Languages at Southborough
“We want our students, regardless of ability, to have the confidence to go out into the real world and have a go.”
At Southborough we place a big emphasis on the development of oral communication right from the beginning of Year 7. Students learn how to give their opinion and start a discussion with their partner within a few lessons. We try to develop the skills they will need for success at Key Stage 4 as early as possible in their learning.
Languages at Key Stage 3
Students typically learn how to give basic descriptions and talk about their family, discuss school life as well as talk about their local area and free time interests.
The year ends with the now traditional finale in which boys create their own six-a-side football tournament, learning football songs in French and Spanish and writing banners in the target languages. Prizes go to the team that uses the most French and Spanish on the pitch!
Year 8 sees a greater emphasis on the developing our student’s knowledge of grammar. A focus is based on developing the ability to ask questions and speak using the present, past and future tense. Topics studied in Year 8 typically include fashion, food, holidays and a case study of key cities in France and Spain.
The final half term gives classes the chance to work on a project of the choice in conjunction with the class teacher. Last year Year 8’s took part in the highly successful, “Design your own soft drink advert,” competition in which they filmed their own productions.
In Year 9 students learn new grammatical tenses like the conditional and imperfect. Vocabulary centres on themes like the environment, health and medical problems and ideas for future jobs and careers.
As in Year 7 & 8 there is considerable scope for developing projects around these areas. Last year a Year 9 class developed a part of the school garden into an allotment and made a documentary about their experience in Spanish.
We have made great strides over recent years with 60% of our students regularly choosing either Spanish or French as an option for GCSE.
In 2015 80 % of our students achieved an A*- C grade in French whilst 90 % of our students achieved an A*-C grade in Spanish.
At Key Stage 4 we follow the current AQA GCSE specification for French and Spanish.
At GCSE students develop many of the skills they have learned at Key Stage 3 with a syllabus that reflects many issues that typically affect teenagers. These include; family and personal relationships, the media, their local area, holidays, the environment, school life, jobs and future careers.
We are currently running groups at AS and A2 level in Year 12 and 13 as languages continue to grow in popularity at Southborough High School. Students who choose languages at A-Level have the opportunity of working in small groups with highly specialised language assistants.
We are currently following the Edexcel exam board specification.
We believe that our students benefit from being exposed to languages through a variety of different mediums and contexts. During the last few years at Southborough we have held a number of different events to promote languages such as a Flamenco workshop, trips to the British Film Institute for film workshops and food mornings.
Trips abroad play a key role in fostering cultural interest and linguistic independence. Over recent years we have run successful residential trips to Brittany in France and Madrid, Spain as well as a day trip to the Christmas markets in Lille.
Boys are encouraged to try out the skills they have learned in the classroom and sample the local cuisine!
Our partner school – Colegios El Valle, Madrid.
A key development over recent years has been our partnership with Colegios El Valle in Madrid. Our twice weekly lunchtime Skype club gives our students the opportunity to develop their spoken confidence in their language. Each student has their own pen-pal who they communicate regularly with via email and hand written letter. We have found that the initiative has given a real context to our student’s learning and has had a significant impact on their motivation and progress.
Current AQA GCSE Spanish specification: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/languages/gcse/spanish-4695
Current AQA GCSE French specification: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/languages/gcse/french-4655
NEW AQA GCSE Spanish specification (first teaching September 2016) http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/languages/gcse/spanish-8698
NEW AQA GCSE French specification (first teaching September 2016) http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/languages/gcse/french-8658
Current Edexcel AS/A2 Spanish specification: http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-a-levels/spanish-2008.html
Current Edexcel AS/A2 French specification: http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-a-levels/french-2008.html
NEW Edexcel AS/A2 Spanish specification: http://qualifications.pearson.com/content/demo/en/qualifications/edexcel-a-levels/spanish-2016.html
NEW Edexcel AS/A2 French specification: http://qualifications.pearson.com/content/demo/en/qualifications/edexcel-a-levels/french-2016.html