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In Year 7 students begin to develop the basic skills of language communication. We provide skills in basic introductions and by the end of the year the students will have a firm grounding in the areas of introducing themselves, describing their family, describing their school and free time activities. At the same time we emphasize language-learning skills, which are not only transferable to their language learning but also to other areas of the curriculum. These skills include, memorization techniques and learning and applying the principles of phonics. Grammar is a key area of focus and, through this, we hope to make a key contribution to literacy at the academy.
Students are also inducted into our online learning platform called Active Learn. Every pupil will be trained on how to use this invaluable web-based tool that will enable them to reinforce their learning in the home environment.
In year 8 the department continues to build the grammatical knowledge base of the students with an emphasis on the past, future and present tenses. We teach the students how to manipulate and ‘make the most’ of the language knowledge they have. Spontaneous use of language is an important focus due to the expectations of the new GCSE curriculum in year 9.
Topics covered include, Describing your holidays in the past, your use of technology and the media, the world of food, and how you spend your money.
The students in this year begin their GCSE studies. There are exciting changes coming on line this year for GCSE study in languages. This means that the assessment profile has changed from a continued assessment approach of speaking and writing to more focus on the students’ ability to produce language spontaneously. To this end, year 9 is a key period where students are grounded in the skills of communicating in the target language and trained how to manipulate language spontaneously. The skills of translation and reading aloud are also a key area of focus. Students continue their membership of Active Learn but also are enrolled on the Vocab Express online program. This facility allows students to methodically cover the GCSE vocabulary specification whilst allowing the teacher to set and monitor tasks studied at home.
During this year we drive the learning to a deeper understanding of the areas studied at KS3. There is a special focus on the environment, school and the world of work. Students become used to generating language in the heat of the moment and begin to recognize the requirements of the assessments at GCSE. They will start to become skilled at answering GCSE listening and reading questions and be aware of how to maximize their point scoring for a range of questions from both Foundation and Higher papers.
This key year is devoted to revision of all topic areas covered. The new GCSE specification has the following assessment profile:
Listening – 25%
Reading – 25%
Writing – 25%
Students will be encouraged to use the Pearson revision materials that will be used by teachers to focus learning and revision on areas that need to be developed according to the individual student.
The MFL department seeks to ferment a fascination and a thirst for languages amongst its students right from the beginning of their studies in year 7. We are passionate about the importance of language learning and the benefits it bestows on the student both intellectually and culturally as well as a world of opportunity it provides in the working world.
We particularly pride ourselves in the quality of challenge and engagement in our classrooms; both very important to ensure progress and help each student realize their potential in learning a foreign language. At the moment the department focuses on the Spanish language at Key Stage 3 but with the opportunity for some students to take French in year 9. Along with dynamic subject teaching, we also strive to raise awareness of the importance of language learning both from an intellectual, cultural and economic perspective. The department runs the Pearson Active Teach program that compliments the students’ online Active learn learning platform.
We offer a school visit to either France or Spain very year and we encourage all students to take part at least in their time at the Academy.