Welcome to the MFL Department
“Languages are part of the cultural richness of our society and the world in which we live and work. Learning languages contributes to mutual understanding, a sense of global citizenship and personal fulfilment. Pupils learn to appreciate different countries, cultures, communities and people. By making comparisons, they gain insight into their own culture and society. The ability to understand and communicate in another language is a lifelong skill for education, employment and leisure in this country and throughout the world.
Learning languages gives pupils opportunities to develop their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills and to express themselves with increasing confidence, independence and creativity. They explore the similarities and differences between other languages and English and learn how language can be manipulated and applied in different ways. The development of communication skills, together with understanding of the structure of language, will lay the foundations for future study of other languages and support the development of literacy skills in a pupil’s own language.”
First, Second and Third-Forms (Key Stage 3)
At Key Stage 3 pupils follow the National Curriculum for French or German and are taught the grammar of the target language and its application, how to express themselves using a range of vocabulary and structures, as well as developing a sense of cultural awareness.
Pupils are required to work independently as well as in pairs and groups, constantly practising their spoken and written language skills, evaluating their progress and reflecting on the effectiveness of their approach. In addition to the three CATs each year, pupils are assessed via regular unit tests.
Fourth and Fifth-Forms (Key Stage 4)
All pupils continue with their study of French and German. In addition the MFL department offers Spanish as a KS4 option and pupils can follow a two year course.
Pupils will develop an understanding of the spoken and written forms of French, German and Spanish in a range of contexts, including materials from countries and communities where these languages are spoken. The course aims at pupils being able to communicate effectively through both the spoken and the written word using a range of vocabulary and structures and developing knowledge and understanding of the grammar of French, German and Spanish and the ability to apply it. This course should provide a suitable foundation for further study of languages.
The remove group, which sits the GCSE examination in French in the fourth form, goes on to study Spanish and will take the GCSE in one year.
Writing: 30% Reading: 20% Listening: 20% Speaking: 30%
The content of the course covers the following five topics:
GCSE Examination Board - AQA
Sixth-Form: French, German, Spanish and Italian
The course builds on the four language skills taught and assessed at GCSE: listening, speaking, reading and writing. A sound understanding of the grammatical structure of the language is required before embarking on the A Level course.
Pupils develop their understanding of contemporary society of the target language country through studying a range of texts. Authentic spoken and written sources are used to introduce issues for discussion as well as to develop language skills. Pupils are introduced to literature, studying at least one text. As at GCSE, the target language is the normal language of communication in the classroom, with more complex areas of grammar being discussed in English.
There is sufficient flexibility in the specification to allow pupils to follow up their own particular interests, for example in the choice of topic for the A2 oral examination. The specification is also sufficiently broad to be a suitable qualification for further study of the language, whether on a traditional, literary-based course, on one which focuses more on contemporary society, or on one which combines the language with, for example, Business Studies, Economics or Law.
AS and A2 Assessment
Unit 1 is the speaking test, with a role-play and topic discussion. It represents 30% of the marks for AS (15% of A Level).
Unit 2 is a written paper, testing the other three skills and with a variety of listening, reading and writing tasks. It represents 70% of the marks for AS (35% of A Level).
Unit 3 is the speaking test, with the discussion of an article in the target language and topic discussion. It represents 15% of the marks for A Level.
Unit 4 is a written paper, testing the other three skills, with a variety of tasks involving comprehension and manipulation of language as well as an extended essay. It represents 35% of the marks for A Level.
The speaking assessment at AS level consists of a role-play in a commercial context and the discussion of a literary text. The A2 oral includes the discussion of an article and of one of two prepared topics. Listening and reading are assessed via a range of test types (true/false, gap filling, translation etc) at AS and at A2. CD Discman are used for the listening comprehension; these are provided by the school.
Additional language classes: Italian, Spanish and Polish
Pupils who are not taking Italian or Spanish as part of their mainstream curriculum may prepare for public examination by attending lessons after school run by embassy staff. Pupils may also study for
AS and A Level Polish in after school classes.
Those attending classes outside the school may apply to be entered for the examination through the school.
School journeys and visits
The Modern Languages Department recognises the considerable benefits of spending time in the country whose language pupils are studying in school. However certain constraints mean that participation in such visits will be limited and priority will always be given to those who have proved to be reliable and responsible in school.
A sample programme of school journeys (based on the current school year) is set out below:
School Journey to
Reims: usually 5 days staying in pairs or groups of three with host families. During the day visits and excursions are organised and one whole day, as well as each evening, will be spent with the host family. In addition pupils will visit a champagne cellar, attend Mass in a local church and visit Euro Disney.
School Journey to
Germany: usually a four-day visit to
Stuttgart which takes place in the half-term of the Michaelmas Term. The group stays in a hotel. A programme of cultural visits (including visits to castles, the Mercedes factory and a theme park) is organised during the stay.
School Journey to
Berlin: a four day visit to
Berlin staying in a hotel. Full day visits are undertaken such as to the
Museum, the Olympic Stadium, the former HQ of the Secret Police, the Reichstag and the main places of historical interest along Unter den Linden.
Lower Sixth Form conference in
Paris: for some years now a school journey to
Paris has been organised to attend the European Study Tours conference on "Your Future in
Europe". This is open to all those studying French in the Lower Sixth Form. As the conference itself is conducted in English the linguistic benefits of this journey are relatively slight. The content of the conference however is directly relevant to those with an interest in languages and the opportunities available in
Europe as well as raising awareness of issues confronting the European Union. A half day conference called “Focus on French” is also included (conducted entirely in French) and there is time to follow up other interests.
For senior pupils it is considered that the greatest linguistic benefit of a visit abroad will be derived not from a group visit but on an individual basis. A number of members of the department have widespread contacts abroad and are often able to arrange visits or exchanges on this basis. Mr Stobbs also has details of language courses and work experience abroad although both of these options are usually very expensive.
We are extremely fortunate to have so many opportunities to enjoy foreign culture on our doorstep in
Italy all have cultural institutes in
17 Queensberry Place
London SW7 2DT
Tel: 020 7073 1350
50 Princes Gate
London SW7 2PH
Tel: 020 7596 4000
102 Eaton Square
London SW1 9AN
Tel: 020 7235 0353
Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Londra,
39 Belgrave Square
London SW1X 8NX
Tel: 020 72351461
It is particularly important that 6th Formers take advantages of the facilities on offer, including use of the libraries and following the cultural programme of these organisations.
Visits are organised on an occasional basis to the cinema, theatre and exhibitions relating to the languages offered by the school; many of these activities will not take place in school time.
Mr J Rodmell (i/c German & Second in MFL Department)
Mrs V Sanchez (i/c Spanish)
Miss S Allen
Miss Z Bickell
Miss M d’Aversa
Mrs K de Lotbinière