Languages are for life. The study of a language is seen as an important part of our students’ education as 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. Students learn to appreciate different countries, cultures, communities and people. 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.
The vision of the Languages department is to provide an engaging, stimulating and challenging environment where students learn to communicate effectively and confidently in the foreign language. Competency in a language unlocks the technological, enterprise and vocational abilities which enhance the employability skills of our pupils. We aim to promote cultural awareness and develop our young people into global citizens of the 21st century.
Our Philosophy & Approach:
At Wyedean, all students learn one language, Spanish or French from Year 7 and this alternates each year. At GCSE a large number of students continue with at least one language and there is the option to study a second language "fast track" at GCSE if students have shown linguistic ability. Following a course in a language encourages students to derive enjoyment and benefit from language learning, and be inspired, moved and changed by following a broad, coherent, satisfying and worthwhile course of study. Learners should recognise that their linguistic knowledge, understanding and skills help them to take their place in a multilingual global society and also provide them with a suitable basis for further study and practical use of the language. The study of a Language prepares learners to make informed decisions about further learning opportunities and career choices.
Cultural context and awareness is an integral and essential part of the language, and Year 9 French students have the opportunity to visit France in a residential visit, whilst Year 9 Spanish students take part in the Spanish trip to Madrid in July. Year 10/11 Spanish students have the opportunity to take part in the GCSE Spanish trip to Barcelona. We also conduct activities to celebrate European Day of Languages.
Our curriculum promotes the mastery of grammar and vocabulary. We time to study topics and ensure solid foundations of grammar are built during the early stages. We believe that this allows students a greater opportunity to develop fluency and become more proficient in the language that they are learning. Our homework and assessment structure is one that is designed around retention. We use regular low stakes quizzes (kahoot/quizlet live/wordwall /gimkit, etc) on various topics and grammar, to assess if students have retained their learning and are able to apply it.
Spanish is currently taught from Year 7 and French from Year 8. This alternates each year. Students have the opportunity to opt for a second language in year 10 (fast track GCSE) if they have shown linguistic ability in KS3. All language courses are supported and supplemented by authentic material, magazines, videos, websites, song and teacher-generated worksheets. During the first three years of learning French or Spanish, students will cover essential language learning skills.
GCSE (AQA) in French and Spanish is currently offered at Key Stage 4 and we use the following course books:
- French: AQA GCSE French
- Spanish: Mira Rojo AQA GCSE Spanish
The target language is the main language of the classroom. This ensures maximum exposure to the language and the opportunity to participate in ‘real’ situations. Learning homework is set regularly and is an essential and integral part of the course. All aspects of MFL are covered, including listening, speaking, reading and writing. The department has recently reviewed and restructured its schemes of work at KS4 in order to provide our students with a consistent and more disciplined learning experience. Students are required to listen and respond to different types of language, communicate in speech for a variety of purposes, read and respond to different types of written language and communicate in writing for a variety of purposes.
We currently offer AQA A Level French and Spanish at Key Stage 5. The aim of the A Level Language course is to give students the opportunity to develop an interest in language learning and to develop understanding of the language in a variety of contexts and genres. They will be able to communicate confidently, clearly and effectively in the language for a range of purposes and develop awareness and understanding of the contemporary society, cultural background and heritage of countries or communities where the language is spoken. Our students are lucky enough to be buddied up with native student mentors from Cambridge University, which sees them using Skype to practise their speaking skills on a weekly basis. More information about this approach here
We use the AQA exam board for our Key Stage 5 courses and follow the Hodder course books for both languages.
Spanish Film Study: El Laberinto del Fauno
Spanish Literary Study: Como Agua Para Chocolate
French Film Study: La Haine
French Literary Study: L’Etranger
Our Partner Schools:
The Languages department have long standing links with many schools worldwide however the three schools below are the ones that we do the most work with, within our curriculum:
Colegio Lestonnac, Valladolid, Spain: We have been partners with Lestonnac School in Spain since 2016. We have and continue to do letter exchange projects / pen pals with our KS4 classes and our KS5 classes have the opportunity to take part in a week long work experience at this school, during the A Level course. More about the school here
Colegio Antonio Fraguas Forges, Madrid, Spain: This is a new link that we have established this year. We are planning on starting a pen pal exchange with students in year 8 next year with this school which will hopefully tie in with our Madrid trip in Year 9. More about this school here
Lycée Villebois Mareuil, Montaigu, France: We have been partners with Villebois Mareuil School in France since 2016 a few of their ex-students currently attend Wyedean) and have had visits from several of their students during the summer term. We have and continue to do letter exchange projects / pen pals with our KS3 French classes. We are currently planning a day trip for students to meet their pen pals in 2020! More about the school here
Linguascope and Other Language Learning Websites:
As a department we use Linguascope. Language-gym, Duolingo and Memrise to enhance our students language learning. We use these websites for setting homework, particularly in KS3 but they are also incredibly useful for independent work as they contain excellent audio clips to practise pronunciation and plenty of quizzes and games for practice. Practice is the only way to improve in a Language and we advise that students practise their language, little and often.
