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Modern Languages


WELCOME TO modern languages


Studying MFL equips all students with a toolkit of skills for life in an evolving employment market and as part of a global community, with literacy being an important strand of learning within languages. At Bitterne Park School, students in Year 7 can choose to study either French or Spanish, which they will continue throughout Key Stage 3. Both languages are also a GCSE option at Key Stage 4. Students continue to study languages at BPS beyond GCSEs too, in our Sixth Form.

By carefully planning opportunities for students to make outstanding progress, the MFL department encourages all students to gain communicative confidence, a life skill highly valuable in both professional and social situations. As British culture becomes increasingly diverse, our students are encouraged to become as involved as possible and explore multilingualism to its full in order not to be left behind.

The aims of the Modern Foreign Languages Department are:

  • To foster students’ enjoyment of language learning.
  • To have high expectations of students’ achievement and behaviour.
  • To promote understanding and appreciation of the cultures and ways of life of other    countries.
  • To encourage pride in successful linguistic achievement.
  • To ensure that students achieve their full academic potential in the subject.

Key Stage 3

At Key Stage 3, all students learn French or Spanish for two lessons of 50 minutes each week. The four main skills are listening, speaking, reading and writing, which are frequently assessed. The grammar of a language is of paramount importance and therefore is often a focus of our language learning at Bitterne Park School. Students are encouraged to develop intercultural understanding.

Students follow a bespoke curriculum map that enables them to progress in a range of skills within the context of different themes. Year 7 cover themes including school and free time and develop their understanding of grammar by making links with the English language. Year 7 students also complete a Beginner Course in French or Spanish to bridge the gap between their diverse range of learning experiences at Key Stage 2 and their exploration of languages from the moment they start their education at Bitterne Park. Within Year 8, the themes of food, town and holidays are covered and students further develop their grammar knowledge by using three tenses. In Year 9 students study the themes of health, media and family. Grammar points that are useful at GCSE level are also explored in this year.

Homework is set weekly at Key Stage 3 as this allows students to regularly consolidate their learning and make good progress. Vocabulary learning is often set, as are grammar exercises, listening and reading tasks, translation exercises and open ended writing tasks. Students should spend 45 minutes on their homework.

Key Stage 4

French and Spanish are currently available for students to pursue at GCSE. The AQA GCSE specification is followed for accreditation in both of these European languages.  In French the Studio textbook and in Spanish the Viva textbook are successfully used as core texts. Examinations in different skills for these GCSEs are all taken at the end of year 11.

Paper 1: Listening Foundation or Higher (25%)

Paper 2: Speaking Test conducted by teachers (25%)

Paper 3: Reading Foundation or Higher (25%)

Paper 4: Writing Foundation or Higher (25%)

Homework is set weekly at Key Stage 4 as this allows students to regularly consolidate their learning and make good progress. Vocabulary learning is often set, as are grammar exercises, listening and reading tasks, translation exercises and open ended writing tasks. Students should spend between 45-60 minutes on their homework.

Inclusively, the MFL department supports students with English as an Additional Language to gain accreditation. Students can take examinations in their native language in either Year 10 or 11. For example in 2017 the following languages were studied by students with English as an Additional Language: French, Spanish, Italian, Polish and Chinese. GCSE German, Japanese, Russian, Czech, Greek, Portuguese, Panjabi and Arabic have also been successfully supported in the past. Most able and gifted (MAG) students are also further supported by through the MFL department’s offer of early entry GCSE French or Spanish as an after school club.

Key Stage 5

French and Spanish are currently offered at A-Level.

Alongside development of language skills, these AQA courses foster a range of transferable skills including communication, critical thinking, research skills and creativity, which are valuable to the individual and society. Degree level courses related to French and Spanish can be accessed.

The A-level specification builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills gained at GCSE. It constitutes an integrated study with a focus on language, culture and society through the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing, with an increased emphasis on translation and grammar. The approach is a focus on how the target language speaking society has been shaped, socially and culturally, and how it continues to change.

Year 1: Aspects of the social context are studied, together with aspects of the artistic life.

Year 2: Further aspects of the social background are covered, this time focusing on issues such as life for those on the margins of French/Spanish speaking society as well as looking at the positive influences that diversity brings.

Literary texts and films are also studied in both years.

100% of the A-Level qualification is assessed through Examination, taken at the end of each year.

Facilities & Resources

The department currently has five teaching rooms and all classrooms are equipped with interactive whiteboards

Trips & Extra Curricular Activities)

Year 8 – 10 Madrid Exchange (June 2018)

Year 7 Day Trip to Boulogne (July 2018)

Culture Club – every Friday in room 2-20


Mrs K. Wellnhammer – Head of MFL, Y9 Academic Manager (Spanish and French)

Miss E. Mercer – Assistant Head of MFL (French and Spanish)

Ms K. Broom – Teacher of MFL, A, G&T Co-ordinator, Y8 Academic Manager (French and Spanish)

Mrs K. Hinson – Teacher of MFL (French and Spanish)

Mr N. Obagi – Teacher of MFL (French and Spanish)

Ms R. Underwood – Teacher of MFL (Spanish and French)