In today's multicultural society, learning a language has never been more important. It's a myth that everyone speaks English.
The reality is that 90% of the world's population live in countries where English is not the native language and 75% of the world's population don't speak any English at all. Another myth is that the only jobs which use languages are teaching or translating. It's true that there is a great demand for language teachers and translators, but other types of work it could lead to are; sales and marketing, journalism, HM Forces, hotel/leisure industry, and banking and finance, to name just a few. In fact, languages are useful whatever path your career takes.
The Modern Foreign Languages Department here at St. Christopher's consists of seven specialist teachers. We offer French to all pupils from year 7, and those pupils in set 1 also study German from year 8. Both French and German are offered at GCSE level, along with Spanish, which is taught from scratch at the start of year 10. The department has annual subscriptions to the websites Linguascope and Atantt, which enable pupils to access resources and games from home as well as school.
Key Stage 3
In Key Stage 3, pupils are given opportunities to practise the four key skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing within a variety of contexts, and using a variety of teaching methods and resources. The topics covered include:
- Personal identification
- House and home
- The environment
- Food and drink
- Daily routine
- Travel and holidays
Pupils are also taught the necessary grammar structures including past, present and future tenses, in preparation for the GCSE course.
Key Stage 4
In Key Stage 4, pupils follow the AQA specification. The topics build on pupils' knowledge from KS3 and are:
- Home and environment
- Work and education
The course is assessed as follows:
30% Controlled Writing Assessments - 2 pieces during Years 10 and 11
30% Controlled Speaking assessments - 2 pieces during Years 10 and 11
20% Reading exam (at the end of the course)
20% Listening exam (at the end of the course)
To see the AQA GCSE French specification, please click HERE.
To see the AQA GCSE German specification, please click HERE.
For those pupils who may find the GCSE course too challenging, we offer the AQA Entry Level Certificate (ELC) and the Foundation Certificate in Secondary Education (FCSE) in French, both of which lead to a recognised qualification.
We are one of the few schools who still offer a thriving French Exchange, which has been running for over 40 years. We are linked to two schools in the Ardennes region of France, and each year, approximately 40 pupils in years 8-9 are paired up with a partner who has similar interests. The French pupils spend ten days in Accrington, and our pupils also return to France for ten days, staying with their host families and undertaking a wide variety of cultural and social activities.
There is also the opportunity for those pupils who are studying German, to participate in a residential trip to Germany every two years.
Every year, we offer pupils across all year groups the opportunity to participate in a variety of enrichment activities, including language days and events hosted at various universities around the region, as well as film study days at AS and A2-Level. We also offer extra-curricular activities within school, such as a lunchtime Spanish club for KS3 pupils, and various competitions.
French Exchange 2014
Our French Exchange has been running for over 40 years with College Nassau in Sedan and College Jean Macé in Charleville, both situated in the Ardenne Region of France. The trip is open to pupils in Year 8 and Year 9 and many pupils have taken part over the years. On average we usually take thirty-five to forty pupils on the trip each year.
The French pupils come over to us each March and we return to France in June, staying with our host families for ten days. When visiting England, our French counterparts visit York Minster, The Jorvik Centre, Cadbury World, bowling, treasure hunt in Accrington and spending time within school.
On this year's exchange, the pupils were accompanied by Mrs Holden, our French Exchange Co-ordinator, and Miss Marsh and Mrs Gerrard, from the Modern Languages Department.
As in previous years, the group flew from Manchester to Paris Charles de Gaulle, meaning that the journey was relatively quick, compared to travelling by coach to Dover, ferry to Calais and then coach again!
During their ten days in France, the group followed an action packed programme of activities, including a day trip to Paris, visits to a variety of museums, Sedan Castle, a fishing trip, a day at Disneyland Paris, as well as a day at our other partner school in nearby Charleville where they completed a treasure hunt. The pupils also attended a reception at the Town Hall and were able to experience life in a French school through attending lessons. They also served a typical English breakfast to some of the school's younger pupils.
Preparations are already underway for next year's exchange to Charleville, which will involve pupils from the current years 7 and 8, so watch this space for more news!
For details of next year's French Exchange, please check back in September.
- Mrs. H. Wareham (Head of Modern Foreign Languages)
- Miss K. Marsh (Head of German)
- Mrs. A. Pollock
- Mr. M. Greenhalgh
- Mrs. N. Anderton
- Mrs. K. Gerrard
- Mrs. O. Hamey
- Mrs. K. Holden (French Exchange Co-ordinator & Department HLTA)