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French and Spanish

“With languages you are at home anywhere”

Edward De Waal

Our languages curriculum is designed to enable students to see how they belong to a wider international community and encourages students to appreciate that through the challenge of learning another language, they can develop resilience and character. Learning another language also gives students the edge as they pursue further study and begin their career.

“A different language is a different vision of life”
Federico Fellini

Curriculum Summary

Key Stage 3 – French and Spanish

In Key Stage 3, students have the opportunity to study both French and Spanish, enabling them to make an informed choice as to which language they will choose to study for GCSE.

The Key Stage 3 curriculum focuses on phonics (correct pronunciation) and building students’ communicative skills through the focused development of their speaking and listening skills.

Students will cover the following themes in both French and Spanish:

  • Transactional language (asking questions and pronouncing key sounds correctly)
  • What I do in my free time (free time/helping the environment)
  • Where I live and where my language is spoken (developing cultural awareness)
  • My school and future plans

The Key Stage 3 curriculum aims to equip students with the initial skills they need to take on the challenge of GCSE study.

“The limits of my language are the limits of my world”
Ludwig Wittgenstein


Key Stage 4 – French and Spanish GCSE

Qualification: GCSE

Awarding Body and Paper: Edexcel 1FR0 and Edexcel 1SP0

Programme of Study

The GCSE course consists of 5 key themes:

  • IDENTITY AND CULTURE: talking about friendship, family relationships, socialising with friends and family, discussing role models, describing daily life, family celebrations, festivals and traditions, talking about sport, life online, books and reading, music, television programmes and films.
  • LOCAL AREA, HOLIDAYS AND TRAVEL: describing a region/town/village, discussing plans and the weather, describing community projects, holidays, travelling and practising holiday transactional situations.
  • SCHOOL: talking about your school and school subjects, discussing school rules, comparing schools in the UK and French/Spanish speaking countries, talking about school trips, events and exchanges.
  • FUTURE ASPIRATIONS, STUDY AND WORK: discussing jobs, work preferences and career choices, talking about plans, hopes and wishes, discussing the importance of languages, applying for jobs.
  • INTERNATIONAL AND GLOBAL DIMENSION: discussing problems facing the world, talking about protecting the environment, discussing ethical shopping, talking about volunteering, discussing big events.


Students will be assessed on the following skills – the exam papers are equally weighted – 25% of the total marks for each skill.

    • Listening: understanding and responding to spoken language.
    • Speaking: communicating in the spoken language, taking part in conversations and role-plays, presenting a prepared topic, showing knowledge of grammar and structures.
    • Reading: understanding and responding to printed and handwritten passages/texts and translating from French or Spanish into English.
    • Writing: communicating in the written language, applying the grammar and structures they have learnt, as well as translating from English into French or Spanish

What it can lead to

In an increasingly interconnected world, the study of a language at GCSE is considered useful for any future study and is increasingly a prerequisite for entry to sixth forms or even university. Students can move into A Level study and onwards to a degree.  There are also many opportunities to learn a completely new language at university and prior language learning is hugely beneficial.

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart”
Nelson Mandela

Key Stage 5 – A level French and Spanish

Qualification: A Level

Awarding Body and Paper: Edexcel 9FR0 and Edexcel 9SP0

Programme of Study

Post-16, Modern Foreign Language students should be able to:

-Demonstrate their understanding of material written in the foreign language, drawn from a wide range of everyday, topical, technical, business, literary, social and historical sources, and are able to respond appropriately to it.

-Understand language spoken on radio, television or film, by native speakers on a variety of themes and in a range of styles.

-Can translate or interpret from one language to another effectively, accurately and idiomatically.

-Speak the language accurately, confidently and fluently, and react spontaneously to complex questions and unfamiliar language.

-Show extensive knowledge of the countries, customs and culture of the people whose language they are learning.

-Have detailed knowledge and understanding of the themes and topics they have studied and the issues facing contemporary society.

 -Write accurately in a variety of styles appropriate to context, using a wide range of complex, sophisticated and topic-specific language with a high level of grammatical accuracy.


THEME 1: The evolution of French/Spanish society

Theme 1 is set in the context of France or Spain. This theme covers social issues and trends such as:

  • Changes to family structures – changes in attitude towards marriage, couples and family
  • Education – the education system and issues facing students
  • The world of work – attitudes towards work, the right to strike, equality between men and women
  • The impact of tourism on the economy

THEME 2: Politics and art in French/Spanish speaking countries

  • Music – the impact of music on popular culture
  • The media – freedom of expression, online and written press, the impact of press on society and politics
  • Festivals and traditions in French/Spanish speaking countries

 THEME 3: Immigration and the multicultural society

  • The impact of immigration on French/Spanish society – contributions of immigrants to the economy and culture.
  • Responding to the challenge of immigration and integration
  • Political extremism – the impact of far right politics on immigration

THEME 4: Occupation and Resistance in World War 2 (French)

  • Occupied France – collaboration and anti-semitism
  • The Vichy regime – Maréchel Pétain and the National revolution
  • The Resistance – Jean Moulin, Charles de Gaulle and women of the resistance

THEME 4: Franco and the transition to democracy (Spanish)

  • The civil war and the Franco’s ascent to Power (1936 -1939)
  •  Republicanism and Nationalism in Franco’s Spain
  • The transition from dictatorship to democracy

 A Level skills – Themes

Students are required to develop the following skills:

  • Responding to spoken text in writing, showing understanding of the main points, gist and detail
  • Responding to written text in writing and speaking, showing understanding of the main points, gist and detail
  • Summarising a written text in speaking (Theme 1)
  • Summarising a spoken text in writing
  • Translating into and from French or Spanish
  • Demonstrating knowledge and understanding of the social and cultural context of the target language through discussion of a theme
  • Expressing viewpoints and justifying opinions
  • Developing an argument and reaching a logical conclusion.

In addition, students need to be able to analyse an aspect of French or Spanish culture and present their independent research project in the speaking examination.