Department | Modern Foreign Languages2021-01-18T22:12:57+00:00

Department | Modern Foreign Languages



Miss G. Hamilton
Head of Department
Mrs. H. Kerr
Teacher of Spanish
Mr. R. Shufflebottom
Teacher of French

Subject Information

To encourage positive attitudes to foreign language learning; cultivating a sound base of the skills, language and attitudes required for the further study and continuing use of the foreign language in work and leisure. Whilst learning a foreign language, pupils will develop an awareness of the nature of language and the ability to use the foreign language effectively and with confidence for the purpose of practical communication and social contact. We also aim to promote employability through language learning and to emphasise the links which exist between languages and career opportunities.

Not only does learning a foreign language develop communication skills, both oral and written, but also thinking skills and personal capabilities of a more general application, such as analysis, synthesis, memorising and drawing of inference. A MFL pupil can think logically; seeing and applying patterns whilst keeping in mind the context. Their memory skills are often highly enhanced and they can think on their feet, often multi-tasking with a high degree of creativity. In addition, the oral exam encompasses skills of communication, critical thinking and spontaneity of responsiveness.  Experience of this particular exam environment is one of the reasons why pupils of languages often have the edge in interviews and other selection procedures.

KS3: In Key Stage 3 all pupils start French in Year 8 and Spanish is introduced in Year 9. The Key Stage 3 curriculum focuses on developing a sound knowledge of topical vocabulary, combined with an understanding of the grammatical rules and how to manipulate them with exposure to the four skill areas of: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The following topics are covered: introducing myself, numbers, dates, months, family, countries and nationalities, pets, school subjects, opinions, the time, sports and leisure, daily routine, my house, places in the town, directions, holidays and relationships.

GCSE: In Key Stage 4 pupils follow the CCEA specification for GCSE. More information about this course can be found at their website: or where you should follow the link to the specific examination. The GCSE course is assessed by means of final examination for the skill areas of Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking (each worth 25% of the final GCSE grade). The content for the course is divided up into three contexts: ‘Identity, Lifestyle and Culture’ covering relationships, social media and new technology, free time, leisure and daily routine and celebrations and festivals; ‘Local, National, International and Global Areas of Interest’ covering my local area and wider environment, social and global issues, travel and tourism and community involvement; ‘School Life, Studies and the World of Work’ covering school life and extra-curricular activities, part-time jobs and future plans.

AS + A Level: In Key Stage 5 pupils follow the CCEA specification for AS and A2. More information about this course can be found at their website: or where you should follow the link to the specific examination. The assessment format for AS involves three papers: an 11-minute oral which is worth 30% of the AS grade and 12% of the A2 grade, a Listening, Reading and Use of Language paper which is worth 40% of the AS grade and 16% of the A2 grade and an Extended Writing paper which is worth 30% of the AS grade and 12% of the A2 grade. The structure of the examinations is paralleled at A2. At AS students study the topics of: Relationships and Culture and Lifestyle and at A2 they study: Young People in Society and Our Place in a Changing World.

Knowledge of a foreign language can significantly improve your employability in an increasingly global economy. However, this does not limit your options to traditional language-based career pathways (such as teaching, interpreting and translating): the knowledge and skills acquired by studying a foreign language to A-level and beyond will also prepare you for a range of other career options; from accountancy to engineering. Graduates with foreign language skills can expect to earn at least 10% more than those without and recent surveys have shown that the three business languages which are most in demand are French, Spanish and German. People who can speak more than one language have skills which help them in life and which employers want.  Languages also go really well with a wide range of subjects; languages can work for you whatever your ambitions.

  • K. Rowling – author (French, Spanish, Portugese)

  • Arsene Wenger – football manager (English, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish)

  • Paul McCartney – musician (German and Spanish)

  • Jonathan Ross – TV presenter (Russian)

  • Sandra Bullock – actress (German)

  • Fiona Bruce – newsreader (French and Italian)

  • Paula Radcliffe – athlete (French and German)

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