Modern Foreign Languages
Head of Department - Miss S. Dempsey
At Holy Family, the students study French and Spanish in Year 7 and Year 8. The study of a foreign language helps students to improve and understand their own language as they learn how the grammar of the new language works. Through their language learning, students develop an appreciation for the cultures and opinions of the people around them, as well as acquiring analytical and communicative skills which will enable them to flourish in our global society. Former pupils at Holy Family have gone on to pursue careers in International Law, journalism, teaching and the diplomatic service. Both Languages are offered at GCSE and A-Level. The MFL department consists of five highly experienced teachers.
In Year 7 and 8, students have 3 lessons of French and 3 lessons of Spanish per fortnight. They are taught to read, write, speak and understand the foreign language and are assessed at least twice termly in these skills, in addition to a common mid-term assessment. Target language is used as much as possible in lessons to ensure that pupils are stretched and have maximum exposure to the language being learnt. Topics taught at Key Stage 3 include myself and my friends and family, daily routine, school and where I live, amongst others. Homework is set after every lesson and is considered an integral part of the students' learning, promoting independent learning and laying the early foundations for exam success. Students' work is marked approximately every 2-3 weeks, highlighting particular strengths, as well as suggesting specific areas for improvement. Students are taught in teaching groups.
Programmes of Study
Key Stage 4
At Key Stage 4, pupils can either decide to continue with both French and Spanish or continue with the study of just one language. They have 5 lessons per fortnight and build on the vocabulary and grammar of the previous Key Stage. Homework is still set after every lesson and may include a piece of extended writing, an exam style question or a listening or reading task from Kerboodle, the online learning platform that the department subscribes to. In Year 9, students sit a past paper in Listening and Reading every half term, and in Years 10 and 11, students are assessed in Listening, Reading and Writing approximately every half term. In keeping with the high expectations of the department, the majority of students are entered for the higher tier exams at GCSE.
Exam board - AQA
Exams from 2018 - 25% Speaking, 25% Writing, 25% Listening, 25% Reading
Key Stage 5
At Key Stage 5, students have 9 lessons per fortnight. The A-level exam is linear and so students sit their exam at the end of the 2-year course. Homework is still set every lesson and pupils are encouraged to do as much wider reading and independent study as possible outside of the classroom to enhance their language skills and improve their understanding of French/Spanish society. Pupils are given past paper exams every half term and are awarded a grade based on their performance. Oral and written feedback are given to improve exam technique. The core content of the A-level exam incorporates social issues and trends, political and artistic culture, knowledge of grammar and literary texts and films.
Exam board - AQA
Exam from 2018 - 50% Listening, Reading, Writing, 20% Written response to literary text, 30% Oral examination
European Day of Languages
Wednesday 26th September marked the European Day of Languages, an opportunity to celebrate the linguistic diversity of Europe and to explore and better understand cultural differences. Pupils at Holy Family once again embraced the objectives of the day and took part in language-based activities across the curriculum. In the Languages Department, pupils began the day with French pastries, followed by a variety of activities such as quizzes, songs, joke telling and a tapas tasting session. The highlight of the day was the lunchtime Treasure Hunt. Pupils of all year groups dashed frantically around the school grounds in a bid to collect all of the items on their list. It was eventually won by Chloe Roberts and Taylor Lloyd in Year 11. In Maths, pupils practised exchange rate conversions, whilst in RE, they had to name the prayer in the foreign language using their knowledge of French/ Spanish. Overall, the day was a huge success and we look forward to doing it all again next year. ¡Hasta la próxima!
Intervention sessions for GCSE students are held once per week and additional support sessions are held in the run-up to GCSE and A- level exams.