Modern Foreign LanguagesSUB MENU
Modern Languages are an integral part of a pupil's learning at The Leys, taught throughout the School up to A Level (French from Year 7, German from Year 8, Spanish from Year 9).
Never before have the opportunities for using languages throughout one’s life been so plentiful. Work and travel to all parts of the globe have become part of everyone’s expectations. In turn, cultural knowledge and understanding remain fundamental to meaningful communication and friendship with others.
Located in the Stamp Building, teaching is delivered in specialist language classrooms as well as a fully equipped Language Laboratory. Trips and exchanges are an integral part of the department. The department is also closely supported by native-speaking Language Assistants who help our pupils with their speaking skills.
The respective GCSE courses for each language have as their broadest aim the desire to provide all pupils with a sound practical knowledge of the language being studied. Within this framework, able linguists are stretched well beyond basic competence and weaker linguists are encouraged to acquire the basic communication skills required for success at GCSE.
The Edexcel IGCSE courses are topic-based, concentrating largely on the areas prescribed by the National Curriculum. Language is practised through studying topics such as Home, Family and Relationships, Free Time, and Local Area. Wherever possible, the target language is used in the classroom for communication between teacher and pupil.
International GCSE now specifically involves a cultural awareness of the country whose language is being learnt. Therefore, there are an extensive range of trips available to France, German and Spain.
Assessment at IGCSE is carried out in the four core skill areas: Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing - and each is worth 25%. For the listening and reading papers, candidates will be required to give some answers in the target language. For the speaking assessment, candidates choose a photo to talk about and are then required to answer questions about two further topics from the syllabus. The writing assessment is based on one short and one longer writing task. These tasks can be in the form of essays, articles, letters or emails and are closely related to the topics from the syllabus.
The French department aims to encourage Leysians to understand the language and culture of France, as well as the other French speaking countries of the world. Trips include a Year 9 trip to Arras, Northern France and a Year 10 exchange to St Jean de Luz, near Biarritz. All Year 10 French GCSE pupils are strongly encouraged to take part in a week-long study-trip to Nice, south-east France, which takes place during the Easter holidays.
The German department stimulates interests in all things German, enabling pupils to see beyond traditional stereotypes and encouraging them to follow this up by visiting German speaking countries.
We run a biannual trip for Years 7 and 8 to The Rhineland. In Year 10 and 11, pupils can participate in our well-established exchange with our partner school Karls-Gymnasium Stuttgart. A group of 20+ pupils travels to Stuttgart for a week at the beginning of the Easter holidays, where they attend lessons with exchange partners and undertake a programme of cultural activities. The Stuttgart group then returns to The Leys in the last week of the Summer Term. We also run a joint Sixth Form trip to Berlin with the History department, and pupils can also undertake work experience placements in Stuttgart arranged by our exchange school.
Spanish is a vibrant language which will allow pupils not only to speak it in Spain, but also in North, Central and South America. We are very fortunate that every year we have a Spanish Assistant (either from Spain or Latin America) who helps our pupils with their speaking skills.
Year 10 Spanish GCSE pupils are offered a week-long residential trip to Málaga, in the south of Spain during May half-term.
We offer A Level courses in French, German and Spanish.
The courses build on the basic skills of GCSE, but the language is applied to realistic, adult situations. Authentic materials, such as newspapers, television broadcasts, novels, films and magazine articles form the basis of reading and listening extracts. Accuracy in writing and speaking is considered to be fundamental, and these skills are developed through practice and training in class, and in individual or small group sessions with native speaker language assistants.
Lessons are varied and stimulating. Every opportunity is taken to discuss national, European and global issues in the target language. All three language departments contribute to a well-established European programme of visits and work experience. Innovations, talks and debates by outside speakers and in-school experts are also developed. Language-specific networked software consistently increases pupils’ opportunities to work independently. Our Sanako 1200 Language Laboratory is a state-of-the-art Digital Learning Centre housed in the department, which gives pupils opportunities to practise their listening and speaking skills.
In the Upper Sixth, there is greater emphasis on extended writing in the foreign language, and the acquisition of more detailed knowledge of the culture. This involves the further development of listening and reading skills, but also examines the study of cultural topics specific to the country such as literature, drama, music and architecture, or the detailed study of a region of the target language speaking country. There are two written components, which test comprehension and written skills. There is also an oral exam which makes reference to the cultural topics studied.
- Mr Simon N Leader BA - Head of French & Modern Languages
- Mrs Helen Williams BA - Head of German
- Mrs Lia Reyes Cortes BA - Head of Spanish
- Mr Neil J Dix-Pincott MA - French Teacher
- Mr Paul Crosfield BA - French & Spanish Teacher
- Mrs Elizabeth Bonnaud MA - French & Classics Teacher
- Mr Philip Blayney - German Teacher
- Mr Edward Bowles - Spanish Teacher