With over 100 million people speaking German as their first language German is the most widely spoken language in Western Europe. In these days of the single market and closer European integration, there is an ever-increasing need for young people to be equipped with the skills necessary to communicate with our European partners. Germany is the largest and most influential power in Europe and our biggest trading partner. It has stood at the heart of European history and culture for centuries and an understanding of Germany and the Germans is an important factor for European harmony and cooperation. Indeed the study of German complements the GCSE history course. German music, sport, cinema, design and engineering all enjoy international recognition.