Mrs R Garcia
Mr R Lennard
Mr M Collier
Mrs H Evans
Miss V Enée
Miss X Lu
Mr S Oak
Miss Z McKerr
S De Abreu
Mr M Syner
We are a language college! By keeping the name, we aim to develop confident, independent, adaptable, assured, resilient, well-rounded young people. We allow all students to benefit from learning a language. We give ‘awe and wonder’ throughout the curriculum, most prominently in years 7 and 8. We make sure that students are enabled to achieve at GCSE, and that those who may not can still achieve the FCSE. We make sure we are not just teaching to the exam, but instead are increasing our students’ cultural capital. We aim to broaden our students’ horizons, by giving them the opportunity to visit these countries and recognise that not everyone speaks English. We endeavour to help students recognise that learning a language is a life skill and is useful, regardless of their future life plans.
In years 7, 8 and 9 our students are split into two bands and have four hours per fortnight of language lessons (5 hours in year 9). In year 7, students either study French or Spanish, depending on which band they have been placed in.
In years 8 and 9, students are in either G band, and study German, or S band, and study Spanish. However, all students were given the chance to study French instead as their main language and we have approximately equal numbers of students studying each language.
In 2017 we were accepted to deliver the Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) and currently have between 20 and 30 students per year group in years 7, 8, 9 and 10 studying Mandarin. We also aim to provide a European language for students following the MEP, with the current year 9s also doing Spanish.
Over the course of KS3, students taking French, German, or Spanish study the following topics:
- All about Me and My Family
- My School
- My Home
- Free Time and Local Area
- Health and Lifestyle
- Custom and Festivals in France/Germany/Spain
- The Environment
- Children’s Rights
Students are regularly assessed in one of Listening, Speaking, Reading, or Writing. The assessments mirror how they are assessed in the GCSE exams. Every week, students are set vocabulary to learn and may also be set other work from Pearson Active Learn to reinforce their learning.
Students are placed into sets according to their ability. The number of sets currently depends on the number of students opting for French. Our most gifted year 8 linguists may complete a Language Leaders course, which involves teaching year 5 students from local primary schools.
At the end of year 8 all students are offered the chance to take on a second language as an option. The current year 8s will be able to choose between French and Spanish, and the year 7s will have the option of German.
Towards the end of year 8 it is also decided that around 10-15% of the cohort will follow the FCSE course in year 9 and these students will not do the GCSE course, instead following a BTEC Leisure and Tourism course in years 10 and 11.
We follow the AQA course for the GCSE.
Around 85-90% of students continue with the study of their foreign language to the end of year 11, at which time they take their GCSE exams. We officially start teaching the AQA GCSE syllabus while students are in their final half-term of year 9. This syllabus reviews the topics taught in years 7 – 9, but covers them in a lot more detail. Our current year 10 and 11 students are assessed in some form every term and will regularly develop their skills in listening, speaking (involving role-plays, describing photo cards, and general conversation), reading (including translations from the Target Language into English) and writing (describing pictures, writing short and longer essays, and translating from English into the Target Language). There is a set 1 for students who will take the higher tier examinations, and 3-4 foundation tier sets.
Exercise books have been created within the department which support the students with vocabulary and grammar, and we teach the three themes in the following order:
Theme 1 (Identity and Culture) – June of year 9 to December of year 10.
Theme 3 (Current and Future Study and Employment) – January of year 10 to June of year 10.
Theme 2 (Local, National, International and Global Areas of Interest) – July of year 10 to February of year 11.
Homework is set on a weekly basis and involves students learning vocabulary and completing a variety of activities from their homework booklets. These booklets have been specifically designed to run parallel to the exercise books and there are three in total, one for each theme). Students may also be asked to complete work on our VLE, Pearson Active Learn.
Students who choose to study French, German or Spanish for A level have the following content to cover over the two-year course:
- Changes in French/German/Spanish society.
- Political and artistic culture in French/German/Spanish-speaking countries.
- Immigration and multicultural society in France/Germany/Spain.
- Recent history in France/Germany/Spain.
They also have to study a work of literature in the Target Language they are learning, as well as watching and analysing a film.
Lessons are almost entirely taught in the Target Language and there is a heavy focus on grammar.
We do not currently offer Mandarin as an A level but it is something that we continue to discuss as a school, especially as the MEP enters its fourth year in 2020-21.
Christopher Whitehead Language College and Sixth Form,
Phone: 01905 423906