Confidence and Passion

Head of Department: Mrs Hughes
Telephone: 01344 465068

There are 4 members of teaching staff in the department, speaking a range of European languages. Languages offered at Brakenhale are French and Spanish. Teaching staff in the department also speak German.

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.

Students are assessed with final year exams in all four skills: Listening (25%) Reading (25%) Writing (25%) and Speaking (25%).
The topics covered at KS4 are as follows:

  • Family and Friends
  • School and work
  • Home and local environment
  • Leisure and holidays
  • Healthy living
  • Technology in everyday life
  • Customs and Festivals in French / Spanish speaking countries
  • Global Issues
  • Career choices and ambitions

We offer AS and A2 courses in French, following the Edexcel specification.

The French A-Level is now fully linear; students take their exam at the end of the two-year course. AS students can go on to take A-Level in the second year of sixth form but the AS qualification will not count towards the final A-Level.

At AS and or A2 the students study set literature through the choice of a text and / or film all of which are assessed through a target language essay.
Students also complete an independent research project which is assessed within the speaking exam.
The compulsory themes are as follow: social issues and trends, political and/or intellectual and/or artistic culture.