Welcome to the Languages Department
The Modern Foreign Languages Department at St Peter’s offers French, German and Spanish at both Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. We aim to equip our pupils with the skills and knowledge to understand and converse in their target foreign language as early as possible when they join us in Year 7; therefore we place a strong emphasis on phonics, key language ‘hubs’ and oral proficiency. Independent use of the target language is encouraged and rewarded with a half termly raffle.
Pupils begin Year 7 working in mixed ability form groups for the first half term. At the end of the first half term language potential is formally assessed and pupils are placed in a class according to their ability. Pupils in Set 1 study German, as well as French, from November in Year 7. Once language learning skills have been firmly established in French throughout Year 7, pupils in Year 8 Set 2 are also introduced to Spanish as a second foreign language. Some pupils in Year 9 work towards the AQA FCSE qualification in French throughout the final year of Key Stage 3.
Pupils have four MFL lessons per week in Year 7 and Year 8, and have three lessons per week from Year 9 to Year 11. At Key Stage 4 some pupils are directed to study French to GCSE level, others opt to study German or Spanish at GCSE. Exceptional linguists have the opportunity to take their French GCSE in Year 10, and then continue with German or Spanish as a second GCSE in Year 11. The exam board we use is AQA.
A wide range of resources are used in language lessons to motivate and develop our pupils; speaking activities, group work, independent learning, interactive whiteboards, mini whiteboards, I-pads, audio materials, games, videos, songs, computers and a range of authentic materials. As well as having access to a small suite of computers in one MFL classroom, the department also makes good use of bookable ICT facilities in school.
Foreign trips provide a context for pupils to apply their knowledge and skills in an authentic setting. They are a highly valuable experience both culturally, linguistically and socially. The department takes an active role in the Year 7 pastoral trip to Paris. In Year 8 pupils have the opportunity to participate in a 6-day French language immersion visit to Normandy. Pupils studying Spanish in Year 9 are offered the opportunity to visit Murcia for the 5-day Spanish language immersion visit.
European Day of Languages is celebrated in school with our annual ‘National Costume Day’. Pupils and staff are invited to come to school dressed in a national costume of their choice, with prizes awarded for the best costumes. It is a hugely enjoyable day; with quizzes and activities throughout the day.
Year 7 pupils take part in the National Spelling Bee competition in French and German and we have been very successful; with one Cambridge finalist in 2011 and two finalists in 2014. We have lunchtime Spelling Bee Club for Year 7 pupils in which pupils are mentored and prepared for the competition by previous class and school winners.
Year 8 pupils have the opportunity to participate in a ‘Why Study Languages?’ video competition; preparing and pitching a five-minute video proposal to their class. Each class winner’s idea is filmed and edited professionally and shortlisted videos are presented to a judging panel at an Oscar-style awards ceremony.
Pupils from Set 1 in Y8 and Y9 have the opportunity to study an introduction to Mandarin Chinese language and culture as a private, extra-curricular activity. These classes run after school from 3.30 – 5pm. There is an opportunity for pupils to continue this study to GCSE level.
GCSE results are consistently high and well above the National Average. In 2015 French students achieved 100% A* - C (37% A* - A), German students 100% (24% A* – A) and Spanish students 75% (21% A* - A).