To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement about the joint matriculation board's report on the number of pupils taking O and A-level examinations in French.
The 1986–87 annual report of the Joint Matriculation Board shows a decrease in the number of French A level candidates, but an increase in the proportion taking French 0-level and joint O-level/CSE. Comparable figures for all examination boards are not yet available. Under the Government's proposals for a national curriculum, a modern foreign language is a foundation subject at secondary level and will therefore form part of the curriculum for all pupils between the ages of 11 and 16. We expect the majority to want to offer it for public examination at age 16 and hope that the greater numbers studying a language to age 16 will also result in an increase in those continuing their studies to A or AS-level.