Modern Foreign Languages Curriculum Area
|Curriculum Leader:||Mrs K Lawley|
|Second in the Curriculum Area:||Mrs G Borsbey|
|Staff:||Miss S Ashcroft|
|Mrs R Dawson|
|Mrs S Farrimond|
|Mr P Rawlinson|
‘Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.’ Proverbs 16:24
The modern foreign languages (MFL) department aims to provide a rich and diverse learning experience for all students, combining sound grammatical knowledge with increased cultural awareness and encouraging creativity, resilience and independence. The values and ethos of our Christian community lie at the very heart of foreign language learning; we prepare our MFL students to be responsible global citizens of the future who flourish bravely and faithfully. The department is strongly committed to making the study of a modern foreign language a rewarding experience for the entire ability range, so that each student will be able to achieve their potential. We deliver courses which offer students a realistic opportunity to be successful at the highest possible level, thus providing a platform for further study - in an increasingly competitive and challenging global marketplace the ability to speak a modern foreign language is not only desirable, it can pave the way to career enhancement.
In MFL, we believe that learning a language will take you on a journey of enrichment that can endure for a lifetime, whether socially or in a business context, educationally or for enhancing personal growth from global travel, and we aim to instill this belief in our students. We strongly advocate the learning of a language through authentic use and experience, using the target language for a real purpose within the classroom and leading educational visits abroad. Students are challenged to extend their range of structures and vocabulary as appropriate to their age, ability and language learning experience and the curriculum is planned robustly to support this progression, with each year designed as a pathway to the next.
The MFL department is staffed by 4 full time and 2 part time dedicated linguists. Lessons are conducted as much as possible in the target language and students are expected to make every effort to communicate with their teacher and peers using the support materials provided. At both Key Stages an online learning platform (Activeteach) is used to access the ‘Stimmt’ (German) and ‘Studio’ (French) textbooks appropriate to students’ age and stage of learning. The departmental home study programme encourages students to develop their independent learning skills through use of interactive web-based programmes (active learn focussing on listening, reading and grammar; quizlet focussing on vocabulary learning; grammar and translation guides for personalised learning and revision).
We deliver a 2-year Key Stage 3 programme of study. Students begin studying German in Year 7 and are taught in mixed ability groups for 3 hours per week. Students complete three modules of work in this first academic year followed by three modules in year 8 - see overviews for details of the knowledge and skills covered in each module. They are assessed in all four skill areas (listening / speaking / reading / writing) in each module; one skill area as an interim assessment and the other three upon completion of each module. Students then undertake self-evaluation procedures and set personal targets for development. The taught curriculum runs alongside a programme of cultural events and activities, with the aims of deepening students’ awareness of the culture and traditions of target language speaking countries and promoting the idea of languages as an essential life skill beyond the confines of the classroom.
In Year 8, all students continue to study German, with students in the top third of the year group based on year 7 assessments (approx. 64 students) taking on French as a second foreign language. Year 8 beginners French is delivered through 3 modules of study with a strong focus on grammar and phonics.
Towards the end of Year 8, students choose their options. Approximately 65% continue with German as a compulsory GCSE subject in Year 9. Those students with clear linguistic ability are offered the opportunity to continue with French as a second foreign language.
Students begin their GCSE course at the start of Year 9 and follow the AQA GCSE course specifications.
Students complete three modules of work each academic year from the ‘Stimmt’ (German) or ‘Studio’ (French) courses – see overviews for details of the knowledge and skills covered in each module. Students are assessed in all four skill areas (listening / speaking / reading / writing) in each module; one skill area as an interim assessment and the other three upon completion of each module in years 9 and 10. They undertake mock examinations and complete past examination papers as assessment of their progress in year 11. Students then undertake self-evaluation procedures and set personal targets for development. Intervention strategies are put in place for students who fall below their target grade (9-1).
The MFL department has a strong and improving academic track record. In 2019, 89% of French students, 97% of Spanish students and 75% of German students achieved a standard pass (grade 4) or above, equalling or bettering the national average in all 3 languages and contributing significantly to the schools EBacc percentage. Attendance on cultural enrichment visits abroad is high. Regular learning walks and work scrutiny provide on-going evidence of the quality of teaching and learning and inform further development of and changes to the taught curriculum.