These are the 10 most important languages of the future for British people

The top 10 languages for the future, according to a British Council report, are predicted as being:

1 Spanish

2 Arabic

3 French

4 Mandarin Chinese

5 German

6 Portuguese

7 Italian

8 Russian

9 Turkish

10 Japanese

French has consistently dominated the language scene in UK schools, showing the greatest take-up at GCSE and A level. The biggest loser after Labour's decision in 2004 to remove languages as compulsory for 14 to 16-year-olds, was German, which was in second place in the nation's schools up until 2006, when it was overtaken by Spanish. Spanish is now offered at degree level by more than 70 universities – compared with 60 offering German.

The spotlight was thrown on Mandarin as the language of the future in 2010, when the schools secretary, Ed Balls, said that he wanted at least one school in every area to offer it as a subject at secondary level.

Meanwhile Arabic has risen steadily in popularity, with GCSE take-up increasing by 82 per cent between 2002 and 2012.

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