Modern Foreign Languages
The Modern Foreign Languages department is committed to offering our students the study of foreign languages at all Key Stages of the curriculum, and the opportunity to extend their competence in their chosen language(s) to the highest possible level. In the 21st century we should not underestimate the importance of foreign languages in the school curriculum, as well as the skills and personal qualities they allow our students to develop.
Language study at all Key Stages incorporates the four key skills of Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing. Equal weighting is given to each of these skills in class and a range of media are used to deliver teaching. There is an increasing emphasis on students using the language skills that they have acquired to help further their own level of competence and to make connections between common grammatical structures.
Homework is set weekly at all Key Stages and is a crucial element in students’ progress. As language learning is about developing skills as well as knowledge content, regular private study is essential at all levels.
There are a number of in-house enrichment activities that take place each year, including an annual performance by a French theatre group to Year 9, and a Year 7 Spelling Bee competition. There is also a lunchtime Languages Club, a Homework Club and visits to Seville, Spain and Rouen, France. There are also intensive language days and theatre/cinema visits for the Sixth Form, and mentoring of Key Stages 3 and 4.
In July 2019, Hitchin Girls' School won 1st place at the National French Spelling Bee competition organised by Routes into Languages and held at the University of Cambridge. Year 7 student Haya Hosny worked hard to take 1st place at the East of England Regional Finals in April 2019. Haya went on to compete against 31 other finalists from schools and academies from around the country, and took the trophy at the National Final in July with a performance applauded by the Institut Français and the Mayor of Cambridge. By this point, Haya had learnt to translate and to spell 200 French words using the French alphabet at speed.
In January 2020, eleven hard-working Year 9 MFL students were invited to spend a day at the University of Cambridge at a 'Why Not Languages?' event run by the University’s Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages. Students learnt about the benefits of learning languages at GCSE and beyond, took part in a translation workshop and spoke with MFL students from the university about their experiences, including their year abroad. They were also treated to an insider's tour of Newnham College by a first year student of French and Italian.
Students start in mixed-ability tutor groups in Year 7, and are then placed in sets from Year 8 until the end of KS3. At GCSE level, students are also in broad band sets, depending on Option numbers.
Key Stage 3
The aims and rationale of the curriculum in Years 7- 9 for both French and Spanish are:
1) To consolidate and extend language introduced at KS1 - 2.
2) To enable students to be confident at communicating in three time frames.
3) To enable students to communicate key information about themselves and their immediate frame of reference whilst developing an awareness of wider / global issues through the taught language.
4) To enable students to be confident in the four key skills of MFL learning (Listening, Reading, Speaking, Writing).
5) To develop a cultural awareness linked to aspects of the TL country.
6) To instil in students an awareness of the importance of learning a foreign language and of the relevant life skills associated with it.
7) To enable students to begin developing the skills required for studying a foreign language at GCSE level and beyond.
Key Stage 4
It is recommended that all students choose at least one foreign language to study at GCSE level, with some opting to continue both French and Spanish. The GCSE courses build upon the knowledge and skills acquired at KS3 and students have the opportunity to sit the final examination at either Foundation or Higher Tier.
GCSE French full specification:
GCSE Spanish full specification:
Key Stage 5
There is the opportunity to study French, German and Spanish at AS/A2 Level through the Hitchin Schools’ Consortium. These courses build on the skills and knowledge from GCSE, and allow students to discuss and debate a range of contemporary social issues at an advanced level.
A Level French full specification:
A Level Spanish full specification:
Curriculum map for Years 12 & 13 Spanish
Mr James Dellar - Head of Department
Miss Sophia Benmoussa
Mrs Harriet Clarke
Mr Stephen Clifford
Miss Hannah Crossman
Miss Charlotte Gunns