Modern Foreign Languages
Staffing & Resources
The Modern foreign Languages Department has five qualified MFL teachers who are supported by three assistants, who are native speakers. All language lessons are taught in dedicated teaching rooms, each with a fitted digital projector and interactive white boards. Teaching groups also visit the Learning Resources Centre to give them a hands-on experience of the various web-sites, which we encourage them to use for independent study.
- Mrs E Albuixech (Head of MFL)
- Mr M Clare (Second in Department)
- Mrs H Goymer
- Mrs Clare
- Mr C Toledo
Key Stage 3
In Key Stage 3 all students study French, and either German or Spanish, depending on the rotation for their year of entry. In Year 7 students have 3 hours per language over the fortnightly timetable. In Year 8 they have 4 hours per language over the fortnightly timetable, and in Year 9 students have 3 hours per language over the fortnightly timetable.
In all three languages, we balance our work between the four modalities of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. In Key Stage 3 we work from an inspiring Scheme of Work (SOW), which is driven by research and the need to focus on three main bodies of knowledge: Phonics, Vocabulary and Grammar. The thinking behind our SOW is in line with the Review of MFL Pedagogy, a report published by the Teaching Schools Council, which drew on research into foreign language learning and teaching and on the knowledge and experience of a wide range of experienced practitioners. It is also aligned to our current aspirations for curriculum intent, implementation, and impact and preparing a solid foundation for GCSE content and examinations, which builds on the core grammar and vocabulary outlined in the programmes of study for Key Stages 2 and 3. We aim to capture the attention and imagination of our students and breathe new life into the learning of languages. Students like to see a purpose to learning, they want to feel they are doing something real and meaningful and the way in which we deliver the course does just that.
From an early stage, students are taught to become more independent in their approach to language learning. There is no substitute for rote learning of basic vocabulary and verb conjugations, so we encourage students to think about different ways of learning, to support them. We expect students to find the strategies which best suit them, so that they can take responsibility for their own learning. This will often include the use of certain websites and other ICT-based methods. The content we study in Key Stage 3 is based around the most frequent vocabulary and verbs in that particular language. Retrieval of this information is of paramount importance and so is built into our lessons, as we introduce new concepts. By the end of Y9, students should be confident both in their understanding of, and their use of verbs in past, present and future tenses, as well as the sounds of the language and how these sounds are communicated. Throughout Key Stage 3 we encourage students to analyse their own work, to identify strengths, weaknesses and ways they can improve.
Key Stage 4
All students are required to study at least one of their languages up to GCSE. We believe that learning another language will give our students a valuable asset and source of satisfaction in later life. It is a key component of a full academic education, upon which top universities and employers insist, even where languages are not directly relevant to the chosen course or job. Our keenest linguists often continue with both languages in Key Stage 4.
Our chosen Examination board is AQA: full specifications are on their website (www.aqa.org.uk). Students attend five lessons a fortnight. The course content is largely a continuation of what we have studied in Key Stage 3. There is a strong emphasis placed upon the teaching of grammatical structures and on a greater understanding of the language to enable students to manipulate language more effectively to their own ends and to communicate their interests. The four skills of Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking are practised throughout the two year course and are given equal weighting in the awarding of their overall GCSE grade. Listening, Reading and Writing are assessed by examinations at the end of the course and the Speaking examination is conducted about a month before this by the class teacher and marked externally by the examination board. As well as using the AQA specific textbooks as a tool for language learning and teaching, the Languages Department is well equipped with additional materials created by staff to aid students’ preparation for the examinations. Every student in Years 10 and 11 also has contact time with the Foreign Language Assistant at least once every fortnight for intensive speaking practice.
Key Stage 5
Sixth form students can take any of our three languages, provided they have secured a good grade at GCSE. A Level French, Spanish and German courses are currently offered in collaboration with all three schools that make up the Sleaford Joint Sixth Form: Carre’s Grammar School, Kesteven and Sleaford High School and St George’s Academy. There is a huge emphasis placed upon the importance of independent working and research. Students are expected to manage their time effectively and take advantage of the departments’ resources to further their understanding and knowledge. There is a sixth form workroom with internet access and audio facilities available for private study. The departments subscribe to a range of authentic reading and listening material which the students can make use of in their private study time.
Lunchtime support sessions are available for anyone who has missed work and needs to catch up or is struggling with some aspect of their language learning. These are staffed voluntarily by a qualified teacher or by one of our assistant native speakers.
Other extra-curricular activities include European Day of Languages, Business and languages challenge, Onatti Theatre, outside speakers coming in to share their experiences, and different careers opportunities. We consider visits abroad to be an important motivator in language learning. We therefore encourage parents to take their sons to the relevant country, if at all possible. We also play a part at Carre’s, by providing opportunities for language-based residential visits. Our aim is to offer each student an opportunity to visit the relevant country, for each of their languages, at some stage in their school career. This, of course has been hampered by Covid restrictions in the last couple of years, but we are aiming to restore these trips over the course of this academic year. Trips that we have offered in the past have included our successful Exchanges to Spain and France and residential trips to France, Spain, Austria, Germany, China and Senegal.