Modern Foreign Languages

Ethos

The Modern Foreign Languages Team aims to equip students with the skills to understand and communicate in the language they study, whilst also giving them an appreciation of the culture and the way of life of the people of the countries where the language is spoken.  Students are encouraged to be curious about how language works, to develop their communication skills and gain confidence to use language in familiar and unfamiliar settings.  Learning a foreign language also allows students the opportunity to develop their problem solving and teamwork skills, skills highly sought after by universities and employers in today’s workplaces.  

The languages taught at Shenley Brook End as part of the curriculum are French, German and Spanish.  In addition, we can help students to prepare for sitting a GCSE or A level exam in other languages, e.g. for native speakers or for students who have lived abroad and wish to gain a formal qualification in a language not studied at school.


The Team/Facilities

The languages team is based in six classrooms in Phase 3 of the school.  Each classroom is equipped with a digital projector and interactive whiteboard. We use a variety of resources in the delivery of language lessons, including audio and video material, online resources and a selection of games as well as being well-resourced with text books and dictionaries to support students in their learning. There are many free language websites to encourage students to practise their language skills and, in addition, we subscribe to the following websites:

www.linguascope.com | External Link

www.zut.org.uk | External Link

Both of these websites offer activities in French, German and Spanish and students are given a username and password so that they can access the materials at home as well as in school.  The Modern Foreign Languages team also develop their own resources to support delivery of the curriculum, including topic based material, revision activities and grammar explanations and exercises.

There are five language teachers, who each offer French with Spanish or French with German.  In addition, the team is supported by a full-time Curriculum Team Support Assistant (CTSA) who carries out cover and provides administrative support.


Key Stage 3

In Years 7 and 8 all students study a language for three lessons of 50 minutes per week. On entry to the school students are able to express a preference for which language they would like to study, although it is not possible for all students to be allocated their first choice. Students are taught in broadly mixed ability groups in Years 7 and 8.  The Key Stage 3 course aims to develop the skills of speaking and listening and to allow students to express and understand the basic language necessary for a visit to French, German or Spanish speaking countries. Reading skills focus on relevant materials with writing tasks designed to reinforce the other three skills. In addition, the course allows students to expand their vocabulary as well as build up their knowledge of grammar in the foreign language and to learn to apply it in a range of situations.  The topics covered also enable students to gain a cultural insight into life in French, German and Spanish speaking countries.


Key Stage 4

In Years 9, 10 and 11 students who continue studying French, German or Spanish follow the Edexcel specification and have six lessons of 50 minutes over two weeks.  We strongly recommend continuing with a language to those students who have shown an aptitude for languages and who are likely to be successful in the GCSE examination.  The study of a language at GCSE complements other subjects in the curriculum, equipping students with the ability to communicate, to collaborate and to solve problems – highly desirable transferable skills. 

Students who are sitting GCSE MFL examinations in 2017 will follow the GCSE 2012 (linear) specification.  They will be required to submit two speaking controlled assessments (30%) and two writing controlled assessments (30%) and will sit a reading paper (20%) and a listening paper (20%) at Higher or Foundation tier.  Tiers may be mixed.

Students who are sitting GCSE MFL examinations from 2018 will follow the GCSE 2016 specification.  There will be no controlled assessments and all papers will be set by the awarding body.  Each component will be worth 25% and there will be a choice of Higher or Foundation tier (all papers must be entered at the same tier).

For more information visit www.edexcel.org.uk


Sixth form

French and Spanish are offered at AS and A2 and students follow the AQA syllabus. Our numbers at AS and A2 are small but students benefit from more individual attention in both Years 12 and 13. Students will develop independent learning skills, but primarily learn to communicate at a higher level in French or Spanish, and also learn more about a wide range of aspects of societies across the world in which French or Spanish is spoken.  A significant emphasis is also placed on cultural topics, including literature and film.  

For more information about the A Level syllabus visit www.aqa.org.uk

 

extended Learning

In Year 7 students participate in a cross-curricular project with maths and drama.  In Year 8 we run a successful MFL Longrigg trip, where students are able to learn the language of the outdoor activities as well as participating in them.  There is also a small group of language leaders, who plan and deliver activities to pupils in local primary schools. In Years 12 and 13 language students attend Masterclass sessions with other linguists from secondary schools across Milton Keynes to develop their speaking skills, but also to find out information on using languages in the future and networking with other language students.