Amongst the largest falls in entries in 2008 were French, down by 14,778 to 201,940, or 6.8 per cent. Entries for German were down by 4,366 to 76,695, or 5.4 per cent.
GCSE blow for languages
However, entries in Spanish continued to rise, by 3,114 to 67,092 , up 4.9 per cent.
In 2004, pupils were allowed to drop languages in Key Stage 4, the two GCSE years. Since then the numbers taking a GCSE qualification have fallen from about three quarters of the age group to half, with the biggest decline being in state comprehensives.
Thursday January 10 2008:
In the 2007 GCSEs, German entries were down by 10.2% to 81,061 and French down by 8.2% to 216,718. Spanish entries rose by 3% to 63,978 and other modern languages rose 5.5% to 30,794.
August 26, 2005:
Formally, the obligation to study a foreign language at GCSE ended only last September. But the Government turned a blind eye as schools took advantage of the flexible rules allowing them to make languages optional a year early. The results have been devastating, with French down by 46,000, or 14.4 per cent, compared with 2004 while entries for German have fallen by nearly 17,000 or 13.7 per cent.
Thursday August 22 2002:
Languages appeared to be the biggest loser, however, as entries for German fell by 6.6% (to 126,216 from 135,133 last year) and French down by 2.5% (to 338,468 from 347,007 last year). The only modern language to buck this trend was Spanish, where entries rose for the third year running - to 57,983 from 54,326 last year, but still represented only one per cent of all GCSE entries. This year French entries accounted for 6% of the total - down from 6.2% last year - while German also slipped by 0.2% to 2.2% from 2.4% last time. Even in the GCSE short courses, entries were down in French and German though slightly up in Spanish.