Tuesday 10 August 2021


  • Uptake of languages at A-level remains relatively steady 
  • Spanish is still the most popular language with Irish now overtaking French as the second most popular language at A-level.


Jonathan Stewart, Director, British Council Northern Ireland, said: 

“Congratulations to those pupils collecting their A-level languages results today for all their hard work. The past year has been extremely challenging for schools and pupils, with recent British Council research highlighting the disruptive impact of Covid-19 on the teaching and learning of languages. 

“It’s encouraging that numbers for A-level languages have remained relatively steady this year, but this has to be seen in the broader context of a huge decline over the past 20 years.

“Spanish is still the most popular A-level language, but for the first time, Irish has overtaken French to become the second most popular language at A-level, which we predicted in our Language Trends survey earlier this year.

“As education begins to recover from the pandemic, it’s essential that schools prioritise language learning and look to build back international opportunities and connections. The benefits of having language skills and an understanding of other cultures cannot be overstated, particularly as the UK renegotiates its place on the world stage.”

Notes to Editor

Read the British Council Language Trends Northern Ireland Survey 2021 here: https://nireland.britishcouncil.org/programmes/education/language-trends...

For further information please contact: 

Claire McAuley, Communications Manager: T +44 (0) 28 9019 2224 | M +44 (0) 7856524504 Claire.McAuley@britishcouncil.org Twitter: @BCouncil_NI, Facebook – www.facebook.com/britishcouncilnorthernireland 

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. In 2019-2020 we reached over 75 million people directly and 758 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive a 14.5 per cent core funding grant from the UK government. www.britishcouncil.org