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Studying languages is increasingly important in the modern world and we have a long tradition of success in language learning.

If you want to study languages at university, or to use them at work, having two languages at GCSE is a definite advantage.

Years 7-8

French

The French course is a lively and practical introduction to contemporary French life. Students have a complete target language exposure and broaden their skills and knowledge about France and its culture. 

We teach grammar and also cover topics such as animals, holidays, house and family life, weather, travel and shopping. All four language skills – speaking, listening, reading and writing – are given equal importance. Oral work requires students to collaborate in pairs or small groups, preparing imaginative role plays and exciting dialogues.

Comprehension skills involve both textbook and real-world language sources. We also welcome the Onatti Theatre group every year to perform plays, completely in French, in Years 7, 8, 9 and 10. 

Written tasks initially demand short but accurate French, with the length and sophistication of the students’ output gradually increasing over time.

Spanish 

In Year 7 and Year 8, students will be exposed to Spanish language and cultural elements in the classroom always in target language and they will broaden their skills and knowledge about Spanish-speaking countries and their culture as a result.

While covering topics such as pets and animals, house and family life, free time activities, school life, where they live, weather and holidays, students will also have the opportunity to extend their Spanish grammar and improve on these structures as the course progresses.

All four language skills – speaking, listening, reading and writing will be practised in lesson and/or at home and students will also collaborate in pairs or small groups. There will be space for writing and singing songs, reading short passages, watching videos and take advantage of all the resources available in school and outside school.

Creativity will be an important part of the course as there will be many opportunities to create presentations, short videos or posters based on the topics mentioned above, both using standard tools and iPads.

When engaging in an oral task, whether it be at home or in class, students will be preparing imaginative role plays or exciting dialogues and the use of new technologies will help them record their presentations or short films to present in class.

Comprehension skills involve both textbook and real-world language resources.

Written tasks initially demand short but accurate Spanish, with the length and sophistication of the students’ output gradually increasing over time.

Year 9

French

The Year 9 French course is a motivating and challenging course with an introduction to France and the Francophone world.

The course is built around grammar and topics such as health, holidays, school, weather, work and theme parks such as the Futuroscope near Poitiers. All four language skills – speaking, comprehension, reading and writing – are given equal importance. Oral work requires students to collaborate in pairs or small groups, preparing imaginative role plays and exciting dialogues.

Comprehension skills involve both textbook and real-world language sources. We also perform Onatti French plays, completely in French, in Years 7, 8, 9 and 10. In Year 9, students are invited to take part in a French exchange in Rouen. Students learn what to expect when visiting a French school and how to make a good impression when staying with a French family.

Written tasks initially demand short but accurate French, with the length and sophistication of the students’ output gradually increasing over time. By the end of Year 9, the students are getting to grips with imaginative and creative writing tasks with the help of online and paper resources. 

Spanish 

In Year 9, students will develop their linguistic abilities by learning practical aspects of the language using their previous knowledge gained in Year 7 and Year 8. They will be prepared to communicate accurately in daily situations in a Spanish-speaking country. They will be able to shop for clothes, order food and drinks, talk about their daily routine, free time, travels, professions and festivals.

While discovering new vocabulary and culture related to the topics mentioned above, students will focus on grammar structures such as the comparative adjectives, superlatives, impersonal constructions, ordinal numbers, the preterite tense, the imperfect tense and the future tense.

To develop their cultural awareness, they will explore the differences between England, Spain and some Spanish-speaking countries through the topics taught during the year, and in order to succeed in this, students will be encouraged to develop their research skills and to take a proactive part in their learning.

They will have plenty of opportunities to practise their language skills in class and at home taking part in various activities such as role plays, the creation of ePostcards, iMovie projects or any other iPad apps that will allow them to learn while having fun and enjoying the hours they will dedicate to the Spanish language.

German 

In Year 9 it’s all about you! We look at topics relating to you in the German language. The more German you learn, the more you can talk about yourself. 

We might discuss hobbies and interests, personal life, family, school, holidays, food and drink, shopping, clothes, places or holidays.

As we build upon the range of vocabulary, we look at the features of the German language, which includes compound nouns such as Zusammengehörigkeitsgefühl (a feeling of belonging together) and German words used in the English language such as Schadenfreude (being pleased at the misfortune of others).

Ich habe Hunger. Wir gehen ins Restaurant.

You'll understand what is being said and we'll see how to structure sentences – you'll learn about genders, cases, verbs and tenses. We reflect on the differences and similarities between German and English as well as any other languages you have met.

No language can be taught without looking at the cultural context, so we also look at the German-speaking countries, with particularly close reference to Munich, where the year 10s go to on the German exchange visit. We find out about festivals, pop music, films, songs and trends relating to the German-speaking countries.  That could mean making a hexenhaus (a special gingerbread house), looking at lanterns for Martinstag, rapping the German way with die fantastischen Vier, watching Dinner for One, dramatising stories from the children’s classic Der Struwwelpeter or one of the Grimm brothers’ fairytales.

If you can't wait until Year 9 to study German, or simply would like to broaden your range of languages, then there's German club. This is available for students in Year 7 & 8 interested in learning some German and gaining an insight into the culture. This usually involves hands on activities, such as making a Hexenhaus, creating a lantern for Martinstag and designing a costume for Karneval.

mandarin 

你好! With 1 in 5 people in the world speaking Mandarin Chinese, it is an important world language to learn. The UK government has acknowledged that this country needs many more Mandarin speakers as business with China becomes increasingly important.

In Year 9, you learn the foundations of the language, how to pronounce the sounds and have fun with the four tones. You also learn that writing characters is fun and that a story is contained within each one. The topics we learn are all about your life: your family, hobbies, school life, food and drink and holidays. As you build up your vocabulary, you will also find out that Chinese grammar is not that difficult, verbs do not change form and sentence structure is logical and straightforward. As the year progresses you start to build up more structures so you can communicate more fully in the language.

Chinese culture is fascinating, for example you will find out why the number 4 is unlucky and why you must never give anyone a clock as a present. You will learn about the colourful Chinese New year celebration and have a chance to taste different Chinese teas. You will be able to compare your school day with that of your peers in China. You will find out if you can really see the Great Wall from space and learn about the cruel first Emperor who initiated its construction.

There is a range of different activities in class to help you learn, including games, songs, role-plays. At the end of the course we take a trip to a local Chinese restaurant to put your language skills to use in a real life situation, as well as refine your chopstick skills.

By the end of Year 9, students are familiar with many different aspects of Chinese culture and have a good foundation in the language to start the GCSE course.  Being able to speak Mandarin Chinese will equip you with valuable professional skills for the future as well as give you access to a fascinating language and culture, rich in tradition and history.

Year 10 onwards

russian 

Здравствуйте! Our Russian course is a stimulating introduction to this beautiful language.

As well as establishing the grammatical foundations of the language and addressing common themes such as personal information, travel, shopping, work and lifestyle, we take time to examine specifically Russian phenomena. These include Russian names, Russian festivals and holidays, Russian folklore and fairy tales, famous Russian people and Russian art. We learn about the brutal Russian winter, the peculiar Russian diet and the role of poetry in Russian life.

Lessons are lively and inclusive, using materials from a huge range of sources, both traditional and modern. 

We offer a range of trips and exchanges