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Modern Foreign Languages

MFL Department Intent

“If you talk to a man in language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart” – Nelson Mandela

We aspire to expose our students to a broad and ambitious Modern Languages curriculum, which is rich in skills and knowledge, develops self-efficacy, kindles curiosity and promotes diversity and tolerance of other cultures. Our Modern Languages curriculum will give students the opportunity to:

  • use language skills, receptively and productively, for communication in the real world, for practical purposes, for their immediate needs, interests and beyond and to express and justify opinions
  • develop their confidence and autonomy to access new and unfamiliar language through the use of decoding skills brought about by the explicit teaching of phonics and sound patterns
  • work towards becoming a fluent and spontaneous speaker of the foreign language

The MFL Curriculum

Our curriculum is designed to build on the linguistic foundation established at Key Stage 2. Whatever the language studied at KS2, we ensure that students recognise these skills as transferable to and relevant in Key Stage 3. We also consider that language learning exposure will be somewhat varied at Key Stage 2 and aim to address these variations through the delivery of our curriculum.

We offer a curriculum which is rich in skills and knowledge, develops self-efficacy, kindles curiosity and promotes diversity and tolerance of other cultures. We aspire to give students the opportunity to gain systematic knowledge of the vocabulary, grammar, and sound and spelling systems of their new language, to build on this knowledge with extensive planned practice and use in order to build the skills needed for communication.

Structured Learning

Content is driven through communicative functions sequenced so that focus is initially on embedding knowledge of the most frequently used language and a strong knowledge of grammatical principles. The sequencing of content has been selected carefully and set out so that students are not presented with too much information at once.

We believe that students deserve to understand the ‘big picture’, how this links to the schema of the subject and, importantly, other subjects. The content taught is stimulating and widens students’ knowledge of the culture of the new language. We select reading material, including authentic materials, to provide opportunities for students to pursue their own interests and develop their skills in handling new materials. Students are taught to pay attention to the detail of meaning through translation and to extend the range of their vocabulary and understanding though reading short texts and literature.

Our pedagogy is underpinned by:

  • expert subject knowledge and a passion for languages
  • the nurturing of a ‘can do’ attitude towards language learning, built through the minimisation of cognitive load (less is more), controlled input-output and scaffolding the understanding and the production of the language through the extensive use of worked examples and gradually builds to freer production
  • the regular and spaced recycling and retrieval of high frequency vocabulary, verbs and structures to support the store of knowledge in the long-term memory
  • careful sequencing of skills and anticipating possible misconceptions
  • the use of low stakes assessment opportunities which allow for effective checking of understanding throughout a single lesson or sequence of lessons
  • interventions that are timely, planned and effective

In Year 7 students cover 4 units of work which teach the communicative functions of:

  • Identifying people and describing people
  • Expressing opinions
  • Describing routine behaviour in the present tense
  • Indicating frequency
  • Creating questions

In Year 8 students cover 5 units of work which revist the communicative functions taught in Year 7 and introduce the functions of:

  • Describing places
  • Reporting events in the past
  • Sequencing events
  • Making plans for the future
  • Indicating time and location
  • Comparing and contrasting

In Year 9 students revist the communicative functions taught in Year 7 and 8 and introduce the functions of:

  • Making plans – expressing a wish
  • Expressing an opinion and a viewpoint
  • Using commands

Key Stage 3

Year 7, 8 and 9 students receive four 60 minute lessons a fortnight of Spanish. Students are taught in mixed ability groups to encourage a culture of high expectations for all students.

Key Stage 4

The majority of students study a language at GCSE level. In Year 9 students can decide whether to continue with Spanish or to study French. In Year 10 and Year 11 students have five 60 minute lessons across a fortnight.

Enrichment Opportunities

We will enrich our curriculum by:

  • visiting a Spanish/French restaurant
  • watching Spanish/French films
  • providing opportunities to correspond with speakers of the foreign language
  • exploring appropriate authentic materials to enrich language learning (poems, songs, stories, literary extracts and audio-visual materials)
  • acknowledging festivals, traditions and customs which are relevant to the countries where the target language is spoken
  • taking part in the annual celebration of the European day of Languages to support diversity and culture
  • offering after school and lunchtime sessions to encourage pupils to show independence and ‘to go the extra mile’ in their learning
  • entering Spanglovision – a Spanish song competition for Year 7
  • entering the Year 7 National Spelling Bee competition – French, German and Spanish

How to Support your Child’s Learning

Support your child with homework. Test them on key vocabulary that they bring home and discuss cultural events with them. Encourage them to use the sites below.

Further Online 

Authentic listening materials



  • Valentin –  A youngster is left in the care of his elderly grandmother after his warring parents abandon him. He struggles to find suitable role models in her small isolated village.
  • Voces Inocentes – A young boy, in an effort to have a normal childhood in 1980’s El Salvador, is caught up in a dramatic fight for his life as he desperately tries to avoid the war which is raging all around him.
  • El misterio del Pez – Once upon a time, an old man went fishing every day and every day he caught the same fish.
  • Pan’s Labyrinth – In the Falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.
  • El Bola – El Bola, a 12 year old boy a.k.a. “Pellet” is a 12 year old boy raised in a violent and sordid environment. Embarrassed by his family life, he avoids becoming close to classmates. 


  • Kirikou – depicts how a newborn boy, Kirikou, saves his village from the evil witch Karaba
  • Neuilly Sa Mere – a teenager who moves from the housing projects to the upscale neighbourhood of Neuilly-sur-Seine
  • Les Choristes – The new teacher at a severely administered boys’ boarding school works to positively affect the students’ lives through music.

Spanish Radio 

  • Cadena Ser 
  • Cope 
  • Los40 


Authentic Reading Resources

News and current affairs

Poems and stories

Future Careers

Aid Worker
Air Traffic Controller
Airline Pilot
British Sign Language Interpreter
Broadcast Journalist
Cabin Crew
Civil Service Administrative Officer
English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Teacher
Events Manager
Hotel Manager

Immigration Officer
Primary School Teacher
Public Relations Officer
RAF Officer
Secondary School Teacher
Tour Manager
Tourist Guide
Transport Planner

Curriculum Overview – KS3 and KS4 Spanish

Curriculum Overview – KS4 French

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