Modern Foreign Languages

Overview of the Subject

From September 2016, in KS3 all students will be able to experience and learn to understand and communicate in a combination of two from three different European languages: French, German and Spanish. Students will start with two languages in Year 7 and continue to study both languages in Year 8. Options for which language to study at GCSE will then be made before the start of Year 9. Students will learn to express themselves in an increasingly sophisticated way as they progress through the school. Students will enjoy “playing” with the language. Students will also develop a cultural understanding and appreciation of the French/German/Spanish speaking world.

Students in Year 7 will study two of the three languages French/German/Spanish. They will have two lessons per week in one of them until February and then study a second one for the remainder of the year. In Year 8, students will then study both of these languages side-by-side for three lessons per week. As we head towards the end of the year, students must make their option as to which one of the two languages they have studied they wish to continue with the following year. In year 9, pupils will learn the skills which will prepare them for beginning the GCSE course in KS4. Students learn to manipulate language so that they can increasingly communicate in a detailed way and use the full range of verb tenses. Students learn to develop comprehension skills to enable them to survive in a French/German/Spanish speaking context. We also watch films to enhance the learning process. Some of the topics that we cover are:

  • Descriptions of family and self
  • My school
  • My free-time and interests
  • My town and home
  • My holidays
  • Healthy living
  • The French/German/Spanish speaking world
  • Survival transactional language for a trip

All upper set students (1-4) study either one or two languages to GCSE level (AQA). Other students are encouraged to take languages further. In Year 10 there are 4 lessons each fortnight and in Year 11 there are 5 lessons. The Course book is “Studio” for French or “Stimmt” for German (Pearson). Students deepen their understanding of how the language works and develop more independent learning skills. They learn to express themselves in a more expansive way.

The two-year course consists of three main themes (and a breakdown of topics):

  1. Identity and Culture (self, family, marriage/relationships, free-time activities, social media, technology and France/Germany based culture, traditions and festivals).
  2. Local, National, International and Global Areas of Interest (home, town, neighbourhood, social issues, lifestyle, global issues, environment, travel and tourism).
  3. Current and Future Study and Employment (studies, school life, post-16 education, career choices and ambitions).

Students are tested in the four skills below. All GCSE exams are sat at the end of Year 11 (May/June). Mock exams also take place at the end of Year 10 and throughout Year 11; this helps to prepare students for their real exams, as well as determining whether a student is entered for the foundation or higher tier exams. The foundation exams allow students to achieve a grade 1-5 and the higher exams are graded 4-9.

  • Listening (25%) examined by a final exam
  • Reading (25%) examined by a final exam
  • Speaking (25%) examined by a final exam - administered by your teacher but marked by external examiners
  • Writing (25%) examined by a final exam

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Students learn to really immerse themselves in the language and to communicate in a more spontaneous way. They are encouraged to have opinions and to know how to put and justify their point of view and indeed argue their case. The weekly conversation session with the foreign language assistant is invaluable. Students are encouraged to enjoy the language by reading authentic articles and watching films. A visit is organised to Paris/ Berlin during the two year course.


There are nine lessons timetabled per fortnight. The course focuses on four topics:

  • Media ( TV, Advertising, Communication Technology)
  • Popular Culture ( Cinema, Music, Fashion)
  • Healthy lifestyle ( Sport, Health and Well-being, Holidays)
  • Family and Relationships ( Relationships within a family, Friendships, Marriage and partnerships)
  • Unit 1 (2 hours – 70%) is the listening, reading and writing paper, covering all four topics and including a grammar exercise and an essay.
  • Unit 2 (35 minutes including 20 minutes preparation time – 30%) is the speaking exam, covering all four topics. It is examined by a discussion of a stimulus card (5 minutes) and general discussion of the three other topics ( 10 minutes)

There are nine lessons timetabled per fortnight. There are four topics, including Cultural Study:

  • Environment: pollution, energy and protecting the planet
  • The multi-cultural society: immigration, integration and racism
  • Contemporary social issues: wealth and poverty, law and order and the impact of scientific and technological progress
  • 2 Cultural topics: the study of a film director and the study of an author.
  • Unit 3 (2 ½ hour s- 35%) is the listening, reading and writing paper, covering all four topics (the study of a director is examined in the essay writing part of this paper)
  • Unit 4 (35 minutes with 20 minutes preparation time – 15%) is the speaking exam, covering all four topics. It is examined by a discussion of a stimulus card (5 minutes) and general discussion of the two cultural topics ( 10 minutes)

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  • Students learn through a range of activities and games. Lessons are full of variety.
  • Students enjoy the challenge of communicating in another language
  • Communication is the key. Students are not afraid to make mistakes.
  • The ability to express yourself in another language is a practical skill in demand in the world of work as well as useful for social occasions and trips abroad
  • The languages department has an excellent track record in achieving excellent examination results.
German Student
“The German exchange was amazing”
“French is fun, fab and fantastique"
French Student
“Languages aren’t just for fun, they’re for life!”