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


At Key Stage 3 we aim to quickly develop skills which can be used throughout your language learning and within a range of contexts. From Sept 2019 Year 7 students study both French and Spanish over the course of the year. They can then choose their preferred language to continue studying in Years 8 and 9, with the option of taking both languages at GCSE.

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, 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 develop their transactional language through practising conversations which could be used when shopping, staying with a family, travelling, ordering food and drink and going to the doctor. We look at differences between life in the UK and life in other countries, focusing particularly on school life. Grammatical knowledge continues to develop with a focus on verb conjugation in the past, and using a wider range 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 familiar contexts, and practise skills to enable students to work out meaning from context or to spot patterns. We 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 are expected to practise their language skills independently, for example by learning new vocabulary and structures from their knowledge organisers or using an app such as Linguascope (login details are given to all students at the beginning of each year). At school students can attend a weekly foreign film club, as well as taking part in a range of language competitions during the year.


Students can opt to continue French and/or Spanish at GCSE, or to study Spanish or German from the beginning of Year 10.

During the GCSE course students will develop their range of language and use of grammar within both familiar and new contexts. We aim to build confidence 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
  • Past trips have included visits to Normandy, Strasbourg, the Rhineland and Barcelona.
  • 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
Hannah White Head of Year 11 / Teacher of French and German
Meghan Hopkins Teacher of French and Spanish
Donna Lees Teacher of French and Spanish


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