The Language Trends Survey 2015/2016 is the latest in a series of annual reports on language teaching based on teacher surveys from a representative sample of schools across England. The report covers a range of issues that will be familiar to many teachers. It may come as no surprise that although some primary teachers report that national requirements are already being met in their schools, important challenges remain. These include: 1. insufficient time for languages in the curriculum 2. class teachers’ lack of confidence to teach a language 3. limited access to professional training 4. difficulties in recruiting specialist staff. Perhaps as a result of these challenges, although more secondary schools are starting to modify their practice to accommodate previous learning, there is little evidence so far that they see primary school language teaching as a basis on which to significantly improve standards. The vast majority of teachers responding to this year’s survey are very clear that the teaching of languages at key stage 2 widens pupils’ cultural perspectives, improves their literacy and prepares them for the future. It is interesting to note however that a small number feel that there is no benefit. This is largely due to inadequate preparedness and lack of continuity with secondary schools. About half of primary schools responding to the survey have some contact with secondary language departments, mostly with a single school rather than several. Typically, this contact involves informal exchanges of information and visits, or joint participation in networking meetings. Language learning in state primary schools is mixed, and uneven across the country. This presents a challenge to receiving secondaries because although many pupils do arrive with at least some knowledge of vocabulary and linguistic concepts, others lack any significant experience. Only a minority arrive with a measurable level of competence. At key stage 4, only 20% of schools make languages compulsory. This contrasts with 74% in the independent sector. The most significant barriers to implementing EBacc languages for increased numbers of pupils are: – a reluctance to study a language – the unsuitability of GCSE for all. There is very little sign that the EBacc is increasing post-16 take-up of languages. In addition to the difficulty in obtaining a top grade in a language, many schools report that pupils prefer to choose subjects such as English or maths. Many respondents describe changes to their key stage 3 schemes of work and assessments in order to reflect new GCSE requirements. Some plan to give pupils additional preparation time by beginning GCSE courses in Year 9. These new examinations (intended to be more rigorous) are being introduced before key stage 2 pupils who have studied a language as a compulsory subject have reached key stage 4. Over half of respondents expect that this will lead to more homework and independent study. Evidence shows that the new look A-levels (due to be taught from September 2016) are likely to further reduce an already declining take-up of languages. Issues about content, harshness of marking and the elitist image of languages are of particular concern. These are only some of the main headlines from the Language Trends Survey 2015/2016. The situation of less widely taught languages is presented for the first time and case studies highlight examples of good practice in language teaching. Whether you agree or disagree with any of the points raised in the survey, and have examples of your own experiences, we would love to hear from you! Language Trends Report 2015/2016, Teresa Tinsley and Kathryn Board OBE, British Council and Education Development Trust, April 2016 https://www.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/language_trends_survey_2016.pdf