Head of Department: Mrs R Owen
We have a thriving Languages department at Priestlands, headed up by Ruth Owen, along with a team of enthusiastic teachers who are passionate about this subject!
We are very aware that our subject is quite unique in the way that it is so easily transferable into everyday life. It opens up opportunities in study, travel, friendship and job opportunities and so are very keen that pupils here should enjoy this subject as much as we do.
We make language learning accessible by using songs, a variety of activities and sentence builders which mirror how we learn our first language so that students can make good progress and quickly gain confidence in speaking, writing, listening, reading and translation.
Students begin Year 7 studying either French or Spanish. In Year 9 students continue with their first language and there is also the option at this stage to take up French or Spanish (if the student isn’t already studying it) and German, which they can then continue with at GCSE. Languages are not a compulsory option for GCSE but given that they open up so many doors later in life we strongly recommend that students continue to study at least one.
We aim to develop the four skills of listening, reading, speaking and writing through a variety of methods as mentioned above. All the classrooms are furnished with informative and attractive displays of language learning aids which students can refer to throughout the lesson. We have interactive whiteboards for whole class teaching and students have access to on-line resources both at school and at home in order to develop and encourage independent study. We currently subscribe to This is Language and use the Nelson Thornes Kerboodle resources in lessons at GCSE. Our Languages website has many links to games, language learning resources and course materials.
Throughout their time at Priestlands students are encouraged to engage with authentic materials and we currently include the study of two films in Years 8 and 9. We also study songs currently popular in those countries and explore their food and culture. Additionally, we enjoy running trips abroad so that students can see languages in action and have organised many trips to Spain (most recently to Barcelona and Andalucia), to Normandy in France and to the German Christmas markets in Cologne.
Whilst Languages is still an academic subject it is important to us that students enjoy it as a relevant and living subject too!
On arrival at Priestlands half the Year 7 cohort will study Spanish and half will study French. Classes take place three times a week. Students will continue with the study of their first language until the end of Year 9. Students are encouraged to speak in the target language right from the beginning. We aim to make the classes engaging and fun by using a range of teaching and learning activities that students enjoy which include songs, games, film, group work and pair work.
Students’ progress will be monitored using a range of assessment methods including regular vocabulary testing and Learning Landmark tests. Homework is set once or twice a week.
All four skill areas of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing are regularly assessed throughout the year, with a piece of writing marked in detail each half term.
Please see the Curriculum maps for more detail on topics and skills studied.
Students continue with the study of their first language and may also opt to study another one or two languages, including German.
Years 10 and 11
Students may opt to study one or two languages at GCSE. For students wishing to take up a career in tourism, teaching, interpreting or translation a GCSE in French, German or Spanish is an obvious choice as the springboard for future study. However, the ability to communicate in a foreign language is an invaluable tool and a useful asset in many areas of British business with global links and one which employers look favourably upon. Not only this but many successful foreign companies also have offices in the UK and are looking for employees with linguistic skills.
Students are entered at either Foundation (up to grade 5) or Higher (grades 9-3) tier and take 4 exams in speaking, listening, reading and writing at the end of Year 11 with each exam worth 25% of the total mark.