The Modern Foreign Languages Department at Dame Alice Owen’s is a vibrant, enthusiastic and highly successful department which has grown in number to twelve full-time and four part-time teachers since the school became a Specialist Language College in 1996. Full-time French, German and Spanish Assistants are also employed by the school.
The main languages taught in the curriculum are French, German and Spanish. These Languages are taught to A Level. Students study one foreign language in Year 7 and then start a second foreign language from Year 8. The language that is studied by all Year 7 students alternates each year between French, German and Spanish.
Students taking languages here have achieved excellent results. Many continue to study languages at A Level and then at university. One major success of the Language College has been the rise of Spanish which began in 1996 as a ‘twilight’ class, later moved across to the main timetable, and has now become our third ‘first foreign language’.
An additional benefit of Language College status has been the increased use of setting in Years 7, 8 and 9 and in KS4 – most sets have a maximum of 25.
The vast majority of students in Key Stage 4 take two languages at GCSE level and it an expectation that they should do so. Students study for the AQA examinations when following a GCSE course in French, German or Spanish.
Languages are very popular at A level. French, German and Spanish A level students (September 2016 cohort, new exam) study for the AQA AS and A2 examinations. Typical AS options cover family life, ‘cyber-society’, voluntary work, artistic culture, heritage, contemporary music and cinema. There is also a detailed study of a particular film. A2 options are chosen from the specification which covers a wide variety of subjects such as current issues, the positive features of a diverse society, life for the marginalized, how criminals are treated, aspects of political life, teenagers, the right to vote and political commitment, demonstrations, strikes – who holds the power?, politics and immigration. There is also a detailed study of a literary text. There is considerable expertise in Sixth Form teaching in the department, with excellent results which reflect this.
The Languages department also runs an extensive extra-curricular programme with various trips abroad for Years 7, 9 and 12. Students go on study trips, exchanges or work experience visits to France, Germany or Spain.
The Modern Languages area includes two modern digital language laboratories with computers and each of the 11 classrooms has an interactive whiteboard.
Mrs S Davies (Head of MFL)