The Modern Languages department aims to develop as fully as possible the linguistic ability innate in all our pupils and the teaching is sympathetic, supportive and, as far as possible, tailored to individual needs. Pupils are usually grouped in sets according to ability and the frequent use of the foreign language in class by both teacher and the pupils is accepted as the norm. A range of techniques and activities are employed to make the learning process as enjoyable and stimulating as possible.
The department has recently moved into a suite of six purpose-designed teaching rooms, all equipped with modern audio-visual and computing facilities. Up-to-date course books are used and these are linked to current exam specifications. Further up the school, the text books are supplemented by newspapers, magazines, films, DVDs and, increasingly, the Internet, through which we access many languages resources, including an online language laboratory.
There is no doubt that pupils who visit the countries whose languages they are studying come back motivated and enthusiastic to improve their language skills further. With this in mind, we organise regular visits to both France and Spain so that our pupils can appreciate the culture, people and language first hand.
From September 2015, Year 7s have been offered a choice of two languages from French, Spanish, German, Chinese and Latin. They continue to study their chosen languages in Year 8, then a degree of choice is possible, going into Year 9, when they may drop one language and begin a new one.
Currently these groups are taught in mixed-ability groups, but we will endeavour to bring a degree into the arrangements for Year 9, to ensure each pupil is in a set which reflects their ability. Whichever groups they are in, pupils’ progress is monitored regularly in the key skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing – and end of unit tests are used to provide positive feedback and encouragement.
At GCSE we currently study the AQA specifications in French, Spanish and Chinese. In all three languages the topics of health, relationships and choices, home and the local area, the environment, free time and the media, school, college and future plans, holidays and current and future jobs are studied, with assessments in listening, speaking, reading and writing.