Ipswich: Foreign languages are second nature for A-level students at Ipswich School

A TOP Ipswich independent school has bucked the national trend after showing a huge rise in the number of students taking foreign language courses – and achieving top marks.

Sixth formers at Ipswich School, which is co-educational and offers day and boarding places, took 32 foreign language exams this year in French, German, Spanish and Russian, compared with 18 language exams taken in 2011 – an increase of 78%.

And of these exams, more than two thirds were awarded an A or A* grade.

Nationally, the figures published by the Joint Council for Qualifications showed a fall in the numbers of pupils taking modern languages – with French, Spanish and German in decline by 5.2%, 3.4% and 7.6% respectively.

Ipswich School headmaster Nicholas Weaver praised the students’ “very strong performances” in the latest A-level exams.

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He said: “The chief executive of exam board AQA has been widely reported in the media as saying ‘there is a crisis here in modern foreign languages’ but I’m pleased to say this is not the case at Ipswich School, with some very strong performances across the whole range of languages studied.

“With over two-thirds of language exams gaining the two highest grades, our students are well prepared for further language study at university, and indeed to play a full part in the future international workplace.”

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The school’s high-flyers include Felix White-Thomson, who achieved three A* grades in French, Russian and English literature, and will be studying French and Russian at Oxford University.

Emily Cashen attained three A grades and has secured a place to study French and Spanish at Manchester University while Charlotte Galley received three A grades and has a place at Nottingham University to study French and Hispanic Studies.

Other top linguists include Madeleine Liner, who attained two A grades and an A* and has a place at UCL to study modern languages, while Robyn Hawley achieved two A grades and an A* and has a place at St Andrew’s University to read French and psychology.

Mr Weaver added: “These grades are the end result of a great deal of effort put in by our pupils over the last two years, and of the parents and staff who have supported them.”

<n>Although the number of British teenagers learning the core European languages fell in this year’s A-levels, there was a modest increase in the take-up of other languages.

Entries for A-level Polish rose from 844 last year to 923, and there were 3,425 entries for Mandarin, compared with 3,237 in 2011. Arabic, and Japanese entries also climbed.

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