Enabling our pupils to use foreign languages effectively to prepare them for the world of work in a global era has countless benefits, not least because global does not necessarily mean that everyone will speak English. Learning a foreign language provides the ability to understand and engage with people in an international context.
The Modern Foreign Languages department prides itself on having a team of dedicated and passionate teachers, supported by native language assistants who contribute to the achievement of excellent levels of oral competence.
The curriculum is set up for pupils to learn French, German and Spanish at different points in the First, Second and Third Forms (Years 7, 8 and 9). These languages can then be studied at IGCSE level up to A Level. There are also opportunities for pupils to learn Arabic, Italian and Mandarin as part of our vibrant extra-curricular programme and to study French with Business as part of the Sixth Form enrichment programme.
Conversational classes are provided in groups at IGCSE level, in pairs in the Lower Sixth and on an individual basis in the Upper Sixth. Provision can also be made for native speakers to attend the Native programme if this is one of the mainstream languages offered in the curriculum. Native speakers of one of the three main languages can attend also access this facility. Listening and speaking skills are reinforced via a weekly lesson in the Language Laboratory. Through the use of iPads an array of fun, digital and educational resources brings learning a foreign language into the digital age.
The department organises two whole school events per year to encapsulate a passion for languages. The European Day of Languages involves fun activities such as Japanese drumming and a Flamenco workshop. Languages are also celebrated through poetry, drama and singing involving over a hundred pupils in the MFL Festival.
Outside the classroom those studying IGCSE are encouraged to attend our termly MFL Bungee lectures designed to stretch and challenge linguistically as well as learn about the cultural richness and diversity of each country. Sixth Form linguists attend “Café Lingua” which provides stimulating outside lectures, theatre trips, debates against other schools and various workshops.
Pupils are actively encouraged to participate in external language competitions such as Nutty Tiles, the Business Language Champions, The Stephen Spender Prize, The University of French Institute Paris Prize and the French Institute Competition. They can also partake in an extensive list of cultural and linguistic trips abroad to attend Language Schools and stay with host families in order to be fully immersed in the culture of the country.
Modern languages combine well with any other subject at university. Mixed degrees with a language and Business Studies or Law, for instance, are popular and many universities offer a language with Science or Engineering degree courses. Specialist linguists can seek employment in a wide range of areas where no specific degree is required but where their linguistic skills will be a useful extra, particularly in commerce and industry.