Communication. If you were to ask what really matters nowadays, a lot of professionals would answer communication skills. If you ask young people what communication is about, the majority are likely to answer that it is about being online, being in touch with their friends, sharing what they do, but very few would answer that it is a life skill, or that it is about talking to people face to face and being able to have an exchange of views with others.
In the Language department our innovative curriculum has therefore been implemented to inspire students, open up their mind and help them develop their language potential so that they become confident communicators.
In Year 7 students arrive with a range of different skill levels, different languages learnt at Key Stage 2 and different views on learning a language. We build upon those skills and further develop their language potential through the teaching of the French and Spanish languages. We use the target language as much as possible in lessons and cover all skills (listening, reading, writing and speaking). The mixed ability classes allow lower ability students to make more rapid progress through the support of peers who had already started developing a knowledge of the language.
Students with a flair for languages will have the opportunity to further develop their skills with authentic material and communicate with native speakers in order to use the language in context and boost their confidence.
From Year 8 students are in ability sets and lessons are aimed at further developing their knowledge of the language, together with their listening, reading, speaking and writing skills. There are higher expectations regarding the quality of the language produced and students are actively encouraged to move away from pre-learnt material and develop their own improvisation skills. The development of those skills will allow students to further develop the way they deal with unexpected situations.
French is an EBACC subject and Year 9 start studying an element of the GCSE course. This course will help students to make an informed decision for their choice of options in Year 10 and further develop the skills required to confidently prepare for Key Stage 4. Authentic material is used on a more regular basis and innovative strategies are embedded in lessons as well as homework tasks to support and train students to face the challenges of an improvised conversation. At the end of Year 9 students will be familiar with a wide variety of real-life situations, which will enable them to communicate effectively.
In Year 10 students start preparing for the GCSE examination that they will take at the end of their Year 11. Year 11 is the continuity of Year 10 and in those two years students will further develop the skills that they were using at Key Stage 3. A range of authentic and online material will be used to help them to learn how to concentrate on key words to understand a spoken or written passage. They will also further develop the ability to use essential vocabulary to express themselves accurately in any given situation, orally or in writing so that they can face with confidence the demands of the GCSE examination. Trips to France will also allow them to put in practice their language skills in the real world.
Link to GCSE specifications:
Theme 1: Identitity and culture
Topic 1: Me, my family and friends
Topic 2: Technology in everyday life
Topic 3: Free-time activities
Topic 4: Customs and festivals in French-speaking countries/communities
Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest
Topic 1: Home, town, neighbourhood and region
Topic 2: Social issues
Topic 3: Global issues
Topic 4: Travel and tourism
Theme 3: Current and future study and employment
Topic 1: My studies
Topic 2: Life at school/college
Topic 3: Education post-16
Topic 4: Jobs, career choices and ambitions
Assessment in 4 skills at the end of Year 11
In Year 12 and Year 13 the small class sizes allows for the teaching and homework to be personalized. Students will use and adapt the vocabulary and skills gathered from Year 7 to Year 11 in order to be able to develop conversations on any given topic. Priority is given to enhancing students’ analytical skills to enable them to deal with a wide range of unexpected situations based on authentic material. Students will have the opportunity to further develop their improvisation skills in order to be able to have a conversation on any given topic in which they would fully understand and be fully understood by their interlocutor. Students also have the opportunity to take part in an exchange during which they would spend five days in the country, live with a family and attend lessons in a French school in order to have a total immersion experience. This experience allows students to fully use the language in context and use in real life all the communication strategies they have developed in the classroom.
Assessment in 4 skills at the end of Year 13
Robust regular assessments of the four skills are in place in order to assess the academic progression of all students and judge the impact of our curriculum. Those assessments take place on a regular basis and allow students to demonstrate what they are able to do academically but also show the development of their confidence and communication skills in both the target and their native language.
- Revision sessions for all year groups
- Homework club in the morning
- Spelling Bee competition
- Have your say competition
- Residential trips abroad
- Key Stage Five exchange trip
- Day trip to Bagatelle
- French club
- Spanish club