• Number of pupils taking languages in Northern Ireland remains relatively stable – with overall language entries declining by 0.3 per cent from 2018
• Combined total of pupils taking the four main languages – French, Spanish, German and Irish – is just 4.1 per cent, compared to 10.2 per cent for maths, the most popular A level.
• Results highlight a gender divide, with a lower proportion of boys taking languages than girls:
- Spanish: 1.1% male; 2% female
- French: 0.8% male; 1.6% female
- Irish: 0.7 % male; 1.30% female
- German: 0.2% male; 0.3% female
Jonathan Stewart, British Council Northern Ireland Director said: “Congratulations to all students who received their A Level results today.
“It’s encouraging that the number of pupils taking languages this year has remained relatively stable, but this is against the background of a marked decline over the last eight years. It’s clear that we need to help more young people understand the value of learning a modern language.
“These results reflect the findings in our recent Language Trends Northern Ireland report, which found that that the number of pupils in Northern Ireland learning languages continues to fall, due to a number of reported barriers to language learning.
“More work needs to be done to improve the positive messaging around languages and understand why fewer boys see the advantage of learning languages.
“Learning a language doesn’t just boost job prospects by providing vital skills that employers are looking for, it also helps us understand other cultures and work internationally. We all need to encourage our young people to see the value of languages and embrace them as important subjects to study at A Level and beyond.”