Britain last in Europe for second language fluency

A study by the European Commission shows that Britain is at the bottom of the list for student’s ability to speak a second language. Malta and Sweden scored highly, with 82% of students being able to demonstrate skills in a second language fluently.

Tests were carried out in 14 of the 27 European Union countries. Only 42% of pupils were competent in a second language. It was revealed that British students had a poorer grasp of the basics of a foreign language than pupils in the other nations tested.

The five most widely spoken second languages were:

1) English – 38%

2) French – 12%

3) German – 11%

4) Spanish – 7%

5) Russian – 5%.

“We must do more to improve the teaching and learning of languages,” said education commissioner Androulla Vassiliou. “Being able to communicate in a foreign language broadens your horizons and opens doors.”

The study results come just weeks after the Government announced plans to make languages compulsory in primary schools.

The only problem is, where are all the language teachers going to come from, since so many from previous generations haven’t learned a language sufficiently?