Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things
- Flora Lewis
The MFL department strives to ensure that language learning is a positive, fulfilling and enriching experience for all pupils. Our MFL specialists deliver French and Spanish lessons to pupils from Year 1 right up to Year 13. Our curriculum enables pupils to develop skills and linguistic competence within a range of common topic areas and to develop a lifelong love of languages.
Students with languages qualifications have a vast array of career opportunities open to them, ranging from work with well-known multinational companies to international organisations or charities. There are exciting opportunities – often involving travel abroad- in sectors such as finance/ banking, sales, manufacturing, community/social services, research/medicine, and transport/communication.
Studying a Modern Foreign Language opens doors to exciting careers in areas such as:
- International relations
- Media and journalism
- The civil service and international agencies and embassies
- International law
- Interpreting and translating
- International business management
- The armed forces
The importance of languages cannot be downplayed in the current climate of extreme competition for university places and jobs.
MFL Lessons prepare pupils effectively for communicating successfully with speakers of French and Spanish. We aim throughout the year 7-9 curriculum to begin key preparation for the new, more rigorous GCSE exams, both in terms of content (extended and more challenging curriculum, with a focus on spontaneous speech in the target language) and developing exam skills. Activities such as transcribing audio, translating texts, participating in roleplays and discussing photo cards are new to the GCSE exam and therefore newly incorporated into our KS3 curriculum.
French: Students follow a scheme of work that is based around the “Dynamo” and “Studio” coursebooks. Topics studied include “Myself and My Family”; “School Life” and “My Home Area”; “Holidays”; “Sports and Leisure”; “Technology”; “Jobs and Ambitions for the Future”.
Spanish: Students follow a scheme of work that is based around the Pearson “Viva” course. Topics studied include “My Life”; “My Free Time”; “My School”; “My City”; “My Holidays”; “TV and Media” and “Let’s Eat”.
GCSE AQA FRENCH / SPANISH
What will pupils be studying?
The new AQA GCSE specification for French and Spanish is a linear two-year course with no controlled assessment. The course aims to stimulate pupils’ cultural knowledge whilst developing their language skills, giving them the confidence to be able to communicate in a variety of contexts.
Teaching is organised around topics and the fours skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. The topics to be studied are: “Me, my family and friends”, “Home, town, neighbourhood and region”, “my studies”, “Free time activities”, “Healthy eating”, “Life at school”, “Customs and festivals”, “Travel and tourism”, “Education post-16", “Marriage and partnership”, “Technology in everyday life”, “Social media”, “Global issues”, “The environment”, “Poverty / homelessness” and “Jobs, career choices and ambition”.
How do pupils learn?
Pupils will develop their linguistic skills by means of a focus on listening and responding to different types of language, communicating in speech for a variety of purposes, reading and responding to different types of written language and communicating in writing. Pupils will engage in a variety of activities, including using interactive learning platforms, to support them in understanding and using a wide range of vocabulary and structures.
How are pupils assessed?
All assessments are based around the three themes of ‘Identity and culture’, ‘Local, national, international and global areas of interest’ and ‘current and future study and employment’. The four key skill areas (listening, speaking, reading and writing) are assessed by final examinations at the end of the course.
Written examination: 1 hour (Foundation), 1 hour 15 minutes (Higher) worth 25% of grade
Speaking non-examination assessment: 7-9 minutes (Foundation), 10-12 minutes (Higher) worth 25% of grade
Reading examination: 45 minutes (Foundation), 1 hour (Higher) worth 25% of grade
Listening examination: 35 minutes (Foundation) 45 minutes (Higher) worth 25% of grade
A Level French/Spanish is a good choice for you if you enjoy language learning; enjoy learning about other cultures; want to communicate with speakers of a foreign language; want to work abroad; and want to develop opinions about current issues.
The A-level courses for French and Spanish build on the knowledge, understanding and skills gained at GCSE. They constitute an integrated study with a focus on language, culture and society. The courses foster a range of transferable skills including communication, critical thinking, research skills and creativity.
A LEVEL FRENCH
Pupils study technological and social change, looking at diversity and the benefits it brings. They study highlights of French-speaking artistic culture, including francophone music and cinema, and learn about political engagement and who wields political power in the French-speaking world.
Pupils explore the influence of the past on present-day French-speaking communities. Throughout their studies, they will learn the language in the context of French-speaking countries and the issues and influences which have shaped them. Students study texts and film and have the opportunity to carry out independent research on an area of their choice.
A LEVEL SPANISH
The course aims to develop pupils’ linguistic skills alongside their understanding of the culture and society of the countries where Spanish is spoken. Pupils study technological and social change, looking at the multicultural nature of Hispanic society. They study highlights of Hispanic artistic culture, including a focus on Spanish regional identity and the cultural heritage of past civilisations. They learn about aspects of the diverse political landscape of the Hispanic world.
Pupils explore the influence of the past on present-day Hispanic communities. Throughout their studies, they learn the language in the context of Hispanic countries and issues and influences which have shaped them. They study texts and film and have the opportunity to carry out independent research on an area of their choice.
What is assessed?
Paper 1: Listening, Reading and Writing. Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes. 100 marks. 50% of A Level.
Paper 2: One text and one film or two texts from the list in the specification. Written exam; 2 hours. 80 marks. 20% of A Level.
Paper 3: Speaking examination. Made up of an Individual research project and a discussion card. 21-23 minutes (including 5 minutes preparation time). 60 marks in total. 30% of A Level.
We believe that language-learning should not be confined to the classroom. We offer annual trips to French and Spanish-speaking countries for our Senior School pupils, encouraging pupils of all abilities to get involved and to benefit from these wonderful learning opportunities.
MFL Trip to St Omer, France May 2017
Year 7 and 8 pupils developed their confidence and independence in using French and gained a valuable insight into the culture of France. 41 pupils from Years 7 and 8 took part in a residential trip to St Omer in May 2017, staying at Château d'Ebblinghem. Our pupils enjoyed this fantastic opportunity to bring their language-learning to life.
Throughout the trip there were many opportunities to converse with native French speakers and to engage with French culture, with certificates awarded to those who made an exceptional effort to use the language as much as possible. The cheese-tasting evening resulted in a variety of French opinion phrases being used, for very authentic communication. Another highlight of the trip was the visit to the boulangerie, where French was used skilfully to demonstrate how croissants are made.
The French market shopping task was both popular and beneficial. Pupils conversed with the market stall holders to purchase various items such as fruit, bread and olives to accompany their lunch. It was a pleasure to witness our pupils’ confidence in taking part in real transactions at the market. Well done to all pupils who took part in this trip and immersed themselves into French language and culture with such enthusiasm.
Events and language-related activities
Over the past two years our Macmillan Coffee Mornings have been linked with Modern Foreign Languages to celebrate European Day of Languages. Our pupils have also taken part in activities such as a Treasure Hunt (find “hello” in lots of different European languages) and a languages-themed House Quiz.
In February 2018 our pupils (from Y6 to Y11) had an opportunity to hear from three Wolves U19 players about how learning English (as a foreign language) has benefited them in their football careers. This Question and Answer session was a great way for our pupils to see language learning from a different point of view!