Key aims of the Modern Languages Department are as follows;
– To develop a love and appreciation of languages worldwide and different cultures
– To enable pupils to progress in their effective use of a foreign language
– To equip pupils with a dynamic and broad skill set, including communication skills, problem solving and confidence
– To develop vital skills and opportunity for future employment and integration in a multicultural world
Pupils embark upon their language journey with two lessons of French and two lessons of Spanish per week. This provides our pupils with a first-rate experience of two major world languages, the ability to communicate and express themselves in a foreign language and an appreciation of the associated cultures across the Francophone and Hispanic worlds. Pupils learn to describe themselves, their pets and their families, express opinions and talk about school and hobbies whilst recognising various patterns and sounds in the language. Lessons are taught via a range of media, games and fun activities to enable pupils to make significant progress each language. Each course starts from beginners’ level which enables acquisition of the language for the first time, whilst enhancing the abilities of those with experience from primary school. There is a focus on listening, reading, speaking, writing and translation skills which, in turn, build up a firm foundation for those wishing to continue to GCSE and beyond.
Pupils continue with their studies in both of the languages from Year 7. They are assisted in extending their repertoire of vocabulary and begin to formulate fuller spoken and written answers. Pupils are taught to express a wider range of opinions and begin to use a variety of tenses including present, past and future.
Pupils can choose to continue with either French or Spanish or both languages. Year 9 is an enhancement of the skills learnt in Years 7 and 8 however we do also aim to build a solid foundation for those continuing onto GCSE. This is done by further focus on more advanced grammatical structures including confident use of three or more tenses, adding detail to spoken and written work and confidence building. Topics studied include fashion, holidays, media and food.
Pupils are strongly advised to continue with at least one language to GCSE (either French or Spanish) due to the significant benefits noted in future university studies, employment and communication skills. Language learning makes for a much broader skill set and is highly desirable in an international world. We currently follow the 9-1 GCSE AQA syllabus. Pupils learn to understand and provide information and opinions relating to their own lifestyle and that of other people, including people in countries where the foreign language is spoken. They learn to give full descriptions and accounts and how to cope with a degree of unpredictability. These skills are developed in the contexts of Family and Friends, Technology, Free-time, Customs and Festivals, Home, Town, Global and Social Issues, Travel and Tourism, School and Future Employment. Thus each individual has a wide variety of vocabulary and language knowledge across a range of interesting themes. Pupils benefit from being able to opt for Foundation or Higher Level activities to develop their skills at a pace best suited to the individual. We also cover a wide range of exam techniques and assist pupils with effective revision.
Lunchtime extension sessions run in all languages. Help sessions are available for those who may need further support. We offer trips abroad to France and Spain including the possibility of undertaking work experience abroad, subject to uptake. There are also plenty of in-house competitions, promotional events, opportunities to assist lower down the school and run/attend language clubs, subject to demand. Pupils can also sign up to be Language Ambassadors as part of the Subject Ambassador programme in Year 11 and Sixth Form.
We use a variety of different resources in languages which enable us to vary our approach according to the needs of the pupils. There are interactive smartboards in all of the teaching rooms and we have a number of different software programmes and apps to provide variety in our teaching. Additionally, the school VLE has a wide range of interactive activities, games, links and support to enhance our pupils’ language learning experience.