Modern Foreign Languages

When learning a language not only do you study the language itself but you also learn to appreciate other cultures, people and communities. Language learning is rewarding, and gives you an enormous sense of achievement as your confidence grows.

Knowledge of a foreign language is also a highly sought after skill - we live in an increasingly global society, and having at least one language at GCSE is looked on very favourably by both employers and universities.

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

KEY STAGE 3

At Key Stage 3 we aim to quickly develop skills which can be used throughout your language learning and within a range of contexts. In Year 7 all students study both French and Spanish over the course of the year. They will then continue studying one of these languages in more depth during Years 8 and 9.

Year 7

We begin Year 7 with the introduction of key language learning skills such as recognising and using phonics, giving opinions within a simple conversation, listening for specific words and using cognates to understand written texts. We begin to develop listening, speaking, reading and writing skills within a range of contexts including describing yourself and family or discussing your free time, festivals and celebrations. We also introduce key grammatical concepts such as gender, word order and verb conjugation in the present and near future tenses, along with translation techniques.

Year 8

In Year 8 students study their preferred language across a range of contexts such as talking about where they live, leisure activities and school life. Confidence in transactional language is developed through practising conversations which could be used when shopping, staying with a family, going on holiday, ordering food and drink and going to the doctor. We look at differences between life in the UK and life in other countries throughout the world where French or Spanish is spoken. Grammatical knowledge also continues to develop with a focus on using a range of tenses, and using a wider variety of structures to extend and add interest to your spoken and written language.

Year 9

In Year 9 we continue to extend vocabulary and develop grammatical understanding. We introduce more complex structures within both familiar and new contexts such as technology and the world of work. We practise skills to enable students to work out meaning from context or to spot patterns and we encourage students to become more creative in their spoken and written language. We continue to find out about other countries throughout the world where French or Spanish is spoken, and we consider why speaking another language is important.

All students at Key Stage 3 are expected to practise their language skills independently, for example by learning new vocabulary and structures from their knowledge organisers or using Quizlet (login details are given to all students at the beginning of each year). At school students can take part in various clubs including foreign film club and pen pal club, as well as entering a range of foreign language competitions during the year. We also have trips planned to Paris and Cantabria.

KEY STAGE 4

Students can opt to continue studying French and/or Spanish at GCSE. During the GCSE course students will continue to develop their range of language and use of grammar within both familiar and new contexts. Confidence is built through working in pairs and small groups so that students feel able to use their language in a more natural way and with fluency, expressing their own points of view and narrating events.

We use the AQA exam board for our GCSE exams. Students sit four exams at the end of Year 11, each worth 25% of the final grade – listening, speaking, reading and writing. All exams cover the same themes:

Theme 1: Identity and culture

  • Me, my family and friends
  • Technology in everyday life
  • Free-time activities
  • Customs and festivals

 

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

  • Home, town, neighbourhood and region
  • Social issues
  • Global issues
  • Travel and tourism

 

Theme 3: Current and future study and employment

  • My studies
  • Life at school/college
  • Education post-16
  • Jobs, career choices and ambitions

 

At Key Stage 4 students are expected to keep an up-to-date folder showing independent learning, as this will develop your confidence in using your language

Short but regular practice is ideal - for example, using a language app recommended by your teacher, watching a television series / films or listening to music in your target language, using your AQA Revision Guide to create mind maps for different topics and your AQA Workbook to try practice questions.

At school we offer regular support sessions for students who wish to practise their speaking skills or who need extra support with any other aspect of their language learning. We also take part in the E-twinning scheme run by the British Council. Via our pen pal scheme, students can correspond with students from our link schools in French and Spain.

 
 
“I believe we have to tell people that learning another language is actually an adventure. It is tough, it needs work, but what it will do is that it will open up another country to you with all the colours of their people, their food, their customs, their sports and their culture.”
Eddie Izzard, 2014 Public Language Champion

Spiritual, Moral, Social or Cultural Opportunities

  • Competitions (both within school and national)
  • E-twinning pen pal scheme
  • Foreign Film Club
  • Collaboration with Performing Arts - performing in other languages
  • Trips have included visits to Paris and Cantabria
  • Language workshops at universities and further education colleges
  • European Day of Languages celebrations
Departmental Staffing
Sarah Wood Head of MFL / Teacher of French and Spanish
Meghan Hassall Second in Department / Teacher of French and Spanish
Hannah White Head of Year 8 / Teacher of French, Spanish and German
Donna Lees Teacher of French and Spanish
Jess Godden Teacher of French and Spanish

 

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