modern foreign languages at GCSE and, even more so, at A level.

At Downside School the vision is not as blinkered, and the tradition of learning modern foreign languages remains robust. We are lucky to be able still to offer three modern languages, French, German and Spanish, from beginners up to university entrance level. 

Language-learning continues to open doors in almost every field of work, because being able to speak another language says something about you as a person: it says that you are culturally more aware; it says that you are likely to be more tolerant of diversity, with less prejudice towards those who are different; it says that you have improved communication skills, both in speaking and writing; it says that you have good analytical skills, as you would have been trained in grammar, as well as literature; it says that you have good critical thinking skills. 

Business and industries are increasingly looking for people with foreign language competence. Brexit, far from allowing us to become more linguistically insular, will see a rise in the demand for modern linguists, and, as has been widely stated in the press, we must make sure we can meet this demand.

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If you would like to know more about Languages at Downside please email our Head of Modern Languages, Mr Richard Rawlins.