Modern foreign languages
The ability to speak a foreign language is a skill that is much in demand in industry and commerce and also one that our students will find valuable throughout their adult lives.
As well as encouraging excellence in the grammatical and linguistic elements of French, German, Spanish and Mandarin we aim to foster an appreciation of the cultural and historical similarities and differences between English and a student’s chosen language.
High quality teaching and learning in the department have led to increasingly impressive examination results, and we also provide opportunities for students to study languages in non-academic situations via video podcasts, apps, interactive exercises and websites.
Our VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) also provides students and parents with up-to-date digital resources to consolidate the classroom learning, as well as past papers and vocab learning games with specific topic-based themes and examples of exam answers.
Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)
In Year 7, your son/daughter will study French or Spanish (depending on the year of entry) for four lessons per week. Latin is also offered to help students assimilate key grammatical structures more quickly.
In Year 8 and 9, your son/daughter will continue with the first year language (French or Spanish) for two lessons per week, as well as choosing one of the remaining languages (French/German/Latin/Spanish) to be their new language option (three lessons per week).
Modern textbooks and resources are used to ensure that students are challenged and that they develop and hone their reading, listening, speaking and writing skills.
Regardless of language, by the end of Key Stage 3 most students are working at Levels 6-8 in National Curriculum terms. This means that all the requisite aspects of grammar will have been mastered and command of the five tenses will have been attained by most students by the end of Year 9, to ensure they can go on and achieve their highest potential result in terms of GCSE grades.
Key Stage 4
Proficiency in modern languages is becoming more and more important both within the EU and in the wider world and it is a distinct advantage to a student looking to go to university as well as to a graduate in the jobs market.
Our students opt for French, German or Spanish (or a combination of two or three of these) at Key Stage 4 and follow the AQA specification full course GCSE. The language is explored through four key themes: My World, Holiday Time and Travel, Work and Lifestyle, and The Young Person in Society.
The examination is assessed on the basis of four key skills – listening (20 per cent), reading (20 per cent), speaking (30 per cent) and writing (30 per cent).
Key Stage 5
Both AS and A2 courses extend the depth of knowledge and skills that students have acquired at GCSE, not just in terms of grammar, vocabulary and spoken fluency, but also in terms of extending their appreciation of the deeper nature of the language. This goes hand in hand with the study of social, historical, literary and cultural aspects of the countries where the language is spoken.
Our students, who opt for French, German or Spanish (or a combination of two or three of these) at Key Stage 5 follow the AQA specification AS and A2 full courses.
At AS, the language is explored via the following topics:
- Media - TV, publicity and new technologies
- Popular culture - cinema, music and fashion
- Healthy living and lifestyle - sport, health and wellbeing
- Family and personal relationships - family, friends and marriage
Assessment is by a two-hour listening, reading and writing exam (worth 70 per cent of AS marks and 35 per cent of A2) and a 15-minute speaking test (30 per cent of AS marks – 15 per cent of A2).
At A2, the language work and knowledge is explored via the following topics:
- Environment - pollution, energy and protection of the planet
- Multicultural society - immigration, integration and racism
- Social and contemporary problems - rich and poor, public order and science and technology
Candidates also prepare two topics of their choice for both the written exam and the speaking test. Possible topics could include the study of a film, a novel, a singer, an author, an architect, a poet or a region.
Assessment is by a two-hour listening, reading and writing exam (worth 35 per cent of A2 marks and a 15-minute speaking test (15 per cent of A2).