Mrs C Dhamia
Our aim is to give girls expertise in languages to prepare them for whatever careers they pursue.
The core purpose of our study of Modern Foreign Languages is to be able to communicate with people from around the world, to have an understanding of different cultures and to foster an open mind for a global community:
- We intend to make languages accessible and engaging so that more pupils opt to study languages beyond the compulsory years;
- To develop pupils’ confidence in a range of transferrable skills such as communicating, listening, interpreting and understanding in order to provide them with skills that will help them be successful in any professional field.
The study of Modern Foreign Languages is an essential component in preparing young people for life in the twenty-first century. It develops a range of transferrable skills that will enable pupils to become successful in any chosen field. The course is a five-year programme that starts in Y7 by developing pupils’ communication skills and by enriching their lives through knowledge of other cultures. We provide opportunities for pupils to develop their Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural development through a varied and engaging curriculum and by giving them the opportunity to communicate and make contact with children from other parts of the world through pen-pal schemes and residential trips abroad. We also provide pupils with the opportunity to see how languages are used and how they are useful in the world of work in a variety of ways. One example of this is by asking professionals from professional institutions to come in and talk to our pupils about the importance of languages.
We offer the chance to learn two languages from a total of four. In Years 7 – 9 girls take two languages out of French, German, Spanish, and Russian. Girls are allocated to a combination of two of these, both of which are studied throughout Key Stage 3. In Years 10 – 11 girls take at least one modern language. In Years 12 – 13 they are encouraged to continue with at least one language, to meet the needs of a workforce competent in other languages in an expanding European Union.
The school has strong links in a number of the countries whose languages are taught here.
French remains one of the major European languages, spoken by 120 million people in different countries on five continents. Regular trips are organised and visits to Paris are popular with students.
German is also an important European language. As with other languages, an A Level in German complements all other subject combinations.
The school has taught Russian for over five decades and we are one of the leading schools for Russian in the country. Russian appears to be difficult due to its different alphabet but actually the alphabet is easy and fun to learn.
We regularly take school trips to Russia and below are some photos from our February 2019 trip to St. Petersburg.
Spanish is increasing in world importance. There will soon be more Spanish than English speakers in America. It is not a difficult language and pupils quickly develop confidence in communicating in Spanish. Students had the chance to visit Madrid in 2019.
Key Stage 3:
In Key Stage 3, all students study two modern languages in years 7 – 9. The topics covered focus on personal information, daily life at home and abroad, travelling, food and drink and school. Students have opportunities to develop the four language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. There is a strong emphasis on building confidence and proficiency in literacy and oracy. Grammar and translation skills are emphasised from the start. We also ensure that students gain a broad understanding of the culture of countries where the languages we teach are spoken.
Key Stage 4:
In Key Stage 4, we follow the AQA specification for GCSE in French, German and Spanish and Edexcel for Russian. Students study at least one of the modern languages, which they started in year 7. They can, of course, study both if they wish. All languages are studied at Higher Tier, which gives access to the top grades, which most of our students achieve. We continue to develop the four language skills. The topics studied in Key Stage 4 include Relationships, Technology in everyday life, Culture, customs and festivals, Lifestyle, Leisure, Environment, Work and Education.
As before, we develop cultural knowledge and empathy through our language teaching.
Key Stage 5:
In French, German, Russian and Spanish students continue with the four language skills.
At KS5 we aim to challenge our pupils with concepts and study skills that will make them independent learners and enable them to be successful at university level. Pupils follow the AQA A Level Curriculum (Edexcel for Russian) which covers a range of political, social and cultural topics which enables pupils to have a greater awareness of the issues around the world. The course also develops the pupils’ independent research skills, their communication skills and their understanding.
In addition to furthering their language skills, students will also focus on cultural aspects of the subject for formal study. This could feature knowledge of literary works, study of a film, a period of history – there are various options which staff can choose to deliver.
Each year, there are students who are successful in securing a university place at top institutions to read for a degree in modern languages.
Enrichment activities are offered, whenever possible, including extra-curricular trips abroad, foreign language plays and clubs. Overall, the MFL department hopes to develop their students’ all-around education and competencies needed to enter the world of work after their full time education.