Modern Foreign Languages

In the knowledge society of the 21st century, language competence and intercultural understanding are not optional extras, they are an essential part of being a citizen.

Languages for All: Languages for Life-A Strategy for England 2002

MODERN FOREIGN LANGUAGESWe believe that modern languages are the way forward. Learning a new language and discovering its culture provides a rewarding educational experience and is an essential element in today’s global professional job market.

We want our pupils to learn languages in a positive and encouraging environment where they master the rules of grammar and develop the confidence to communicate well in their chosen languages. As they progress we expect more intellectual rigour in the target language with the discussion of social and political issues, culminating in the Sixth Form in which culture, history and literature are discussed.

Pupils are offered opportunities to practise their language skills in context and learn more about other countries through a programme of courses and visits abroad.

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

Nelson Mandela


Year 7

  • French, German and Spanish are taught in a carousel of the 3 languages. This is divided into 10 week blocks with two languages at any one time.
  • Pupils are taught in language sets.
  • The emphasis is on enjoyment and exposure to new language. Pupils work on developing good communication skills in the general topics.
  • Pupils have an introduction to the culture of France, Germany and Spain.
  • Grammatical concepts and correct sentence structure are introduced and expanded.

Years 8 and 9

  • Pupils have made their choice of any two of the above languages.
  • The sets are reviewed and adjusted accordingly.
  • More diverse topics are covered and GCSE vocabulary is introduced.
  • More complex grammar is used in preparation for GCSE.

Years 10 and 11

  • All pupils continue with a language to GCSE and some take two languages.
  • For GCSE we use AQA specification.

Sixth Form

  • Advanced grammar and vocabulary are used to explore social issues and culture in more detail. Pupils learn to write discursive and abstract essays.
  • Presenting an argument and counteracting different points of view requires a greater fluency in speaking and writing.
  • For A level we use AQA specification.

Italian is offered as an extra-curricular class and can lead to a GCSE qualification.

Mandarin is offered through our partnership with Dragons in Europe.

Key Stage 3

In Year 7 all pupils learn French, German and Spanish; they are taught in a carousel of 2 languages at a time for 3 ten week sessions to ensure a thorough grounding in basic grammar and vocabulary and, more importantly to expose pupils to these different  European languages.

In their first lesson pupils are given a language test which provides us with a measure of their previous experience in French. According to results, pupils are allocated to 3 different sets. The sets are subject to frequent review and pupils are moved according to their needs. Towards the end of Year 7 pupils choose 2 of the 3 languages to continue through Years 8 and 9.

We use a variety of techniques and a multi media approach to teach and assess the four  language skills. Throughout Key Stage 3 we cover a wide range of topic areas including; “me and my life”, “the environment”, “healthy eating”, “sport and free-time”, “holidays”, “food and drink” and “school and education”.

Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4, we use AQA examination board and students are examined in all four language skills.

They are also encouraged to take an active interest in the target language’s country to build cultural awareness and to give the language an authentic context. The topic areas which are covered during the course include:

  • Lifestyle (healthy living, self, family, friends, relationships, future plans, social issues.)
  • Leisure  (free time, sport, shopping, fashion, technology.)
  • Home and environment (festivals, house, home town, local area, environment, pollution, recycling, comparisons with other towns and regions, weather and seasons.)
  • Work and education (school, comparisons and school problems, work experience, part-time jobs, future careers.)

Key Stage 5

Pupils study AS in Year 12 and A2 in Year 13. We encourage and expect most pupils to continue to A2.

We use AQA specification which prepares students for further study and gives candidates an excellent opportunity to develop all aspects of the target language. Throughout the course they have the opportunity to demonstrate their ability in speaking, listening, reading and writing. Materials are drawn from a wide range of authentic target language sources and students are encouraged to study social and cultural aspects of the relevant countries, as well as develop their individual interests in the local language and culture.

Units are externally assessed and at both AS and A2, there is a speaking component, as well as a listening, reading and writing paper. Topics include society, the environment, science and technology, culture, aspects of daily life, leisure and entertainment, communication and media, education and training.

A-level students are encouraged to study or complete work experience abroad.