If students are struggling with Languages in school then these websites are an excellent way to help catch up.
Here are our grammar booklets for KS3 students, but can be useful for older students too. It contains the grammar skills that are needed to be built on at secondary level in Languages. We would encourage students to use this to make sure they are fluent in these skills, or work on the ones they struggle with by using the websites Linguascope, Language-gym, Duolingo or Memrise.
Here is a transition pack (year 11 into year 12) and also a grammar booster booklet for A level Languages students. They contain all of the grammar that A level Languages students will build upon through A level Languages. Students should make sure they are fluent in the basic grammar prior to starting A level and work on any grammar that they struggle with by making use of memrise.com and language-gym.com.
French Grammar Booklet - A level and KS3/GCSE
Year 12 Summer Holiday Transition Work:
Please ensure that this is completed and handed in on your first lesson back in September. Thank you.
We love to celebrate languages and cultural diversity at Wyedean. Every year we celebrate European Day of Languages on the 26th September by holding a Languages Cafe where students can come and taste food from Spain, France and Germany. We have also had a Spanish Flamenco workshop, where students had the opportunity to learn some Flamenco dance moves and understand more about Spanish Culture.
The Languages department currently offers the following enrichment activities during school time:
- European Day of Languages on 26th September
- Mandarin Club on a Wednesday lunchtime
- Languages film club on a Friday lunchtime
- Real Lives Languages Qualification on a Thursday lunchtime (year 9 only)
- Languages Leaders Qualification on a Friday lunchtime (year 9 only)
- Homework drop in (all year groups) Wednesdays and Thursdays lunchtime
- Italian club (from September 2019)
- Skype sessions to partner schools (throughout the year with different year groups)
- Being a ‘Language Buddy’ for our Japanese/Spanish/French immersion day students that visit us from InLingua Language School, Cheltenham
How To Help Your Child At Home:
Languages is a subject area which many conscientious parents fret about. At Parents’ Evenings we regularly hear things like, “I worry because I just can’t help him with his Spanish like I can with other things.” Here are some thoughts on how you can help. Language learning should be viewed a little like learning an instrument; your child will need time, space and encouragement to practise regularly. Indeed, the occasional opportunity to perform will be a huge motivator too.
Click HERE for some ideas:
Languages Trips and Excursions:
Students at Wyedean are also fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take part in various, popular residential Languages Trips.
KS3 French Trip:
One of the trips is to St Omer, France run in conjunction with “NST”. During this excursion, students visit a French bakery and chocolate factory where they are able to taste freshly made items. They also take part in crepe making and there is even a treasure hunt in French, around the local village. They also produce a diary in French after the trip with a diary entry, photos, ticket stubs, receipts and anything that reminds them of their trip! The best ones are awarded a prize!
KS3 Spanish Trip:
Our other residential trip is to Madrid, Spain. The Spanish trip is also run in conjunction with “NST” and comprises a trip to the Royal Palace, the Bernabéu Stadium, home of Real Madrid Football Club, a visit to the Bull Ring ‘Las Ventas’, the Madrid wax museum, an opportunity to taste tapas in an authentic tapas restaurant and a day at Madrid’s Theme Park. Students are required to speak Spanish whenever possible and embrace any opportunities to practice the language. They also produce a diary in Spanish after the trip with a diary entry, photos, ticket stubs, receipts and anything that reminds them of their trip! The best ones are awarded a prize!
KS4 Spanish Trip:
Year 10/11 Spanish students have the opportunity to take part on the GCSE Spanish trip to Barcelona and comprises a trip to the Sagrada Familia, the Nou Camp Stadium - home of Barcelona FC and a visit to Gaudi’s Parc Guell. Students will also have an opportunity to taste tapas and they will attend an afternoon of intense Spanish language lessons at a Barcelona Language School. Students are required to speak Spanish whenever possible and embrace any opportunities to practice the language.
KS5 Spanish Trip:
For our A Level Spanish students, we are extremely fortunate to be able to offer a week long work experience trip to our partner school in Valladolid, Spain. The trip comprises of spending a week at our partner school, Colegio Lestonnac, working as an English Language Assistant with the opportunity to teach English to small groups of students. Students are required to speak Spanish whenever possible, particularly when speaking to the school staff during the day and embrace any opportunities to practise the language. In the evening, there are visits to local places of interest and/or activities with staff. Students are also responsible for purchasing their own lunch and dinner as this is part of the experience of living and working in Spain for the week.
We love to celebrate languages and cultural diversity at Wyedean. Every year we celebrate European Day of Languages on the 26th September by holding a Languages Cafe where students can come and taste food from Spain, France and Germany. We have also had a Spanish Flamenco workshop, where students had the opportunity to learn some Flamenco dance moves and understand more about Spanish Culture. Students at Wyedean are also fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take part in two, popular residential Languages Trips; one of the trips is to St Omer, France. During this excursion, students visit a French bakery and chocolate factory where they are able to taste freshly made items. They also take part in crepe making and there is even a treasure hunt in French, around the local village.