Modern Languages

introducing modern languages

Studying a Modern Foreign Language is a useful investment in the future. Employers and universities are currently crying out for competent linguists! Fluency in and experience of languages can assist a career in a number of areas and it is possible to continue to study a language at university as a subsidiary subject to other degree disciplines.

The department is located next to Powell Hall in a suite of four rooms which offer a supportive learning environment; each room is equipped with ICT facilities, data projection and Wi-Fi, as well as listening and video playback equipment. Resources are stored in a separate central room, which also provides private study space for our staff and Sixth Form students.

There are currently four teachers in the department, three of them native speakers, enabling pupils to learn French and Spanish.


On joining the school in Year 9, the majority of pupils study both French and Spanish. As a result, they are in a position to make an informed choice as to which language(s) to choose for their IGCSE phase, as both French and Spanish then form part of the option system.

Since September 2016, all IGCSE MFL pupils have been prepared for the Cambridge International GCSE. Cambridge IGCSEs are international in outlook, but retain a local relevance. The syllabuses provide opportunities for contextualised learning and the content has been created to suit a wide variety of schools, avoid cultural bias and develop essential lifelong skills, including creative thinking and problem-solving. Their aim is to balance knowledge, understanding and skills in our programmes and qualifications to enable pupils to become effective learners and to provide a solid foundation for their continuing educational journey.


The courses in French and Spanish encourage learners to develop lifelong skills, including:

  • the ability to use a foreign language as a means of practical communication
  • insight into the culture and civilisation of countries where the language is spoken
  • a positive attitude towards language learning, towards the speakers of other languages, and towards
  • other cultures and civilisations
  • techniques which can be applied to other areas of learning, such as analysis and memory skills
  • a solid foundation for progression to employment or further study.

Sixth Form

The department is very excited about the new AS and A Level courses that we have been following since September 2016. We have opted to teach AQA’s new specifications in French and Spanish.


Though the exam format of each syllabus is identical (see below), the content is different for each language as they are all firmly rooted in the cultural context of the target-language speaking country, which is a huge benefit to those pupils who study two languages in the Sixth Form.

French A Level

Year one

  • Current trends (changing nature of family, ‘cyber-society’, voluntary work)
  • Artistic culture (heritage, contemporary music, cinema)
  • The study of a film

Year two

  • Current issues (diverse society, marginalisation, crime)
  • Political life (the right to vote, strikes, immigration)
  • The study of a novel


Year One

  • Aspects of society (traditional and modern values, cyberspace, equal rights)
  • Artistic culture (modern day idols, regional identity, cultural heritage)
  • The study of a film

Year Two

  • Multiculturalism (immigration, integration, racism)
  • Political life (citizenship, monarchies and dictatorships, popular movements)
  • The study of a novel

Final Assessment of both French & Spanish A Level (examined end of U6)
P1: Listening, reading & writing (2h30)
P2: Writing (2h)
P3: Speaking (21-23 mins)


We offer a number of extra-curricular opportunities in the MFL department to enhance and complement teaching and learning. These include:

  • regular Sixth Form Society (‘Polyglots’) events such as film viewings, dinners and discussions
  • annual ‘Nutty Tilez’ global competition, organised by
  • annual foreign language plays performed by a visiting theatre company
  • we are currently looking to establish annual exchanges with schools in France and Spain

(in addition to the above)
- Multiculturalism (immigration, integration, racism)
- Political life (Germany and the EU, youth and politics, German reunification)
- The study of a novel

Native Speakers

We offer our international pupils the opportunity to earn a qualification in their own mother tongue. In Year 11, pupils can be entered in for IGCSEs in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin and Russian. In Year 13, pupils can be entered for A Level in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin, Russian, Dutch & Portuguese. Other languages may be available. These entries are arranged in discussion with the Head of MFL, the Head of Sixth Form and the Examinations Officer.

For more information, please contact Mrs. Maria Duckham, Head of MFL(
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