Growing numbers of secondary schools are failing to offer any languages post-14 in Birmingham, education chiefs warned last night.
Rona Heald, the city's language co-ordinator, said the trend was a result of the Government scrapping a requirement to teach them at GCSE level in 2004.
Increasing numbers of schools have responded by abolishing language departments, denying pupils their legal "entitlement" to study the subject, she warned.
"It has been asked if there are no pupils studying language at Key Stage Four does that mean there is no entitlement?" said Ms Heald.
"I have to say that is probably the case. Sometimes there are very few pupils wanting to take a language beyond Key Stage Three. Sometimes these numbers aren't viable to provide the entitlement."
A report into language provision in Birmingham presented to councillors highlighted: "in a small percentage of schools no language teaching was taking place in one or both of the Key Stage Four year groups".
It went on to say: "It can be inferred that, in some schools, there is no entitlement to language learning post-14."
The new concern over the demise of language teaching comes in the wake of a study last year that found half of the city's secondaries had "significantly" cut provision to pupils.
The research by the education authority said there were two unnamed secondaries which had completely stopped teaching foreign language at GCSE level. Inquiries by The Birmingham Post revealed one of them was St Paul's Community Foundation School in Balsall Heath.
The report also found evidence of an exodus of language teachers from schools that had no intention of replacing them and warned reduced uptake could be down to schools steering pupils to "easier" subjects to boost league table positions.
The Government has responded by promising to introduce new measures from September to halt the decline in language learning.
Schools Minister and Red-ditch MP Jacqui Smith last week wrote to all schools demanding they: l Set a benchmark of at least 50 per cent of pupils studying languages leading to a GCSE or other recognised qualification l Demonstrate to Ofsted they are delivering the statutory entitlement to learn languages l Advise parents about the school's work in teaching languages in their school profile
The Department for Education and Skills said: "It is important that all secondary schools ensure that as many of their pupils as possible are taking up their statutory entitlement to study a foreign language leading to a recognised qualification at Key Stage Four."
But the existence of an entitlement rather than a requirement was likely to prove difficult to enforce, warned Ms Heald.
"Secondary school heads will have their own views," she said.
"The issue is how do we encourage schools to issue that entitlement. I can foresee a number of schools saying this is not for us. It is our job within the city to say 'yes it is'."
The authority has now put together a language strategy aimed at promoting learning in the city.
A steering group will also be established to boost provision and help schools struggling to fulfil their entitlement link with others that do. ..SUPL: