Our aim is to give girls expertise in languages to prepare them for whatever careers they pursue.
We offer the chance to learn two languages from a total of five. In Years 7 – 9 girls take two languages out of French, German, Spanish, Japanese, 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. A regular French Exchange is 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.
Japanese presents the challenge of a different writing system and gives an insight into a culture which is uniquely different from our own. We are currently the top school in the country for Japanese.
Head of Department: Ms C Hancock
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 2012 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 Barcelona in 2016.
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 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.
In French, German, Russian and Spanish students continue with the four language skills. There are no listening and speaking elements in A level Japanese.
Each year, there are students who are successful in securing a university place at top institutions to read for a degree in modern languages.