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“Non. Nein. No – The language crisis in British schools,” leads theIndependent. For the first time ever, the London daily reveals, “French has slipped out of the top 10 of the most popular subjects at GCSE” (the General Certificate of Second Education, generally taken at the age of sixteen). Only one in four youngsters now take French, a drop from 341,604 students in 2002 to 177,618. In the same period German slumped nearly 50% from 130,976 to 70,619. “The decline in languages began at the beginning of the decade and accelerated as a result of the Government's decision to make the subject voluntary for 14- to 16-year-olds,” the Independent notes. The only postitive trend is an increased interest in Spanish – which is now taking over from German as the second-most popular language (after French) in schools.