Curriculum – KS4 Modern Foreign Languages

Why Choose a Modern Foreign Language?

The ability to communicate in a foreign language not only makes travelling abroad far more enjoyable but also is a skill highly valued by a wide range of employers. At university, business and management courses frequently include language modules. Moreover, universities see the ability to study and succeed in a foreign language as a marker of commitment, dedication and academic ability, and therefore having a qualification in a language is high on the list of priorities of many of Britain’s best universities. Language graduates are able to enter a wide range of professions, such as journalism, tourism, law and publishing, to name just a few. And finally, we must not forget that the ability to communicate with people from other cultures is one of the most satisfying and rewarding experiences in life, and one that opens up a whole host of doors to a young person.

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” Nelson Mandela

Spanish or French?

We recommend that all pupils take a GCSE in a foreign language. French may be the obvious option for the majority of students, as you have all studied it since Year 7; however the intensive work that you have done on your second language during Years 8 and 9 in Spanish is more than adequate preparation for choosing the language as a GCSE option. It is also possible to take two language GCSEs; students who do this really benefit from the similarity of the courses and always do very well.

Course Content

Over the course students will cover a variety of topics linked to them and their wider global community. All four skills are based around the following three themes: identity and culture, local and global areas of interest, current and future study and employment. Within these students will have the opportunity to branch out to debates of topics which are of genuine interest to them. The course structures for French and Spanish GCSE are identical and focus on developing reading, listening, speaking and writing skills. The course is now linear with all exams taking place at the end of Year 11 and there is equal weighting of all four skills (25%) and students must be entered for the same tier (higher or foundation) for all. The reading and listening exams give students the opportunity to discover and reflect on extracts of authentic materials and we are pleased to see that translation has become a key element of the written paper. With increased emphasis on spontaneous speech and interaction our aim is to enable students of all abilities to develop their language skills to their full potential, equipping them with the knowledge to communicate in a variety of contexts with confidence.

Trips, Visits and Exchanges

We believe that it is important to see how foreign languages can be put to use in authentic “foreign” situations. This allows a student of a language to really see the progress they are making and adds relevance to their studies. For this reason we offer a wide range of trips and visits for both languages, from exchange programmes and residential trips, to day trips to many of the facilities that London already has to offer. We now run exchanges to both Strasbourg in France and Córdoba in Spain. 

Exam Board – AQA
Final Grade – New GCSE Grades 1-9
Structure of Assessment
25%  Paper 1 – Listening exam
25%  Paper 2 – Speaking exam (role-play & general conversation)
25%  Paper 3 – Reading exam (including short translation)
25%  Paper 4 – Written exam (including short translation)