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Shenley Brook End School

Shenley Brook End School

Modern Foreign Languages


Learning a language is ‘a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures’. It gives students the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. It encourages students to appreciate and celebrate difference. (DfE).  

The Modern Foreign Languages curriculum allows students to understand and communicate with people from around the world. It aims to teach students to build their vocabulary and manipulate language to suit their purpose in a range of scenarios and to facilitate understanding of grammar construction. It also promotes curiosity about and an appreciation of the culture and the way of life of the people living in the countries where the languages are spoken, as well as encouraging a more open view of the world. It may also enable students to study and work in other countries, giving them more choice for their future career paths.  

Communicate with others, connect with people abroad both professionally and personally. Express yourself in another language, use problem solving skills and teamwork to achieve a goal or use your language skills to travel more confidently and make the most of the experience. All of these things are possible if you study a language. What are you waiting for?   

Further Information

The Team/Facilities

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.   

There are seven language teachers in the MFL team and the department is based in five classrooms in Phase 3 of the school. 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 website:  

This website offers 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.  

Key Stage 3

In Years 7 and 8 most students study a language for two lessons of one hour 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 five lessons of one hour 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 sitting GCSE MFL examinations currently follow the GCSE 2016 specification*.  All papers are set by the awarding body.  The qualification comprises four components (listening, speaking, reading and writing) and each component is worth 25%.  The exam is taken at Higher or Foundation tier (all papers must be entered at the same tier).  

* The new specifications for 2024 are being finalised by the exam board. 

For more information about the GCSE syllabus visit  

Sixth Form

We are able to offer French, Spanish and German at A Level (usually two of the three in a year) and students follow the AQA syllabus. Our numbers at A Level are small but students benefit from more individual attention in both Years 12 and 13. Students develop independent learning skills, but primarily learn to communicate at a higher level in the language, and also learn more about a wide range of aspects of societies across the world in which the languages are spoken.  A significant emphasis is also placed on cultural topics, including film and literature.    

For more information about the A Level syllabus visit  

Extended Learning

In Year 7 students participate in a cross-curricular project with maths and drama.  We have organised successful residential trips to France, Spain and Germany this academic year and hope to offer these trips on a rotational basis over the coming years.  There is also a small group of language leaders, who plan and deliver activities to pupils in local primary schools plus a popular Spanish penpal club.