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Modern Foreign Languages (French and Spanish)

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“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”

We are passionate about giving our students an insight into, and an appreciation of, the cultures of the countries where their chosen languages are spoken as well as building solid foundations for them to speak and understand these languages.

To support the learning and acquisition of each language we run weekly support  clubs  across different Key Stages and extension activities for Gifted and Talented learners than combine practical skills and challenging grammar.  Examination results over many years have been excellent with some students choosing to continue a language as part of their post-16 studies.

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.

We see visits abroad as an extension of our classroom work. These visits are arranged for many year groups, whether as work experience, homestays, cultural visits or exchanges. Our annual exchange visit to Spain and our French trip to Normandy are just a few of the exciting opportunities available to all students. 


“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

Year 7

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

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.

In the final half term students re-visit the topic of food and get the chance to make a series of traditional French and Spanish dishes.”

Year 9

In Year 9 students learn new grammatical tenses like the imperfect and conditional that help prepare them for study at GCSE. There is a project focus on the wider French and Spanish speaking world and in the final half-term we re-visit the topic of sports to learn about contemporary summer events.



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.

Our Spanish partner school:  


Intent, Implementation & Impact: The 3 I's


Our purpose is to make the difference for all students by providing them with the skills to communicate in the language that they are learning so that they have the confidence to go out and express themselves in a globalised world.  


We achieve our aims via the curriculum. In the MFL Department our curriculum at Key Stage 3 closely reflects the interests of our students by contextualising the learning content whilst giving them a broad grounding in the grammatical structures needed for success at Key Stage 4. We believe that this is of key importance in developing an initial interest in learning a language.

In 2022 we are re-introducing trips abroad as part of our extra-curricular offer. In July we will be running a day trip to Boulogne-Sur-Mer in France. In the October half term we are planning to run a trip to Madrid in Spain for Year 9 and 10, with the intention of re-starting our exchange programme with Colegios El Valle school in 2023.

We run frequent enrichment activities in the department such as role play performances, cookery mornings and theatre visits. We will be welcoming back Onatti Theatre Company in October 2022 for performances of French and Spanish plays.


Our examination results have been consistently good over a number of years. 

In June 2021 our French GCSE group attained an Average Point Score of +0.28, with 84% of students attaining Grade 4 and above. This made French the 2nd highest performing subject in the school. Despite an average points score of -0.06, Spanish also performed well with 88% of students attaining a Grade 4 and above.  

Key Stage 4 Courses



Around 40% of our students choose a language at GCSE, in line with the national average for boys.

We take pride in the excellent outcomes we attain at GCSE.  In 2019 outcomes for our students at Key Stage 4 were particularly strong in Spanish.  Progress 8 at Spanish GCSE was + 0.22 with 89.5% of students attaining levels 4-9.

In French GCSE 75.8% of students achieved Level 4-9.

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.

The GCSE covers three main topic areas

● Identity and culture

● Local, national and international areas of interest

● Current and future study and employment Students will acquire a strong understanding of French/Spanish grammar and develop their ability to understand different types of spoken language by listening to authentic sources. Students will also learn to communicate orally across a range of specified contexts and write detailed texts, communicating in a number of different grammatical tenses.


Paper 1 Listening exam: 25% of GCSE 35 minutes (Foundation Tier), 45 minutes (Higher Tier) 40 marks (Foundation Tier), 50 marks (Higher Tier)

Paper 2 Speaking exam: 25% of GCSE Non-exam assessment 7 – 9 minutes (Foundation Tier) + preparation time 10 – 12 minutes (Higher Tier) + preparation time. 60 marks (for each of Foundation Tier and Higher Tier)

Paper 3 Written exam 25% of GCSE 45 minutes (Foundation Tier), 1 hour (Higher Tier) 60 marks (for each of Foundation Tier and Higher Tier)

Paper 4 Written exam 25% of GCSE 1 hour (Foundation Tier), 1 hour 15 minutes (Higher Tier) 50 marks at Foundation Tier and 60 marks at Higher Tier.

AQA GCSE French Specification

AQA GCSE Spanish Specification


Key Stage 5 Courses


AS/A2 Level

We currently run both A-Level French and Spanish groups and follow the AQA specifications.

A Level French SpecificationA Level Spanish Specification

Useful Resources

Curriculum Maps









Mfl french y7Mfl french y8Mfl french y9Mfl french y10

Mfl french y11Mfl spanish y7Mfl spanish y8Mfl spanish y9Mfl spanish y10Mfl spanish y11Mfl spanish y12