Modern Languages

French, German & Spanish

We are a vibrant and innovative department consisting of a team of five enthusiastic and dedicated language teachers. We operate collaboratively and are passionate about our subject, working hard to inspire our pupils with a love of language and foreign culture.

In addition to our classroom activities, we run a successful French exchange programme with a Marist School in Toulon for pupils in Years 9 and 10.  We facilitate a pen friend scheme with Marist Schools in Germany and Spain. In October 2018, pupils in Years 9 to 13 will have the opportunity to study Spanish in Spain as part of an organised school trip. 

Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)

All pupils study at least one language to GCSE. On arrival in Year 7, they study French and follow the accelerated French course, Studio 1. In Year 8, pupils start Spanish lessons and they continue to study French. During Year 9, pupils choose their GCSE options and opt for either French or Spanish. Some linguistically able pupils will choose to study both languages at GCSE.

Key Stage 4 (GCSE)

All pupils study at least one language at GCSE; either French or Spanish. Some pupils will study both languages. We follow the Edexcel exam board for all of our MFL public exams.

The Edexcel GCSE in French/Spanish allows students to develop their ability to communicate with native speakers in both speech and writing. They will study across a variety of contexts relevant to their age and interests. They will also develop a greater awareness of culture of the target language communities and countries. Questions across all four language skills are set in common contexts, addressing a range of relevant contemporary & cultural themes. They are organised into five themes:

  • Identity & culture

  • Local area, holiday, travel

  • School

  • Future aspirations, study & work

  • International and global dimension

The new 9-1 grading system will replace A*-G grades and there will no longer be any controlled assessment. All papers will be set & marked by Edexcel. The papers will be tiered (Foundation or Higher), with 25% assessment weightings in each of the four skills of listening, reading, speaking & writing. Students must be entered for a single tier across all papers. They will complete their speaking assessment in April/May and all other assessments in May/June in any single year.

The new MFL exams will include:

  • Short translations from & into the target language

  • Some target-language questions in the reading & listening paper

  • Authentic stimuli in the reading paper, including literary texts

Beyond GCSE

This qualification offers a suitable progression route to GCE AS & GCE A Level in French or Spanish. In addition, the study of one language at GCSE can facilitate and help promote the learning of other languages. The qualification may also add to an individual’s employability profile. Students will be able to apply their knowledge, skills and understanding to authentic, real-life contexts. They will develop transferable skills that support higher education study and the transition to employment, together with an understanding & appreciation of the target language countries & cultures.

Key Stage 5 (AS/A Level)

Board: Edexcel

Course Aims

The Modern Foreign Languages A Levels inspire learners and give them skills for life, enabling them to use language independently and encouraging a deeper understanding of the integration between language and culture.  A variety of themes cater for a range of student interests and our qualifications support students who see languages as a skill to enhance career or travel prospects, as well as those who want to continue to study languages at a higher level.

Assessment Overview

Paper 1: Listening, reading and translation

1 hour and 50 minutes 40% of the qualification 64 marks

Section A: Listening (24 marks)

A listening assessment based on a recording, featuring male and female Target Language speakers. Students will respond to comprehension questions based on a variety of contexts and sources.

Section B: Reading (28 marks)

A reading assessment based on a variety of text-types and genres where students will have to respond to comprehension questions

Section C: Translation into English (12 marks)

An unseen passage to be translated from Target Language to English.

Paper 2: Written response to work, grammar and translation

1 hour and 40 minutes 30% of the qualification 48 marks

This paper requires students to translate a previously unseen passage and complete an essay based on one of two themes. This paper also draws on the study of one discrete French/Spanish works: either one literary text or one film. The work must be taken from the prescribed list for each language. The literary texts listed include a range of classic and contemporary novels and one play. All of the films are feature length.

Students complete Section A and one question from either Section B or C

Section A: Translation and grammar (16 marks - 12 marks for translation and 4 marks for grammar). Students translate an unseen passage from English into Target Language.

