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.

Lower School

In Year 7, pupils study French or Spanish (depending on the year of entry) for four lessons per week. Latin is also offered to help pupils assimilate key grammatical structures more quickly.

In Year 8 and 9, pupils 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 all the requisite aspects of grammar will have been mastered and command of the five tenses will have been attained by most students, to ensure they can go on and achieve their highest potential result in terms of GCSE grades.


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) at Key Stage 4 and follow the AQA specification full course GCSE. The specification covers the following content:

Theme 1: Identity and culture

Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest

Theme 3: Current and future study and employment

GCSE Examinations:

GCSE French, German or Spanish have a Foundation Tier (grades 1–5) and a Higher Tier (grades 4–9). Students must take all four question papers at the same tier. All question papers must be taken in the same series. 

Paper 1: Listening           

Foundation Tier: 35 minutes

Higher Tier: 45 minutes

Paper 2: Speaking           

Foundation Tier: 7-9 minutes + preparation time

Higher Tier: 10-12 minutes + preparation time

Paper 3: Reading:            

Foundation Tier: 45 minutes

Higher Tier: 60 minutes

Paper 4: Writing               

Foundation Tier: 1 hour

Higher Tier: 1 hour 15 minutes

A Level

The A Level course extends 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) at Key Stage 5 follow the AQA specification A Level.

Topics at A Level:

  • Social issues and trends
  • Political and artistic culture
  • Grammar
  • One literary text and one film

Examinations at the end of Year 13:

Paper 1: Listening/Reading/Writing exam lasting 2 hours 30 minutes,

Paper 2: Writing lasting 2 hours

Paper 3: Speaking lasting 21-23 minutes (including 5 minutes preparation time)