HC Deb 21 July 1986 vol 102 c18
16. Mr. Grist

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what proportion of 16-year-old school pupils in Wales achieve grades A to C at 0-level in foreign languages.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Wyn Roberts)

An answer cannot be given in the precise terms requested. In 1985 there were 13,566 6-year old pupils in Welsh schools. In the same year there were 4,141 passes at grades A to C in foreign languages. However, some pupils taking or re-taking 0-levels were over 16, and some sat more than one foreign language examination.

Mr. Grist

Does my hon. Friend nevertheless agree that the overall figures for Wales, as in the rest of the United Kingdom, are deeply disturbing and quite extraordinarily poor in a European context? What will his Department do to try to persuade young people of the value of foreign languages in economic as well as in cultural terms?

Mr. Roberts

My hon. Friend will know that my right hon. Friends have published a draft statement of policy on foreign languages in the school curriculum. I agree that there is plenty of scope for further teaching and learning of foreign languages. There is spare teaching capacity in foreign languages and new opportunities are presented by the advanced secondary courses. Further, many sixth forms undertaking foreign languages are comparatively empty.

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