­­Department Overview

Our Faculty has a very good record of success at GCSE and consists of six teachers offering French, German and Spanish. As a team of keen, innovative linguists, we aim to instil both our interest in, and enjoyment of, language learning in our learners as well as increase their awareness and understanding of our own and other cultures. We are committed to promoting languages both in school and beyond as an invaluable skill for young people in an increasingly small world.

Our lessons are taught in five dedicated languages rooms each equipped with interactive whiteboards and personalised and specific language learning colourful display. Our MFL team is fully committed to using these in lessons with challenging and captivating resources we have created ourselves. We also endeavour to make full use of new technology by frequenting the ICT suites in the school.

Teaching and learning focuses on the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing and activities are aimed at challenging, engaging and motivating learners. We build in opportunities in lessons for learners to develop their confidence, independence and creativity in the language and to adapt and apply language in new and different ways. Links are made to prior learning and a grammatical understanding as to how the language works underpin our approach to language learning in the Faculty. A range of learning activities and styles are incorporated into lessons to meet the needs of all our learners with account taken of individual differences in learning styles, interest and ability to maximise their enjoyment of the subject and overall achievement. Activities offer opportunities for extension to all pupils as well as the more able and creativity and independence in the language are both encouraged and supported in all learners.


Key Stage 3

We operate a rolling programme whereby two out of three languages are taught through the key stage. Pupils are allocated one of these two languages on entry which they study throughout years 7 and 8. Pupils who joined us this academic year are studying either French or Spanish and those joining us September 2015 will study either German or Spanish.

Throughout Key Stage 3 pupils have opportunities to communicate for a real purpose, express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to language both in speaking and writing. They listen to and read a variety of texts to increase their understanding and become confident in expressing themselves. They also focus on the use of patterns in the foreign language consequently becoming familiar with a range of grammatical structures. Pupils are taught in mixed ability groups.

Pupils in Year 7 making significant progress should aim for NC Level 5 by the end of the academic year and pupils in Year 8 build on this by accessing higher NC Levels. At KS3 we follow Allez, Zoom Deutsch and Zoom Español, an interactive approach which enables rapid progress across all skills. It is essential that every learner acquires their own dictionary.

Year 7 Units of Study

  1. Unit 1 Myself and my family
  2. Unit 2 Where I live
  3. Unit 3 Holidays

Pupils are assessed in January and in June on all skills: Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing.

Year 8 Units of Study

  1. Unit 1 Free time
  2. Unit 2 Healthy living
  3. Unit 3 Future plans

Pupils are assessed in January and in June on all skills: Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing.


Key Stage 4

The majority of pupils continue their language study to GCSE throughout Key Stage 4 in mixed ability groups. Pupils follow the AQA GCSE course and we use AQA GCSE Nelson Thornes supported by the Kerboodle on line material. In addition, in preparation for the Controlled Assessments, our learners are given a Booklet of Support Activities which contains a wide range of materials related to each topic of a specific Controlled Assessment. It is essential that every learner acquires their own dictionary. Our intention is to offer the best balance of support and encouragement in order to instil in all our learners a desire for success.

The course consists of four contexts which are assessed by a combination of controlled assessments in speaking and writing equating to 60% of the course and externally set examinations in listening and reading equating to 40% of the course. There is the possibility to sit either the Foundation or Higher Tier examinations or a combination in the listening and reading components of the course. The specific dates for each controlled assessment will be emailed to parents at the beginning of each term.


  1. Lifestyle: Health, Relationships and Choices
  2. Leisure: Free time and the Media, Holidays
  3. Home and Environment: Home and Local area, Environment
  4. Work and Education: School/College and Future Plans, Current and Future jobs


Unit 1Listening Unit 2Reading Unit 3Speaking Unit 4Writing
20% weighting
20% weighting
Controlled Assessment (internally assessed)
30% weighting
Controlled Assessment (externally assessed)   30% weighting
Foundation Tier 35 minutes Higher Tier 45 minutes When? End of Year 11 Foundation Tier 30 minutes
Higher Tier 50 minutes When? End of Year 11
When? End of Year 9Throughout Year 10First term of Year 11 When? End of Year 9Throughout Year 10First term of Year 11
A range of question types based on pre-recorded spoken material in French, German or Spanish A range of question types based on written material in French, German or Spanish Students submit for moderation two tasks Students submit for marking two tasks


We promote a more independent approach to study by suggesting additional practice from the following websites:

www.memrise.com helps learning vocabulary. Download the free App.

www.duolingo.comdevelops listening, reading and writing skills. Download the free App.

www.voki.comgreat for practising listening and pronunciation.

www.languagesonline.org.ukvery good grammar consolidation and topic based vocabulary practice.

www.bbc.co.uk/educationGCSE bitesize to practice exam style questions.


We also encourage our learners to join us every Tuesday after school for GCSE Catch-up sessions. Furthermore, extra support can be organised with their individual language teacher.


The revised GCSE courses in languages will be introduced September 2016 for first assessment in July 2018. All courses will be terminally assessed. With the opening of Alderbrook 6th Form we plan to have language assistants to enrich the language acquisition of our KS4 and KS5 learners.


Extra-Curricular Opportunities

The Faculty has a long established programme of Study Visits to Austria, France, Germany and Spain. These operate on a rolling programme and continue to be a very successful and enjoyable experience for our pupils. The Study Visit incorporates cultural visits to local towns and sightseeing attractions together with a variety of language based activities in all skills in line with GCSE topics providing opportunities for pupils to use ‘real life’ resources to develop both their confidence and independence, whilst gaining an insight into the culture of the country and community being visited.

There are also various activities throughout the year, which form part of the languages curriculum to enhance the experience of learning a foreign language and take languages out of the classroom: theatre Productions by visiting Onatti Theatre group in French, German and Spanish, language-based activities/workshops as part of the school’s Immersion Day programme and our well appreciated French, German and Spanish breakfast mornings.


Career Options

Jobs directly related to a languages degree: Interpreter, Teacher, Translator.

Jobs were a languages degree would be useful: English as a Foreign Language Teacher, Sales Manager, Event Organiser, Marketing Executive, Diplomatic services Officer and much more.

Some graduate recruitment programmes that require language skills or which offer the chance to work in other European countries:


Please contact the Head of Faculty for further information    

Mrs C Smith