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Modern Foreign Languages (MFL)

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The Modern Languages Department consists of nine teachers and three language assistants. We all share the view that languages are an essential skill and that they can enrich our lives in many ways, as well as being great fun to learn. Whilst lessons are fun and communicative, an emphasis is also placed on grammatical accuracy and the target language is used as much as possible in class. Languages are taught in a recently renovated suite of eight classrooms, all of which are equipped with interactive smartboards and speakers. Three of these rooms are computer suites which are regularly used by all classes. In addition, our language assistants each have their own office where conversation lessons are held. Languages are experienced beyond the classroom via a range of activities, including competitions, clinics and foreign trips. 
Lower School  
In the First Form (Year 7), all pupils have two 50-minute lessons every week in French and Latin as well one lesson in German. In the Second Form (Year 8), pupils study three languages from a choice of five (Chinese, French, German, Latin and Spanish). First Form pupils are given taster lessons in Spanish and Chinese in the Summer term in order to help them to choose the languages that they will study in the Second Form. The four skills of listening comprehension, speaking, writing and reading comprehension have equal weight, although in the early stages of language learning a certain emphasis is placed on acquiring oral competence. Pupils should gain a practical knowledge of their chosen languages in order to enable them to cope with a variety of situations, for example, making introductions, talking about hobbies, finding the way, dealing with money, shopping and buying snacks.  

Third Form 
In the Third Form (Year 9), pupils continue with their chosen languages. They must choose to study at least one modern language, but most students will choose two and it is even possible to study four languages. The modern languages that we offer are French, German, Chinese and Spanish. Pupils who join the School in the Third Form and have no prior knowledge of German, Chinese or Spanish have the option of joining a beginners’ set in these languages. These sets will work at an accelerated pace in the Third Form and will cover the necessary material to be ready to join regular IGCSE classes in the Fourth Form (Year 10). Any pupil studying a beginners’ course must do so in addition to studying another modern language. 
Middle School
In the Fourth and Fifth Form (Years 10 and 11), pupils work towards the Pearson IGCSE qualifications in French, German, and Spanish. Pupils who study Chinese work towards the Pearson GCSE qualification. All pupils must study at least one modern foreign language at this level, although we encourage them to take two or more. The productive and receptive language skills have equal weighting at IGCSE/GCSE level and consequently pupils are prepared to understand longer passages of written and spoken target language as well as express themselves orally and on paper. In French, German and Spanish, the Pearson IGCSE 9-1 textbook is used as a base for teaching and in Chinese, pupils use the Pearson GCSE textbook. This is supplemented with a range of authentic and digital materials and pupils benefit from a range of language software programmes.  
Sixth Form 
In the Sixth Form, pupils work towards the AQA A Level qualification in French and Spanish and the Edexcel A Level qualification in German. Pupils also have the possibility of choosing A Level Chinese following the Pearson specification. As part of their studies in the Sixth Form, pupils are exposed to a range of authentic language sources as well as studying literary texts and films. Pupils also benefit from individual speaking sessions with our language assistants. This is an extremely beneficial experience and allows them to gain confidence and fluency. Whilst all four language skills are equally important at A Level, one key difference between IGCSE and A Level is the increased focus on grammatical accuracy. We hope to inspire our pupils with our love of the different languages and their cultures. We offer individual guidance to pupils wishing to study languages at university and we have a large range of reading material which is available to all pupils.