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Modern Languages


Mme S Henderson               (Co-ordinator of Modern Languages, Head of French)

Señora M Maréchaux           (Head of Spanish)

Señor A Suárez                     (Co-ordinator of Modern Languages)

Mme K Miles

Julia and María                      French & Spanish Assistants


We are a dynamic team of expert linguists who aim to share our passion for languages with our young people, not only giving them a deep grounding in the language but embedding a knowledge of the countries and cultures of the languages we teach. 


We work very hard to ensure that our students have every opportunity available to experience languages in their authentic environment, organising trips, exchanges, and work placements abroad. We believe everyone can grasp a new language and make progress with sympathetic assistance and encouragement.

Key Stage 3

Year 8 pupils learn French for 5 periods a week, which decreases to 3 periods a week in year 9 and 10.  In year 9 pupils also learn Spanish for 4 periods a week.

Topics covered in this key stage include: greetings, meeting people, school objects, alphabet, numbers, age, birthday, giving the date, talking about the classroom, colours, facts about France, family and friends, pets, describing yourself and others, talking about hair and eyes, daily routine, school subjects, timetables, after school activities, sports and games, musical instruments, hobbies, at the leisure centre, going on holiday, TV, film, internet, reading, Paris, tourist activities, personality, relationships, music and clothes, where you live, your home, meals, buying food, attending large events, talents, ambitions, contests, world geography, French-speaking countries, the French Revolution.

GCSE French, Spanish (Examining Board: CCEA)


Relationships, Local Environment, Daily routine and leisure, Health and lifestyle, Social Issues, Travel and tourism, Environmental issues, Media and communications, Celebrations: festivals and customs, School Life, Part-time jobs, Future Plans.



  • Unit 1 Listening: 25% External examination. Foundation tier (35 mins), Higher tier (45 mins).

  • Unit 2 Speaking 25% 1 teacher-conducted, externally marked examination: 2 role-plays and general conversation on two topics. (7-12 mins).

  • Unit 3 Reading 25% External examination.  Foundation tier 50 mins, Higher tier (1 hour).

  • Unit 4 Writing 25% External examination. Foundation tier 1hour, Higher tier (1 hour 15 mins).

A Level French and Spanish (Examining Board: CCEA)

This specification is made up of two parts: AS (40%) and A2 (60%).

Students study four themes: AS Relationships and Culture and Lifestyle. A2 Young People in Society and Our Place in a Changing World.


  • AS Unit 1 Speaking examination: Presentation (3 mins), conversation (8 mins) 12% of A Level.

  • AS Unit 2 Listening, Reading, Translation into English, Use of Language (2 hours) 16% of A Level.

  • AS Unit 3 Extended Writing: One essay response to a set film or literary text (1 hour) 12% of A Level.

  • A2 Unit 1 Speaking: Introduction and Discussion of one individual research project (6 mins), general conversation (9 mins) 18% of A Level.

  • A2 Unit 2 Listening, Reading, Summary, Translation into Target Language (2 hours 45 mins) 24% of A Level.

  • A2 Unit 3 Extended Writing: One essay response to a set literary text (1 hour) 18% of A Level.

Our Extra Curricular Dynamic!

Mandarin Chinese is taught to all ages of pupils after school two afternoons a week by native Chinese tutors from the Confucius Institute Hub at South West College. Four levels of examinations take place each summer in school.

The Modern Languages department works hard to provide pupils with many opportunities to practise their languages abroad and develop life skills in adapting to different lifestyles and cultures:

  • Year 8/9 have the opportunity to write to a penpal.


  • Year 9/10 French Exchange Programme with Collège St Charles, Pignan, Montpellier each May and June.

  • Year 11/12 French and Spanish linguistic and cultural trips to Paris and Madrid/Barcelona/Andalucía each year.


  • Year 13/14 can attend Summer Language Immersion Schools in France and Spain.

At home, each year small groups of year 13/14 students are invited to run French and Spanish clubs in local primary schools.

We enjoy celebrating European Day of Languages at the start of every academic year with European character costumes, food, music and fun.

We compete in a variety of competitions throughout the year, e.g. All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad (AILO) for all ages, National Language Competition, Hispanofest at QUB, Juvenes Translatores for year 13 students of languages, Queen’s Debating Competitions in French and Spanish for years 13 & 14 etc…


We take every opportunity to celebrate seasonal and cultural events in France and Spain e.g. Christmas, Carnival, Easter and even summer sports outside like ‘Pétanque.’

Career Note

A pass in a language at GCSE is essential for entry to some universities. 


Fluency in a language will enhance any career and is a great asset if contemplating working in European Law, International Business, Human Relations, Journalism, Translation, Interpretation, Teaching, UNESCO, United Nations, Foreign Embassies, Government Intelligence, Armed Forces, ICT, Gaming, Import/Export Companies, Pharmaceutical, Fashion and the Tourism Industry.


Languages open doors to a whole new cultural world of literature, film, music, art and cuisine and learning languages will open doors to you in the future too!

While learning languages you are also developing your personal and social skills, communication, teamwork, flexibility, resourcefulness, perseverance, personality, and memory; life-long qualities which are much appreciated by future employers.


Our past pupils work in International Banking, The House of Commons, BBC reporting, Kerry Foods (Spice buyer), The Civil Service, Translation/Interpreting services, the UN, Government Intelligence, Jameson Whisky (ambassador), Languages teaching across the world, Marketing, International relations, International Development, Fashion…

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