Foreign language and science subjects in Welsh schools have been put on an "endangered list" as take-up has become so low according to two agencies given the task of improving their fortunes.
Language departments at some schools in Wales are in danger of closing, while the number of students taking maths and physics continues to decline according to STEMNET, a body set-up to inspire pupils to learn science, technology and engineering and CILT Cymru, an organisation which aims to promote the learning of languages.
The two bodies are now sending "ambassadors" into classes to prove science and languages can lead to a world of opportunities.
One of those ambassadors is scientist Jana Witt from Germany, who is studying for a PhD in Cardiff and is working with 14-15 year-old pupils at Cowbridge Comprehensive.
A recent report by the charity The Campaign for Science and Engineering highlighted some key issues regarding Wales which include:
- Negative perceptions of STEM subjects - among teachers, pupils and school authorities.
- Proportion of learners in Wales taking sciences and maths at A-level significantly below the rest of the UK.
- Lack of take-up of some STEM subjects by women - such as engineering and computer science.
CILT Cymru says it's highlighted a number of reasons for the decline in the take up of languages which include:
- Pupils are faced with choosing from 30 subject options at 14
- Modern Foreign Languages are not compulsory in Wales
- The message from businesses about the need for foreign language ability has not been clear enough.
A Welsh Government says it wants to foster a passion for STEM subjects and recognises the benefits of learning a language.