The Modern Foreign Languages Department at Dame Alice Owen’s is a vibrant, enthusiastic and highly successful department which has grown in number to eleven full-time and four part-time teachers. 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, all three of which are taught to A Level. Students study two foreign languages from the start of Year 7. The language that is studied by all Year 7 students alternates each year between French, German and Spanish.
The vast majority of students in Key Stage 4 take a language at GCSE level and it is an expectation that they do so. Students study for the AQA examinations when following a GCSE course in French, German or Spanish. One of the benefits of this extensive department is its increased use of setting in Years 7, 8 and 9, and in KS4, where most sets have a maximum of 25 students.
Languages are very popular at A level, and students follow the 2 year AQA A level course. Typical Year 12 topics cover: family life; ‘cyber-society’; voluntary work; artistic culture; heritage; contemporary music; and cinema. There is also a detailed study of a film. Year 13 A2 options are chosen from the specification, which covers a wide variety of subjects such as: the positive features of a diverse society; life for the marginalized; how criminals are treated; aspects of political life; the right to vote and political commitment; demonstrations and strikes; 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.
Indeed, students taking languages here have achieved excellent results at all levels. Many choose to study languages at A Level and then at university. The department has experienced teachers who are passionate about their subject and who aim to impassion their students in turn. The department immerses students in the language and culture of the countries of study, by running an extensive extra-curricular programme with various trips abroad for Years 7, 8, 9 and 12. Students go on study trips, exchanges or work experience visits to France, Germany or Spain, and these opportunities are always enthusiastically received.
The Modern Languages area includes two modern digital language laboratories with computers and each of the 11 classrooms has an interactive whiteboard.
Mrs R Arron (Head of MFL)