The number of 16-year old pupils opting to take Spanish GCSE leapt by 10 per cent, while the decline in French and German study is slowing.

Experts put the increase in numbers, which reverses a long decline, down to the introduction of the English Baccalaureate.

Education Secretary Michael Gove brought in the new standard, which recognises pupils who take five academic GCSEs – English, Maths, History or Geography, Science and a language.

What are the implications for the early teaching of modern languages in primary schools?