Our goal is to give students the tools to become modern Europeans. We believe, as a department, that knowing foreign languages will be very advantageous to young English people and will give them a competitive edge in the increasingly globalised world in which we live. Our approach allows pupils to develop their spoken confidence and give opinions on a variety of topics following the Expo and Echo course books whilst at the same time enforcing a strong understanding of the key grammar and structures being used. We are now seeing an increased uptake of languages at KS4 and those that do take a language, always do very well.
At Key Stage 3 all students must study at least one language until the end of year 9 when they can choose to continue with one language or two or stop studying them altogether. Year 7 study French only and then pick up German alongside in year 8. In year 9, pupils will be able to opt for their favourite language or continue with both. It is quite common for pupils to want to take 2 languages at GCSE. Our A*-C grades are consistently excellent with the 2013 cohort achieving: French: 91%, German 87% and Italian 100%.
Occasionally we are asked, “Why don’t you teach Spanish?” Spanish and French are both Latin languages and one can be learned fairly easily if the other has been mastered i.e. Spanish is easy if you know French. German, however, is closely related to English, is the most spoken language in Europe with 100 million native speakers, is the first foreign language for most eastern Europeans and Turks, is the language of the largest economy in Europe and together with English and French is one of the three “facilitating” languages of the European Union. A modern European, a UK citizen who is going to interact with other Europeans needs ideally to speak English, French and German. For this reason Spanish is currently studied only as a club at lunchtime, although pupils have taken their GCSE Spanish with us in the past and we can facilitate further provision if necessary.
Working in a collaborative partnership with local secondary schools.
In addition, a number of students have successfully studied Italian at GCSE through an after school programme in partnership with other local schools. We also have a successful history of trips and exchanges abroad to France, Italy and hopefully will add Germany to that list in the near future.
Independent learning opportunities and core homeworks
Homework is regularly set on the Show My Homework website and it is important that students access extra learning resources that are available on the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to extend their homework and aid their preparation for examinations and tests.
The Languages Department
Mr T Barfield - Head of Department
Miss S Ronckier
Mr E Duthuit