Modern Foreign Languages

Subject Overview

The Department has three permanent teaching rooms, each equipped with audio equipment for listening exercises. All classrooms have digital projectors and all are equipped with SMARTboards.

The Department delivers French and Spanish throughout the school. All students study French on entry to the school in Year 7. In Year 8, most students study both French and Spanish. When students take their options at the end of Year 8, they have the opportunity to study French or Spanish. The school currently has over 50% of students undertaking a modern language at GCSE Level.

Day Trips, Visits and Exchanges

The school offers a variety of visits to reinforce the learning of the students at Key Stages 3, 4 and 5.

Year 9 and 10 – Visit to Seville

Up to 44 students taking Spanish or Food Technology at GCSE are fortunate to be offered a place on this visit.  Students visit the main cultural sites, take part in a cooking workshop and benefit from daily language lessons.

Year 8 - Visit to the Opal Coast

In Year 8, 44 French students are offered the opportunity to take part in the three-day visit to the Opal Coast. After crossing from Dover, the visit includes a tour of a chocolaterie (with a demonstration and the possibility of buying some chocolate) and a walking tour of the town of Le Portel. A highlight of the visit is a tour of a snail farm. Students can sample the delights of snails with crackers, washed down with plenty of lemonade.

Years 9 and 10 - Paris Trip

In June, Year 9 and Year 10 French students are offered the opportunity to spend a week in Paris, during which time they stay in a hotel and spend the days and evenings walking around the city centre, seeing the sights and learning about Parisian history and culture. The visit includes visits to Notre Dame, Sacré Coeur, Montmartre, the Musée d’Orsay, the Eiffel Tower, the Vimy Ridge Canadian War Memorial and Disneyland Paris. This is a very informative and rewarding visit, during which students are able to see and learn a great deal about French culture, history and traditions, and also to interact in French with native speakers. A three-hour language course improves students’ speaking and writing skills.
Course Information

Key Stage 3

All students in Year 7 are taught French. Students work from the Expo 1 textbook throughout the year. This includes topics of personal information and description, family and pets, house and home, telling the time and places in a town. The Department provides textbooks for use in class and also asks students to purchase the Expo workbook, from which homework is set.

In Year 8, most students study French and Spanish, receiving three lessons per fortnight of each language. However, certain students are encouraged to study only one language and receive additional lessons of French.

During Year 8, students continue with Expo 1 for French Units 5 and 6 and then start Expo 2 in the final term. They cover topics of daily routine, school and free time. In Spanish, students work with the Mira Express textbook, and are well prepared for the course in Year 9.

In both French and Spanish, students are taught through listening, speaking, reading and writing tasks, following the National Curriculum and the Key Stage 3 National Framework for Modern Languages. They are set one homework per week and are assessed regularly. They cover all four attainment targets and are awarded levels as specified in the National Curriculum. The essential homework task is to learn and consolidate new vocabulary learnt in class.

In Years 7 and 8, students should expect to attain Deepening – Profound. To attain a mastery band of Profound, students need to be confident in the use of past and future tenses. Lessons aim to achieve a balance between communicative language teaching and the firm belief held within the Department that grammar must be introduced from an early stage in order to give pupils the strongest framework possible for their language learning.

Key Stage 4

Students begin the GCSE course in Year 9 and all students are encouraged to choose one language. Students have two periods of Modern Language teaching per week and are taught following the AQA specification for GCSE.

As in Key Stage 3, students are given regular opportunities to both consolidate and expand their learning with practice in the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing, each of which makes up 25% of their final examination grade. The lessons are a combination of topic work and grammatical language study.

Key Stage 5

The school offers French and Spanish at Key Stage 5. Students are expected to purchase their own textbooks in Years 12 and 13.

Students of French are taught by two members of staff and those who study Spanish have one teacher throughout the course. They study nine periods per fortnight and are also expected to work in private study periods.

Topics covered range from festivals and social traditions and health and fitness to relationships, environment, French politics and the European Union.  In addition to this, students study a literary piece and analytical skills are developed throughout Sixth Form study.

On entry to Year 12, students are expected to undertake at least three hours of private study per week in addition to classroom tuition in order to develop their subject knowledge and understanding to the standard required in the Sixth Form.

Grammar tuition plays a major role in AS and A2 Levels so that students are brought up to the required standard of linguistic comprehension and are able to manipulate the language effectively. The teaching encompasses verb work in all forms, as well as other grammatical concepts, all of which require analytical skill for good understanding.

Students find that the teaching approaches move from more teacher-led learning to more independent study. The programme includes extended writing, internet research and use of newspapers and magazines. Wider reading is important and leads to improved comprehension of the target language and culture.

MFL ICT Resources and Websites

ados French teenage interest website.

phosphore Magazine for 15-25 year-olds in French - full of interesting stories.

linguascope Games and activities in French and Spanish.

languagesonline Interactive exercises, grammar and pronunciation work for 11-16 year-olds.

mflgames Wheel of Fortune, Millionaire, Hangman, Scratchcard, and quizzes on a variety of basic topics.

lesclesjunior Fun French student-orientated website.

bonjourdefrance Fun French exercises for all levels of students.

langweb Activities for pupils to practise French.

transparent Language games and quizzes - choose from the menu on the left.

rfi Current affairs in French with sound.

laguinguette News and features from France for learners of French.

lemonde Le Monde newspaper. Excellent for up-to-the-minute current affairs stories in French.

quia Enjoyable learning games for Years 7 and 8. Go to the Student Zone and then choose ‘French’.

vokabel Ready-made vocabulary tests from English to French or French to English.

festival-cannes Find out about the Cannes Film Festival.
  • Subject Leader: Helen Fitzgerald
  • Student Achievement Manager: Nicci Aldridge
  • Teachers: Ann Coulter, Valérie Baker