Section B: Written response to works (literary texts) (32 marks)

Students select one question from a choice of two for their chosen literary text. If a student answers one question in this section then they do not complete Section C.

Section C: Written response to works (films) (32 marks)

Students select one question from a choice of two for their chosen film. If a student answers a question in this section then they do not complete Section B.

Paper 3: Speaking

  • Internally conducted and externally assessed
  • Total assessment time: between 27 and 30 minutes, which includes a single period of 15 minutes formal preparation time
  • 30% of the qualification
  • 48 marks

Task 1 (28 marks) requires students to read and respond to two short texts based on Theme 1 and then hold a discussion.

Task 2 (20 marks) is based on a discussion from Theme 2. Students will choose to discuss one sub-theme drawn from the main Theme.

Students will be assessed on their ability to communicate and interact effectively, summarise and understand written sources in speech, manipulate language accurately and show knowledge and understanding about the culture and society where the language is spoken.


French Spanish
  Year 1 AS Level Year 1 AS Level

Social issues and trends:

Evolving society

Changing family structures


The world of work

Changing family structures

Impact of tourism

The world of work

Political, intellectual and artistic culture



Festivals and traditions



Festivals and traditions

  Year 2 A Level Year 2 A Level
Social issues and trends Immigration and the multicultural society Immigration and the multicultural society
Political, intellectual and artistic culture The Occupation and Resistance The Franco dictatorship and transition to democracy

For Paper 2, students must select for study, two works from the list below. This can be either two literary texts or one literary text and one film.

French Prescribed Literary Works & Films

Literary texts

Boule de Suif (Un Duel, Deux Amis, La Mère Sauvage), Guy de Maupassant, 1880 (short story)

La Place, Annie Ernaux, 1983 (novel)

Le Blé en Herbe, Colette, 1923 (novel)

Le Château de ma Mère, Marcel Pagnol, 1957 (novel)

Le Gone du Chaâba, Azouz Begag, 2005 (novel)

Les Mains Sales, Jean-Paul Sartre, 1948 (play)

Les Petits Enfants du Siècle, Christiane Rochefort, 1961 (novel)

Le Tartuffe, Molière, 1669 (play)

L’Étranger, Albert Camus, 1942 (novel)

No et Moi, Delphine de Vigan, 2007 (novel)

Thérèse Desqueyroux, François Mauriac, 1927 (novel)

Un Sac de Billes, Joseph Joffo, 1973 (novel)


Au Revoir les Enfants, dir. Louis Malle (1987)

Deux Jours, une Nuit, dirs. Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne (2014)

Entre les murs, dir. Laurent Cantet (2008)

Intouchables, dirs. Oliver Nakache, Eric Toledano (2011)

La Haine, dir. Mathieu Kassovitz (1995)

La Vie en Rose, dir. Olivier Dahan (2007)

Le Dernier Métro, dir. Françöis Truffaut (1980)

Les Choristes, dir. Christophe Barratier (2004)

Les 400 Coups, dir. Françöis Truffaut (1959)

Un Long Dimanche de Fiançailles, dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet (2004)

Spanish Prescribed Literary Texts and Films

Literary texts

Bodas de sangre, Federico García Lorca, 1932 (play)

Como agua para chocolate, Laura Esquivel, 1989 (novel)

El coronel no tiene quien le escriba, Gabriel García Márquez, 1961 (novella)

La casa de Bernarda Alba, Federico García Lorca, 1936 (play)

Nada, Carmen Laforet, 1943 (novel)

Réquiem por un campesino español, Ramón J. Sender, 1953 (short story)


Diarios de motocicleta, dir. Walter Salles (2004)

El laberinto del fauno, dir. Guillermo del Toro (2006)

La lengua de las mariposas, dir. José Luis Cuerda (1999)

Mar adentro, dir. Alejandro Amenábar (2004)

Volver, dir. Pedro Almodóvar (2006)