There are 4 members of teaching staff in the department, speaking a range of European languages. Languages offered at Brakenhale are French and Spanish: half of year 7 learn French and the other half learn Spanish. Students in top set in year 8 and 9 study both languages. Teaching staff in the department also speak German and Italian fluently.
The key aim of the department is to instil fun and relevance into the teaching of Modern Languages, and for students to leave our three specialist classrooms with confidence in and a genuine passion for Modern Foreign Languages.
The department celebrates a range of language based events throughout the year, in collaboration with other faculties at Brakenhale. This includes European Day of Languages, Bastille Day and International Day of the Hispanic Speaking World. We also run an annual trip to Paris for Years 8 and 9.
We use a range of resources and teaching methods to empower students to use foreign languages spontaneously and fluently. We are proud to say that Modern Foreign Languages are popular at Brakenhale, and that we are an ambitious and growing department.
In line with the new National Curriculum, there is a strong grammar focus at Key Stage 3. Students learn a new tense or language structure per half term, around different topic areas. We aim for students to be able to use language independently with increasing accuracy, spontaneity and fluency. Translation and transcription feature across the Key Stage 3 curriculum. Students are assessed in Reading and Listening every half term, as well as in Speaking or Writing every half term. We cover the following topic areas at Key Stage 3:
|Year 7||Year 8||Year 9|
|Winter half term 1||Foundation language studies; the present tense||Food and drink; negatives with the near future||Media; the perfect and imperfect tenses|
|Winter half term 2||Family members and pets; irregular present tense verbs||Clothes; comparatives and superlatives||Holidays; irregular past tense verbs|
|Spring half term 1||House, home and daily routine; revision of the present tense, regular and irregular||Town; the perfect tense||Jobs and work; the conditional|
|Spring half term 2||School; expressing opinions and recognising the near future||Core grammar consolidation; revision of year 7 and year 8 grammar||The environment; using the imperfect with the conditional|
|Summer half term 1||Core grammar consolidation; revision of year 7 grammar covered so far||People and descriptions; irregular past tense verbs||Leisure; perfect, imperfect tenses and simple future|
|Summer half term 2||Hobbies; Using the near future and “if” clauses||Healthy living; giving and understanding instructions (the imperative)||School; translation and transcription skills|
The Modern Languages department follows the AQA syllabus at Key Stage 4. The GCSE syllabus allows for more creativity and independent application of grammar and language. Vocabulary tests are set weekly in year 11 to ensure that students are best prepared for their final exams.
Currently, students are still assessed via controlled assessment throughout Key Stage 4 in Speaking and Writing, which accounts for 60% of their final grade, and in Reading and Listening exams at the end of year 11, which accounts for the remaining 40%. This will change from 2016 onwards when students will be assessed by final exams in Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking. The topics covered at Key Stage 4 are as follows:
- School and work
- Home and local environment
- Leisure and holidays
- Healthy living
We offer AS and A2 courses in both French and Spanish, following the AQA specification.
The 4 skills of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing continue to be developed with further emphasis on life in France/Spain and other French/Spanish-speaking countries. We also spend time looking at the news using a range of resources such as websites or newspapers.