Modern Foreign Languages
Ms J BexleyHead of Faculty
Ms J Bexley
There are many benefits to learning a foreign language: you can travel the world, meet new people, improve your memory, and universities and employers love linguists too!
At Claydon High School, either French or Spanish is currently taught to all students in Year 7, 8 or 9 in mixed ability groups. In Year 9, students are encouraged to select a language as one of their options for GCSE. In exceptional cases, two languages at GCSE is a possibility.
Students are taught to listen, speak, read and write in the foreign language through a range of activities. Staff conduct their lessons as much as possible in either French or Spanish and students regularly use audio and video clips to help them develop their listening skills. Spontaneous speaking is encouraged through pair/group work, songs and games. For GCSE students there is also the opportunity to speak with a native French or Spanish speaker during the year. Reading skills are developed through the use of whole class reading comprehensions, dictionary work and languages websites. Written work develops from simple statements about themselves in Year 7 to extended writing on a range of topics such as healthy living and the environment at GSCE.
Key Stage 3
What will I learn?
In KS3 students study four modules per year in each language as well as a cultural focus each term.
Spanish and French
Travel and Tourism
Life as a young person
Family and descriptions
Leisure and celebrations
Work and future plans
|Free time and holiday plans
Currently Spanish students are loosely following the Viva scheme of work and in KS3 French we have adapted the Dynamo course of study. We have also introduced elements of the NCELP phonics programme into KS3 and will continue to adapt and improve our curriculum to take account of the new MFL GCSE (first cohort to sit in 2026).
How will I be assessed?
There are progress tests each half term and weekly homework tasks which include vocabulary testing and grammar practice. Students receive regular feedback on how to make progress. There are end of year exams in the four skills – listening, speaking, reading and writing - for every year group.
Key Stage 4 French and Spanish
Why should I choose this subject?
Students study French/Spanish so that they can understand and use the language effectively for the purposes of practical communication. By exploring the culture of French/Spanish speaking countries they are encouraged to develop a positive attitude towards speakers of French/Spanish and other cultures more generally. Students aiming to achieve the EBacc will need to select either Geography or History in combination with a language.
What exams are there?
The course is assessed through an examination in two tiers: Higher (grades 9-5) and Foundation (grades 5-1). The Higher level papers are usually longer than the Foundation papers. The assessment covers the four skill areas which are weighted as follows:
- Listening (25%): Students listen to pre-recorded material by native speakers. Their comprehension is tested by a range of question types, mainly requiring answers in English.
- Speaking (25%): This is made up of a role play, a photo card and general conversation. It lasts between 10 and 12 minutes and is conducted by the class teacher.
- Reading (25%): Reading comprehension skills are tested by a range of question types, including a translation into English.
- Writing (25%): Students complete a series of essay questions and a translation from English to French/Spanish.
Where will this subject take me?
This course provides an essential preparation for studying French or Spanish at Sixth Form or simply for enjoying the language in a leisure context. A foreign language is a valuable secondary skill in many careers and an A-Level language is highly valued by employers, particularly as our links with Europe and the rest of the world evolve. Students wishing to study languages at university are encouraged to pursue a second language, although this can be taken up at university. Many universities look favourably on students with language qualifications, both GCSE and A Level. Many now offer degree courses in which a foreign language can be studied as a subsidiary subject, or jointly e.g. Law and French, Engineering and French, Spanish and International Relations etc.
What will I learn?
Progress is made by acquiring vocabulary in the language and understanding the grammar so that students are able to communicate with increasing ease. Students need to be able to read and listen to the language as well as speak and write it, in order to achieve a passable grade.
KS3 and KS4 MFL Curriculum Map - currently under review