Modern Languages

Being able to speak more than one language is a vital skill in today’s rapidly changing world, and those taught at DAOS  (French, German and Spanish) are global and highly influential languages that give students the opportunities to travel, study and work in many countries. There are many benefits that come with studying a modern language, including:

  • A practical and life-long skill: the ability to communicate with people when abroad.
  • A  skill set (oracy, communication, adaptability, memory, resilience, pattern recognition etc) that make linguists very attractive to universities and employers.
  • The enjoyment and satisfaction that comes with ‘cracking the code’ and learning to communicate in another language.
  • Understanding another culture makes you more reflective, more tolerant and better able to understand your own culture.
  • A positive impact on literacy in English

How languages can help your career, from Oxford University (click the image for video)






Some of our recent alumni discuss what studying languages has given them (click the images for video)






About the department

The languages department is a dynamic team of experienced teachers who are passionate about their subject and who aim to impassion their students in turn. 

Our teaching methods are interactive, and students develop confidence in understanding and responding in the language through regular pairwork, interactive games and structured practice. The emphasis is on communication. Students are taught grammar in context, and this builds in complexity as they develop in confidence.

Students have access to state of the art interactive online learning platforms Language Nut (all students) and This is Language (KS4 and KS5). These help students to develop their listening and speaking skills alongside the more traditional vocab and grammar learning. They can be accessed in class using our class sets of chromebooks, but also for independent revision or exploratory practice away from school using a home PC or mobile phone.

 The department immerses students in the language and culture of the countries of study: we offer an extensive extra-curricular programme at the heart of which are our well-established residential trips abroad for years 9 and 12: both traditional exchange with partner schools, and study trips or work experience in France, Germany or Spain. We expect to revive these as soon as the public health situation allows it. We also offer a wealth  of enrichment opportunities more locally and in school: recent examples include A Level study trips to the British Film Institute, Pecha Kucha public speaking competitions, and foreign language plays performed  for KS3 students. There are also numerous student-led lunchtime clubs and support sessions.

Our curriculum

We want our students to achieve  their full personal and academic potential, and access all the advantages and opportunities that are open to speakers of more than one language. This is why DAOS students are expected to study two languages in KS3, and at least one language to GCSE level. Many students choose to study 2 languages at GCSE. French, German and Spanish are a popular choice at A Level, and a healthy number of students go on to study languages at university, either as a specialism or in combined honours courses.

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 second language is assigned by the school, although we are able to accommodate requests when a student has a compelling and specific reason for choosing a particular language.

KS3 languages
Topics and skills
Year 7
  • Our year 7 curriculum is designed to be accessible to absolute beginners, whilst providing those who have previously studied the language with a solid understanding of the linguistic structures, so they can manipulate the language in a meaningful and creative way.
  • In year 7 students learn to ask questions, describe people, places and things and communicate basic personal information, and express preferences, mostly in the present tense.
  • Pupils learn about the phonology (sounds and pronunciation) of the languages they are studying,  and become confident in speaking and understanding spoken sentences.
  • Learners discover cultural particularities associated with their  language(for example festivals / traditions / structure of the school day etc).
Year 8
  • Year 8 is an acceleration – building on work from y7, students learn to talk about events in the past and the future, and gain confidence in understanding and producing longer and increasingly complex sentences.
  • Learners work with more authentic material – including pop songs, videos and texts intended for a native-speaker audience.
  • Students learn more different verbs, and a variety of connectives, allowing them to understand and say more in the language. They gain confidence in conjugating verbs, so they can talk about different people.
Year 9
  • Year 9 prepares students for GCSE, building on work from year 7 and 8, students become more confident using different tenses, along with other linguistic features so they can describe events in more detail whilst avoiding repetition.
  • Pupils learn to tackle more challenging written and recorded texts, and develop strategies for dealing with unknown language.
  • Students become more independent, increasingly using reference material and tools to create produce more personalised work.


GCSE languages
Topics and  skills
Exam Board
GCSE French

Building on work done in KS3, students gain a good level of proficiency in listening (25%), speaking (25%), reading (25%), writing and translation (25%). The focus is on talking about personal experience.

  • Theme 1- Identity and culture
  • Theme 2 – Local, national, international and global areas of interest
  • Theme 3: Current and future study and employment
AQA 8658
GCSE German 8668
GCSE Spanish 8698


A level languages

Building on work done in KS4, students gain a high level of confidence, fluency and accuracy in speaking (30%) listening, reading, writing and translation (50%) on a range of topics associated with the target language culture.

Learners respond critically and analytically to a film and a novel in the target language (20%).

A Level French AQA 7652
A Level German 7662
A Level Spanish 7692
Curriculum Maps

Spanish Curriculum Map

French Curriculum Map

German Curriculum Map

DAOS Languages – Intranet

Mr C Tanner (Head of MFL)

School Contact Info

Dame Alice Owen’s School

Dugdale Hill Lane
Potters Bar

01707 643441
[email protected]

Mon – Fri 8:00A.M. – 5:00P.M.

Social Info