The Modern Languages Department offers an exciting and vibrant learning experience to pupils of all ages. Our mission is not merely to teach the nuts and bolts of grammar and vocabulary, but to instil a lasting love of languages. To achieve this we exploit a range of engaging activities and resources. A lesson might be based around the current affairs of the nation in which a language is spoken, or through its literature, film and cultural life.
Pupils enjoy a variety of learning opportunities outside the classroom, examples being project work on French films, learning a Spanish song or performing a play based on a German fairytale.
They also have access to numerous online resources to build vocabulary and to perfect a solid grasp of grammar.
Especially popular are the study visits and exchange trips to attractive European destinations that complement our courses. Nothing is more effective in allowing pupils to discover for themselves how enjoyable it can be to communicate in another language while experiencing new surroundings and different ways of life.
In Lower 4, all pupils learn two languages chosen from French, German and Spanish. They continue with both until the end of Lower 5 when they decide which language(s) to study to IGCSE.
During this stage, pupils gain the confidence to communicate orally and on paper about subjects that include Personal Information, Holidays, Education, Hobbies, the World of Work, and World Problems.
We also emphasise the global nature of languages and all pupils have the opportunity to travel abroad – to Normandy in Lower 4 and Hamburg and Seville in Upper 4.
The more challenging IGCSE course ensures that pupils attain a greater grasp of language skills to prepare them for study in the sixth form.
The course requires that they understand, and can convey information about, topics including Health, Relationships, Free Time and the Media, Holidays, Home and Local Area, Environment, School and Future Plans, Current and Future Jobs, and World Problems.
Pupils are examined in the skills of listening, reading, speaking and writing. We supplement the core textbooks with authentic materials from magazines, newspapers, radio, television and the Internet.
Pupils are encouraged to access a variety of extra reading and listening exercises from the school network. They also enjoy the chance to take part in one of our exchanges/study visits.
French, German and Spanish are offered at A-Level course and each department follow the AQA specification.
Employers favour well-rounded recruits and candidates with language skills are often at an advantage. Sixth Form uptake is high and many pupils take their languages further, whether by pursuing them at degree level or by combining a language with another subject such as history, international management or engineering.
Great emphasis is placed upon spending time in the home of a language, and all pupils are strongly urged to participate in an exchange scheme or some form of study abroad. Such experiences allow pupils to immerse themselves in the life and culture of a nation.
The French and German Departments run successful and long-established exchanges with schools in Perpignan and Liechtenstein, while the Spanish Department organises a study visit to Cádiz. Each department has a native Foreign Language Assistant to conduct one-to-one or small group speaking sessions with sixth formers.