Modern Foreign Languages - Subject Guide
“The decision to learn a foreign language is …an act of friendship. It is indeed a holding out of the hand. It’s not just a route to negotiation. It’s also to get to know you better, to draw closer to you and your culture, your social manners and your way of thinking” – John Le Carré, author.
Key Stage 3
In Year 7, all pupils start their language learning journey with three hours of French, and then pick up Spanish in Year 8. We use the STUDIO and VIVA courses published by Pearson, and the homework element of this is called ActiveLearn which enables learners to access listening and reading resources at home.
The KS3 languages classroom is often a noisy place, as our main aim is to provide learners with the tools so that they can communicate in the target language. There are 4 main skills which we assess – Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. We do a lot of dictionary work which will enable independent learning to flourish. Language games are a key part of any lesson in KS3, though we do not neglect the teaching of grammar which is one of the main cornerstones of the new GCSE courses.
We are confident that at the end of Year 9 we have covered the Programmes of Study as laid down by the National Curriculum, and have prepared pupils for further study in KS4.
At the end of Year 9 pupils are given the option of continuing with their language learning if they wish. They could continue with further study of French, Spanish, or both.
Key Stage 4
GCSE French / Spanish
The four skills of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing are assessed by examination at the end of the course. Pupils have two hours of teaching a week and receive many published resources to help with learning, such as a vocabulary book, and a grammar and translation workbook. We cover three themes which are: Identity and Culture, Current and Future Study and Employment, Local and Global Areas of Interest.
Key Stage 5
At KS5 we offer A-Level study in French and Spanish. A new aspect introduced post-16 is the study of a film (Year 12) and a book (Year13) as there is a new emphasis on artistic culture.
We are a well-resourced department and have plenty of textbooks and dictionaries. We have a suite of pcs and several iPads. The ML department is based on the Kingsbury site and has 5 dedicated languages classrooms. There is also a specialist ML room in the Sixth Form block. There are many vibrant display areas in the department which often celebrate events we have been involved in – trips and visits abroad, House Languages Competition winners, examples of excellent work.
We currently have 5 full time and 3 part time members of staff, and we also have a full time Foreign Languages Assistant who helps with speaking exam preparation, one to one withdrawal and support, and targeted interventions when necessary.
We have links with partner schools in France (a collège in Annoeullin, and a lycée In Nantes), as well as a thriving link with the St-Dominikus-Gymnasium in Karlsruhe, Nottingham’s twin town. We are proud of the work the department did for the International Schools Award (2015), and older pupils enter annually several competitions organised by Business Language Champions. We have very close links with the Widening Participation department of the University of Nottingham. One teacher in the department was the ALL Secondary Languages Teacher of the Year 2016-2017, and in summer 2016 two members of staff were invited to lead sessions at the SSAT Achievement Show in London after pioneering work in the areas of using iPad technology in the classroom, and the role of student voice to improve attainment.