Fresh concerns have been raised over the teaching of foreign languages in Birmingham as it emerged that two secondaries have no pupils studying the subject at GCSE level.

The revelation comes in the wake of a report which found half of the city's secondaries had "significantly" cut provision to pupils in the last year and evidence of an exodus of language teachers from schools that had no intention of replacing them.

The study by the local education authority also claimed a reduced uptake could be down to schools steering pupils to "easier" subjects to boost their league table positions.

The Government has been accused of overseeing a decline in languages since removing the requirement last September for schools to teach them at GCSE level.

The Birmingham report - The Future of Language Teaching in Schools - says: "The changes to statutory arrangements at Key Stage Four have led to a decline in the uptake of languages.

" This may undermine schools' commitment to offer both European and community languages." It claimed a survey had identified two schools - unnamed - no longer teaching foreign language at GCSE level.

Inquiries by The Post have revealed that one of them is St Pauls Community Foundation School in Balsall Heath.

Headteacher John Colwell said: "We don't have a member of staff to teach it here. Languages are something we would like to do but we would need to employ a teacher and need extra resources."

Coun Jon Hunt (Lib Dem Perry Barr), chairman of the authority's education scrutiny committee, said: "It is deeply alarming and it means young people who want to study language aren't getting the chance to do so.

"It is not a specific problem with the schools. The whole system is broken down. Wellmeaning initiatives were brought in and led to language teachers being axed."

Coun Susanna McCorry (Lab Erdington) said: "For 50 per cent of pupils not to be able to access language readily we need to take some direct action."

Angela Adams, associate head of Kings Norton Girls' School and Language College, said: "The trend really worries me. Where will post- 16 linguists come from?" Critics have blamed the Government's "relentless" focus on the core subjects of literacy, numeracy and science for squeezing out languages from secondary schools.

Government is committed to improving provision at primary level enabling every child to learn a foreign language by 2010. The Department for Education and Skills stressed secondary schools must offer languages to any pupil who wants them.