Key Stage 3 Curriculum Outline
The Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) Department at Winifred Holtby Academy knows that languages are vitally important in the modern world. The skills, knowledge and understanding developed through the delivery of the MFL curriculum are essential elements of a young person’s all-round education and competencies needed to enter the work place at the end of their full time education. Furthermore, the increased understanding of other cultures helps pupils to develop greater awareness of wider modern society, which is developed through individual and collaborative projects.
We aim to provide pupils with an enjoyable, practical experience in their Modern Foreign Language lessons. We teach pupils the necessary skills and provide the confidence by the end of Key Stage 3 to allow them to be able to do as much from memory as possible when studying a language at Key Stage 4. We strive to create an atmosphere in the classroom that motivates and encourages pupils to communicate effectively. We encourage them to take risks in an environment where pupils can feel safe to learn from their mistakes and develop mutually supportive relationships with their peers and their teachers. We endeavour to do this through careful questioning, peer and self-assessment, as well as through interactive methods of teaching and learning. Pupils also have access to a digital version of the textbook on Kerboodle in addition to all assessment resources online.
There is an increasing emphasis on assessment for learning and pupils are encouraged to develop the confidence to assess their own progress and to set themselves targets to improve. It is believed that this will increase pupils’ motivation and overall capacity to learn and make good progress. Pupils are taught French or Spanish and from the beginning of Year 7 they are able to recognise the criteria for quality work and acquire the necessary skills to assess and improve their own work in each of the four skills: listening, reading, speaking and writing.
Key Stage 4 Curriculum Outline
Pupils studying French or Spanish at GCSE follow the AQA exam board. These examine pupils’ knowledge after two or three years of study.
The exam consists of a final reading and listening exam at foundation or higher level. A variety of topics in speaking and writing are also assessed in a final exam. Pupils are required to speak for between 7 and 10 minutes on a variety of topics; the speaking assessment is recorded in school, but externally marked. They are also expected to write from memory, as well as translate texts of 30-50 words from the target language into English and vice versa. These are the topics covered, which are started in KS3 and many of them have extensive links with the SMSC provision of the Academy:
- Home and Environment
- Home and Local Area
- Relationships and Choices
- Work and Education
- Free Time and the Media
- School/College and Future Plans
- Current and Future Jobs
Some pupils have been able to take more than one language to GCSE level and have been very successful. In addition to French and Spanish, staff can also supervise courses in German, Portuguese, Polish, Turkish and Italian.
Future Opportunities and Pathways Post 16
The study of a GCSE in a Modern Language is a pre-requisite for study at A Level and it also forms part of the highly valued EBacc qualification, which more and more universities are taking into account when considering UCAS applications. This qualification is a requirement for some universities and is seen as a positive qualification for access to many other universities. It is also regarded highly in vocational courses in an international job market and considered useful for some apprenticeships, which are provided by international companies and even companies abroad keen to train up higher level apprentices in countries such as Germany.
Extra Curricular Opportunities
The MFL Department runs a club for pupils interested in improving their language skills and learning new languages. Pupils are also encouraged to enter regional and national language competitions. There is a set of pupils who liaise with MFL staff and they are called Language Leaders - the Year 10 pupils also run an MFL Council with younger representatives from KS3.
It is considered important that the pupils are given access whenever possible to a wide range of resources, including the use of ICT, authentic materials and external Foreign Language speakers and visitors. Enrichment activities are offered, whenever possible, including extra-curricular trips abroad (to Barcelona and St-Omer) and curriculum links (Handball Project), structured primary events, as well as other events such as, the European Day of Languages in September and numerous Gifted and Talented projects. Success in languages is celebrated in school assemblies, as well as celebration events in language lessons held in the theatre on a termly basis, where pupils are encouraged to use Internet resources to improve confidence and to watch sub-titled films to increase their cultural awareness of Europe and the Americas.