Key Stage 3 (Years 7-8)
French and Spanish are among the most popular subjects in our school taught at KS3 using the National Curriculum framework. Although most pupils are formally introduced to the Languages in Year 7 for the first time, they make rapid progress before the end of Year 8 due to the active learning approach used, quite appropriately, in teaching these living languages. The schemes of work cover basic elements of speaking, reading and writing in the context of pupils’ immediate personal and social context. This makes learning all the more relevant. Informal assessment is built into every lesson and pupils’ progress is measured through calendared Interim Assessments.
Key Stage 4 (Years 9-11)
This stage consolidates work begun in the previous couple of years. Here, the significance of language becoming a chosen option by pupils themselves adds more seriousness and impetus to their language study. They follow the Edexcel modular specification for the full GCSE course, which covers the broad topic areas of Business, Work and Employment, Travel and Tourism, Sports and Leisure and Media and Culture. The curriculum is broad and yet flexible to the point of including opportunities for pupils to work on areas that are of particular interest to them. Informal Assessment is built into every lesson, while formal Assessment is through GCSE Controlled Assessment Speaking and Writing tasks. There is a terminal examination in Listening and Reading.
GCSE Language specifications are changing for first teaching from September 2016. The changes at GCSE include:
- the removal of controlled assessments
- 100% external assessment
- 25% assessment weightings per skill
- tiered papers
- the introduction of a new 9-1 grading system (top grade = 9).
Opportunities abound for pupils to experience Language Learning live in the country of origin of the languages. Within this context are the annual day and residential visits to France and Spain, as well as visits to the popular Europa Centre in Havering, where pupils practise the target languages in authentic and semi-authentic settings.
In the past, pupils have, as part of their enrichment experience, spent a day in Oxford Street targeting French native speakers with questionnaires in French about life in England compared to France. The idea was for pupils to improve their language competence, but also, to enhance their social and communication skills. Visits to sweet and chocolate making factories in France with hands-on opportunities for pupils have, also, contributed in shaping their outlook to the world of work in the international context. More importantly is the link with College Gambetta in Lille, where our pupils have starred in taking an English lesson through the medium of French.
Every day, at lunch time, our French Assistant runs a session of intervention for individual pupils or little groups of all years. Spanish intervention takes place on Monday, Tuesday and Friday lunch times. There are intervention classes also in French only for a couple of hours. Recent impacts have involved KS4 candidates recovering quickly after falling behind with work.