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, Spanish and German from year 7 through to A-Level. The department has annual subscriptions to the websites Linguascope and Atantot, which enable pupils to access resources and games from home as well as school.
Key Stage 3
On entry into year 7, all pupils are assessed for their aptitude in Modern Foreign Languages, through a carefully designed test. This test assumes no prior knowledge of any languages other than English, but instead tests pupils' ability to recognise word patterns and ascertain linguistic structures. The results of this test, together with their KS2 scores and other data and information collected from their primary schools are used to place pupils into sets.
All Y7 and Y8 pupils have 6 MFL lessons per fortnight as follows:
- Set 1 - 3 French, 3 German
- Set 2 - 3 French, 3 Spanish
- Set 3 - 3 French, 3 Spanish
- Set 4 - 3 French language, 3 French culture and extra literacy skills
In their MFL lessons, pupils are given opportunities to practise the four key skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing within a variety of contexts, using a variety of teaching methods and resources. Pupils are also taught the necessary grammar structures and skills including past, present and future tenses, and translation in preparation for the GCSE course.
The topics covered include:
- Personal identification
- House and home
- The environment
- Food and drink
- Daily routine
- Travel and holidays
Key Stage 4
In Key Stage 4, pupils follow the AQA GCSE specification. The topics build on pupils' knowledge from KS3 and are in three broad themes as follows:
- Theme 1: Identity and culture
- Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest
- Theme 3: Current and future study and employment
These themes are broken down into sub-topics. Details of these are available on the AQA website.
The GCSE course has a Foundation Tier (grades 1-5) and a Higher Tier (grades 4-9). Students must take all four question papers at the same tier.
There are 4 exams at the end of Year 11 - listening, speaking, reading and writing. Each has equal weighting of 25%.
Specific details of the requirements for each paper are also available on the AQA website.
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 20-30 pupils in years 7-9 are paired up with a partner who has similar interests. 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.
During their ten days in France, our pupils follow an action packed programme of activities. In the past, such trips and activities have included; a variety of museums, a day trip to Paris, Sedan Castle, a fishing trip, a day at Disneyland Paris, as well as a treasure hunt solving clues in French. The pupils also attend a reception at the Town Hall and are able to experience life in a French school through attending lessons. They also serve a typical English breakfast to some of the school's younger pupils.
Preparations are already underway for this year's exchange visit, which will involve pupils from the current Years 7-10, so watch this space for more news!
For details of next year's French Exchange, please check back in September.
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 an annual celebration of the European Day of Languages, and various competitions.
- 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)