Modern Foreign Languages
“Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures. A high-quality languages education should foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. The teaching should enable pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing. It should also provide opportunities for them to communicate for practical purposes, learn new ways of thinking and read great literature in the original language. Language teaching should provide the foundation for learning further languages, equipping pupils to study and work in other countries.” (National Curriculum, purpose of study statement)
Our knowledge-rich curriculum will inspire students to become linguists who can express their ideas and thoughts in another language, able to understand and respond to its speakers. They will acquire a cultural awareness and an understanding of the core vocabulary and grammar needed to develop the four main skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening in the target language. Our teaching and learning will develop invaluable communication skills, creativity, curiosity and deepen their understanding and appreciation of other cultures both in their own country, and when they travel to other countries around the world, providing students with the skills to succeed in the workplace and become more rounded global citizens.
Our curriculum will ensure all students develop their ability and ambition to express and develop thoughts and communicate confidently and coherently with native speakers in speech and writing, conveying what they want to say spontaneously and with increased accuracy and fluency. They will deepen their knowledge about how language works and enrich their vocabulary in order for them to increase their independent use and understanding of extended language in a wide range of contexts, whilst developing an appreciation of the culture and identity of the respective countries. We will broaden students’ horizons and encourage them to step beyond familiar cultural boundaries and develop new ways of seeing the world, preparing them for further language study in higher education or employment.
We are really proud to be one of only 45 Hub Schools for the National Centre for Excellence for Language Pedagogy. NCELP is a programme funded by the Department for Education to work in partnership with university researchers, teacher educators and expert practitioners in order to improve student language uptake and retention in the UK. Students in Year 7 in 2019/2020 were the first cohort to follow the NCELP programme. The scheme of work is designed to improve target language vocabulary retention, phonics and grammar. We are working with NCELP and The Stephen Spender Translation Trust to provide an inspiring curriculum where students are able to succeed in MFL and encourage meaningful target language use for our students. If you would like to learn more about how NCELP and the National Curriculum are linked, please click here.
At Highcrest we offer both French and Spanish. When your son or daughter joins in Year 7 they will have a taster lesson in both languages before sitting a baseline assessment and a survey about their language preference. Although it isn't guaranteed, every student currently in Year 7 and 8 was allocated their preferred language. At the end of Year 8, students chose if they would like to continue a language at GCSE. In Year 9, we still follow the Key Stage 3 course as a bridging year before starting the GCSE course in Year 10.
We make time in our curriculum to learn about Spanish/Hispanic and French culture and create opportunities for our students to use their language skills with native speakers; over the past year we have taken students to a Spanish restaurant, to Boulogne sur Mer and even constructed a French escape room in the school hall which was led by an animateur.
There are three themes in the GCSE course, and each theme is divided into topics and sub-topics. The themes are Identity and culture, Local, national, international and global areas of interest and Current and future study and employment. Please click here for an overview of the GCSE Specification.
We have students studying Spanish in Year 12 and 13 working towards their AQA A Level. The Key Components of the A Level course are:
Students also have the opportunity to go to Birmingham University to have a taster day in the languages department and are encouraged to attend Key Stage 3 lessons to support younger students.