Modern Foreign Languages

The MFL Department at John Spence Community High School aims to provide students with a stimulating environment in which to learn a language.

The experience of learning and using a foreign language makes a unique contribution to the curriculum by taking pupils out of the familiar environment, which is pervaded by English, and allows them to explore the lifestyle and culture of other countries and cultures through the medium of their languages. It can give the learner the experience of entering a foreign environment and existing within it. Coping for a while with a different linguistic medium, whether in the classroom or a foreign country can be a liberating and enjoyable experience. By learning a foreign language pupils improve their personal and social skills by learning to communicate, co-operate and contribute in class, consider the views of others and adjust to different social situations.

Why Learn Languages?

  • A foreign language will enhance your grammar skills and improve your knowledge in English.
  • A language will enable you to travel
  • 40- 50% of English words come from French
  • A language will increase your problem solving skills and improve your memory
  • Many firms are now multinational so you will be able to compete successfully when looking for employment
  • Learning a language encourages respect for others
  • 60% of British Trade is with non-English speaking countries.
  • British Business has the poorest language skills in Europe.
  • In many other European countries a second language is introduced in primary school.
  • France is the world’s major tourist destination (75 million tourists a year!)
  • French is the most widely taught language after English
  • French is a major language of the business world.
  • To secure the Ebaccalaurat criteria
  • A language will make a difference in how you see the world and how the world sees you!!

Over the course of KS3, students study a variety of topics from stories and fables to historical events and media entertainment.

Students in KS3 receive 5 x 1 hour lessons per fortnight. Year 7 continue with their French experience. Years 8 and 9 Sets 1 and 2 receive one lesson of Spanish per fortnight. Year 9 then have the opportunity to study French or Spanish at GCSE.

In 2017, Year 8 will make their option of either Spanish or French to follow in Year 9. This will afford them the best opportunity to secure the foundations of their preferred language, if they choose to continue to GCSE level, following guidance, workshops and a parent information evening.

Students in KS4 receive 5 x 1 hour lessons per fortnight.

At KS4 students study the Edexcel syllabus for GCSE. The four skills are assessed – Writing and Speaking controlled assessments account for 60% of the final grade. Reading and Listening skills are examined at the end of the course and each account for 20% of the final grade at GCSE.

Themes include:

  • Media and Culture
  • Sport and Leisure
  • Travel and Tourism
  • Business, Work and Employment

As a Department we are keen to encourage extra curricular cultural experiences to further enrich language learning.

Our Visits Abroad

The Modern Foreign Languages Department forever strive to provide opportunities for pupils to spend time in either France or Spain. Educational visits are a fantastic opportunity for children to build on their schoolwork / interests in an exciting, interesting and informative way. Educational travel companies often have a wealth of experience in organising successful educational visits, and are committed to providing safe, educational and enjoyable trips that also offer real value-for-money. The knowledge and expertise they provide ensures that each group has an individually tailored trip to meet their needs. Our visits always prove to be a valuable and enjoyable experience.

Our Visits To France

The MFL Department organises annual visits to France in either the summer term or at Christmas. The groups normally stay in Paris or Normandy and have the opportunity to visit Christmas markets, the Eiffel Tower and Stade de France. They also spend a day at Disneyland and Parc Astérix and take a boat trip along the river Seine.

Our Visits To Spain

Our visits to Spain afford us the opportunity to travel by coach to Northern Catalonia and visit the cultural areas of Northern Spain such as Girona and Figueres.

Attractions such as the Salvador Dali museum and Barcelona city’s with famous cathedral, Castle of Montjuic and Nou Camp Stadium are visited.

Students have the opportunity to visit Cambrils museum and it’s underground caves. And there is also the opportunity to visit the attractive outdoor market in Salou. The itinerary also includes a full day excursion to PortAventura.

The Big Challenge Club

The MFL Department is now a member of the Big Challenge Club which is the first pen pal club in Europe where both teachers and students can organize letter or email exchanges simply and safely. The best and most interesting way of learning a language is by practicing it in real contexts. A number of students have signed up and have already made contact with pupils across Europe. We aim to increase our links with schools in France and Spain and have already had requests for a pen pal exchange from schools in Normandy and Paris.

MFL Merit Awards

We have a merit system this year to award those pupils who we feel have made a great effort and therefore improvement.

  • 5 Merits ~ Letter Home. Award
  • 10 Merits ~ Postcard Home. Pencil case full of goodies
  • 15 Merits ~ Letter Home. Outstanding Effort Award
  • 20 Merits ~ Certificate. Letter. Star Prize

MFL and Education Business Partnership Event

The Department has strong links with Routes into Languages, a government funded organisation who proved a wealth of opportunities for our students both in school and at the universities.

Extra Curricular Activities

The Department strives to develop its programme of extra curricular activities at every opportunity.

All pupils are offered the opportunity to enjoy their language experience outside the classroom environment with quality clubs, opportunities to take part in visits abroad and experience a wealth of visits and visitors.

There are visits to Newcastle University where students have the opportunity to translate and interpret using the University’s language laboratory. They participate in both Russian and Portuguese lessons and make an animated film in French.

There are visits to the CLC to build on language and ICT skills.

This year students took part in a Languages Bake Off at Sunderland University, not only cooking a foreign dish but also filming a mini Bake Off film which was presented to other schools at the University.

The More Able Linguists

This year we launch ‘MFL Language Leaders’ with targeted students, who display a keen interest in languages, in Years 8, 9 and 10.

We also launch a group of more able linguists who will work with other students in school and also in local primary schools:

  • 11 - Aspiring A-A* group
  • 10 – Aspiring A-A* group
  • Year 9 – MFL Language Leaders
  • Year 8 – MFL Language Leaders

Gifted and Talented at GCSE level

We seek to develop opportunities to develop A to A*s by offering enrichment activities such as master classes, educational visits abroad, CLC visits and activities held at the Universities.

The Modern Foreign Language staff are:

  • Ms B Tose (Curriculum Leader)
  • Mrs R Ward
  • Mr M Brown