'He who does not know foreign languages does not know anything about his own.' "
Our Modern Foreign Languages department is a friendly, passionate and talented team of linguists who strive to challenge and support students at all levels. We place great emphasis on giving pupils the tools to explore languages both in the classroom and beyond, and to gain confidence by practising and experimenting.
A language is a living, ever-changing thing so the learning experience should reflect this. In lessons, students make use of all types of media; are encouraged to develop independent study skills from an early stage and to be inquisitive in their study of languages. Some lessons also take place in our state-of-the-art Languages Laboratory. We also nurture an understanding of the cultural context which surrounds each language.
Mandarin has been part of the curriculum since 2007 and we had our first cohort of GCSE and AS candidates sitting the exams in summer 2011 and 2012. The Chinese department has established a link with Jin Yuan Senior School, one of Shanghai’s leading schools. A bi-annual study exchange visit has been in place since 2009.
Key stage 3:
French, German, Mandarin and Spanish are taught at all levels; girls have experience of all four languages in a carousel system in Years 7 and 8 before making a free choice of three of these languages to study in more depth from Year 9. Latin is also included in this choice.
Students have a broad experience of languages and must study at least one Modern Foreign Language in Key Stage 3 and at GCSE. Many choose to study two or even three. We study the AQA courses in French, German, Mandarin and Spanish.
Pupils develop the four skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening, which are taught in the context of cultural topic areas and through the use of many different types of media. We emphasise the importance of understanding grammar, so that pupils develop the skills to express their own ideas creatively and to become confident, independent language learners.
We teach French, Spanish and German at A Level. This involves in-depth study of contemporary issues such as equality, positive discrimination and modern family life. Further topics studied include racism and the environment, alongside classic works of literature, film and translation. There is a continued focus on the four key skills.
The A Level Mandarin syllabus also aims to develop analytical study skills and essay-writing skills for the Chinese Culture component, thus resulting in a syllabus which provides a very sound foundation for study at university level.
We are lucky to be situated close to central London and take full advantage of theatres, cinemas, galleries and workshops.
From Year 11, pupils participate in email language exchanges with schools abroad. Sixth Form students are encouraged to organise work experience or language courses abroad.
There are many opportunities for students to take part in trips and exchanges abroad. We run annual trips to Montpellier, Murcia, Costa Rica and Munich, as well as an exchange to Tübingen. Every two years, Mandarin students in Years 9 - 11 have the opportunity to travel to Shanghai for 10 days where they spend time speaking in Mandarin and exploring the city.