At St Edward's the learning of foreign languages is a key part of the curriculum in recognition of the huge demand for these skills amongst employers. It is this focus on our students' future prospects that also drives our decision to be one of few local schools to offer German to significant numbers of students. German and French are the top 2 languages desired by British businesses, which is no surprise with Germany being our biggest global trading partner, and with France alongside the USA and Netherlands making up the top 4.
We teach both languages from Year 7 through to GCSE and A level, with our students achieving very strong results. Many of our former students then study languages at degree level or link language study to another discipline.
We offer all students in languages the opportunity to take part in Exchange visits to France or Germany. As well as providing an opportunity to practise and hone their language skills these full exchange visits provide a full cultural immersion to our students, with them hosted by a family throughout their stay. The cultural, linguistic and character-building experiences offered by these trips provide a unique opportunity to our students.
Key Stage 3
Students at Key Stage 3 currently study French or German. Throughout Key Stage 3 we seek to teach students the vocabulary and grammar constructs needed for further study at GCSE.
Lessons are designed to be fast paced and fun, with a focus on speaking and writing the language as well as listening and reading comprehension. We aim to immerse students in the culture of the main countries whose language they are learning and also to drive students to make rapid progress so that they are ready for the rigours of GCSE and A level study. We encourage extensive and regular home learning to supplement work completed in class and expand students' linguistic horizons. As in later study we provide students with online tools to support this.
Modules studied during Key Stage 3 include: personal information, my school, my free time, my holidays, my family, my home, my town, shopping and healthy living
We also teach all key grammar constructs needed for GSCE including: nouns and gender, past, present and future tenses, key verb conjugations, use of conjunctions, use of subordinate clauses, modal verbs, the imperfect tense, negatives, quantifiers, comparative and superlative.
Key Stage 4
In our globalised society and internationally-competitive employment market, a GCSE qualification in a foreign language is increasingly stated as desirable, and in some cases a requirement, for entry to many of our top universities. It is also hugely advantageous in many careers, and a compulsory constituent of the EBACC group of subjects that are being strongly promoted. But the fact that languages are important is far from the only reason to choose them. Learning languages to GCSE level is also enjoyable, challenging and interesting. As well as opening doors, language skills also open eyes and minds to other cultures, giving students an enhanced understanding of the world and of our closest and more important partner nations.
At Key Stage 4 we follow the AQA GCSE curriculum, where the focus is on the rapid expansion of students' vocabulary and grammatical understanding so that they can communicate with confidence by the time of the exams. The course includes the use of authentic resources such as newspaper articles and the topics studied are current and interesting. The course is designed to develop students' cultural understanding as well as their language skills and unlike previous specifications focuses on true ability in the language for use in real-world situations. Assessment is through 4 exams in listening, reading, writing and speaking which are sat at the end of Year 11.
Topics studied include: marriage and partnership, technology, leisure activities, customs and traditions abroad, our town and region, social issues, the environment, holidays and travel, school and careers and global issues.
As well as the learning that takes place in the classroom, we also offer students the opportunity to travel abroad to use their language skills in context and to experience life in Germany and France for themselves.
Method of Assessment
Exam board: AQA
Unit Assessment: All assessment is by final external exam with an even 25% split between 4 assessed skills: listening, reading, speaking and writing.
Pathways after Year 11
One of the great things about learning a language is that it is so much more than a subject - you will be acquiring a skill which, with practice, you can retain for the rest of your life. After Year 11 you will have the opportunity to continue studying your chosen language to A Level. This enables you to achieve a strong level of fluency in the language, and additionally, as one of the small group of "facilitating subjects", languages at A Level will enable students to apply for entry to a range of courses at any university. Languages give students a clear edge in their future lives and careers.
Key Stage 5
At A Level our students follow the AQA course and are well supported by our 2 Language Assistants who work on a one-to-one basis with our students focusing strongly on speaking. Students are taught by 2 teachers in each of French and German and students are encouraged to communicate entirely in the language studied, even outside of lessons!
Mr M Lenarduzzi
Modern Foreign Languages Subject Leader