The knowledge of another language is increasingly important in our modern world. A knowledge of another language can:
A strong belief in the above benefits underpins the introduction of the Ebacc and the current drive towards languages for all pupils in primary and secondary schools.
A knowledge of another language is helpful in many careers, for example in the tourism industry, the NHS, the police force, sales and marketing, international banking, journalism, the diplomatic service and international aid development. Careers where a language qualification is a requirement include language teaching, interpreting and translating.
We are an inclusive department where nearly all pupils in Years 7 – 9 learn a language. At present, the majority of the cohort in Years 10 and 11 learns a language. Lessons contain a variety of listening, speaking, reading and writing tasks and we strive to maximise use of the tablet technology in order to further enthuse and support pupils’ progress.
The focus in our lessons is on developing the key skills that will lead to spontaneous interaction. To achieve this we value the importance of a solid grounding in grammar and look to manipulate language structures using newly-learnt vocabulary so that pupils can accurately communicate in the target language. We are always looking for opportunities to include cultural insights in order to give our pupils a rounded picture of the languages we cover.
Currently on entering Year 7, all pupils learn French, German and Spanish for a short carousel before expressing their language preference. Once decided which language they are studying, they will continue with this language all the way through to Year 11. Pupils have 2 x 50 minute lessons per week and are set one homework task weekly.
All pupils learn one language – French, German or Spanish – for 3 x 50 minute lessons per week. Pupils are set two homework tasks a week which cover a variety of skills.
All pupils in Year 9 continue to learn either French, German or Spanish for 3 x 50 minute lessons per week and are set two homework tasks weekly which cover a variety of exam skills. The focus in Year 9 is on mastery of grammar and developing the necessary skills to succeed at GCSE.
Pupils study for the AQA GCSE examination at the end of Year 11 and have 4 x 50 minute lessons per week. The focus in lessons is on mastery of grammar and key skills which will ensure that pupils learn how to communicate accurately using increasingly more complex and authentic language. We are committed to supporting and motivating all learners to ensure they achieve the best possible GCSE grades.
Pupils are regularly assessed on all skill areas (Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing) as well as on their vocabulary and grammatical understanding to track their progress. We are using a new Assessment without Levels system based on the new GCSE 1 – 9 grades.
At GCSE level we are using the AQA exam board. Themes that are covered and tested include the following:
Theme 1: Identity and Culture
Theme 2: Local national, international and global areas of interest
Theme 3: Current and future study and employment
GCSE Languages have a Foundation Tier (grades 1 – 5) and a Higher Tier (grades 4 – 9). Pupils must enter for all four skills at the same tier. Each of the four skills is worth 25% of the final grade. All skills are tested in final examinations at the end of the course in Year 11. The new GCSE does not include controlled assessment or coursework. Speaking examinations will be conducted by teachers in school within a time window prescribed by the examination board; they are marked externally.
Click here for a link to the exam board: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/languages/gcse
In 2020, all the grades were centre assessed and the pupils richly deserved their successes. We are proud that around 65% of Year 11 pupils were entered for a GCSE in either French, German or Spanish, which is well above the national average.
We also enter pupils with a home language other than English for a GCSE in their mother tongue whenever possible, usually in Year 9.
How can I help my child at home?
It is really not necessary to know the target foreign language at all. You can support your child by:
https://www.kerboodle.com (to access the GCSE textbook)
https://www.pearsonactivelearn.com (for a range of self-assessment materials)
We have a programme of annual trips which includes the following:
Other trips offered in the school, which give pupils the opportunity to practise language skills and experience the culture of a target language country, include:
Our French, German and Spanish clubs take place every Monday lunchtime in B5, B13 and B14. To promote leadership skills, these are often run by Year 10 pupils. The clubs are open to everyone who would like to practise their language skills with fun games and activities. Additionally, we offer an after school Mandarin club for Year 8 pupils which is led by a teacher based in China.
The European Day of Languages is celebrated annually when a variety of activities which are pupil-led are included in lessons to enrich the cultural knowledge of all year groups.
Throughout the month of March, a number of sessions on the theme of “carnivals across the world” are being held. Pupils learn to play percussion instruments and how to dance the Samba. They also make carnival masks and learn about different carnivals across the world.