Do You Have to Do a Language at GCSE?

It is important to know which subjects are compulsory at GCSE in the area you live in and the school you are studying in. There are different subjects that you can take during your GCSE qualifications. One such subject is language. You can study different languages including French and German in your language GCSE. But the question here is, is it compulsory to do a language at GCSE?

Quick Takeaways

  • It is not compulsory to take up the language at the GCSE level. The government has made it compulsory to study only English and Maths at the GCSE level. 
  • However, you may have to study it depending on your school. It is because some of the schools have made it compulsory to take it at the GCSE level.
  • In some parts like in Wales, it is important to take Welsh along with these two subjects. 

Further, we have explained in more depth if it is important for you to do language or not, make sure to read till the end so that you do not miss any facts.

Is it important to do a language at GCSE?

Ideally, according to the government, you do not need to take language as your GCSE. However, every country in the UK has its own compulsory subjects in terms of GCSEs. Maths and English are the two main subjects that are compulsory to take in your GCSEs.

However, some countries and schools may have kept some particular languages compulsory to study during the GCSEs. Thus it is important to do proper research while choosing the subject you want to take. By reading the following points you can find in which countries it is important to take a language at GCSE-

  • In England, you need to take maths and English at your GCSE level. However, there is no compulsion of taking up any other language.
  • For Wales, it is important to take the Welsh language along with the English language during your GCSEs. This is because Welsh is the official language of Wales along with English. However, you must remember that you do not need to study any foreign language in Wales.

  • In Northern Ireland, it is important to study only three subjects including English, Maths, and Science. It means that you will not need to study any other language than English.
  • If we talk about Scotland, again it only needs you to have similar compulsory subjects i.e English and maths. You again do not need to compulsory study language in GCSE.

What are the Benefits of taking up Language GCSE?

Following are the benefits of taking this GCSE-

  • You can easily Interact with students from different countries. This will help you to increase your network with people across the world.
  •  You can get a lot of good job offers as almost every business organization wants to grow their business all over the world. There are a lot of different jobs that you can get like a translator with the help of a language GCSE.
  • You get to know new things and explore different types of language. When you are doing language GCSE you will have to study the different content in the subject.
  • It helps you to gain transferable skills important for your career growth. Not only this but the skills that you get through this Qualification will help you in your personal life also.
  • If you’re thinking of travelling to new cities and countries, taking up a language GCSE will help you to communicate with them easily.

What are the drawbacks of taking up a Language GCSE?

Following are the drawbacks of taking this GCSE-

  • As the course content is totally new to you, you will have to spend a lot more time on this subject.
  • You may find the course content boring and eventually lose interest in the subject. 
  • This subject is equally tough to science and maths, and thus you may not be able to do it if you are already struggling with science and maths. 
  • If you are in a private school, you may not find this subject as a compulsory subject. It is because they will focus on more popular subjects.

Is it worth doing a language GCSE?

Now as you have read the benefits and drawbacks of taking up a foreign language, it will become easy for you to understand whether it is worth doing this subject or not. If you are really interested in learning a new language, you must take modern language as your choice for GCSE. Though it is not compulsory to take language GCSE, it is definitely a good idea to take it up. GCSE languages are a great subject if you love to explore new things. You may have the choice of choosing up GCSE in languages like French, Spanish, etc. You can choose whichever you want and get the GCSE certificate from the school.

Are language GCSEs hard?

To be honest, when you are studying language as your GCSEs, you will have to learn totally new content. This makes it one of the hardest subjects to take up in GCSE. You will have to give it more time to understand and learn the concepts. This means that if you have taken more hard subjects like science, it will be hard for you to manage the syllabus of all the subjects.

However, if you are really interested in learning a new language you must take it. As you already know that taking up this course has a lot of benefits, you must take it if you can manage to study it with the other main subjects. 


Choosing the subjects at GCSE is tough as it is the first qualification that you are working on. Maths and English are two such subjects that are compulsory to take at GCSE. This means that taking up language is not compulsory to take at the GCSE level. However, in Wales, it is compulsory to take Welsh along with these two subjects. Similarly in North Ireland, you need to take science along with maths and English. However, you must remember that every school has its own rules and every school has its own compulsory subjects to take up.