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The Norwood School

Modern Foreign Languages

Here at the Norwood School MFL department, we feel passionately about the opportunities and benefits that learning a foreign language brings, as well as being a tremendously fun and rewarding activity. We also believe that students who can should be given the opportunity to leave school with qualifications in 2 languages. Students begin in year 7 studying either French or Spanish.

If you have a strong preference towards which language you would prefer your child to learn, then this can be accommodated by allocating your child to a French/Spanish learning tutor group. In their first year of language study, students are introduced to the French/Spanish speaking world and given a taste of the wide range of culture that comes with a language. They will also have developed their skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing and should be able to provide and understand a range of personal and conversational information about themselves and other people.

In year 8, students continue to study French or Spanish across a wider range of topics, such as leisure, health, the world around us, career aspirations and the environment. They will also develop their language skills in more depth and develop a deeper understanding of the grammar of the language. Students in year 8 who have shown a real aptitude in languages will start on an accelerated academic pathway, consisting of 2 lessons a week of their year 7 language and a lesson per week of the second language. This is with a view to their taking a GCSE early in the main language in year 10, and then picking the minor language up full time to be taken in year 11. In this way, our more able linguists are given the opportunity to enter the world with qualifications in 2 languages. For students who are not on the fast track pathway, we strongly encourage picking French or Spanish as an option, depending on the language they have studied in years 7-9.

The 2-year GCSE course continues to develop students’ skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing, responding to a range of authentic French/ Spanish texts and further developing the ability to be a successful linguist in the wider world. Our results have consistently exceeded national averages, and we were particularly proud of the 98% A*-C achieved by our Spanish cohort last year.

We also enter students for GCSE and entry level qualifications in community languages. Native speakers of Portuguese, Bengali, Arabic and Turkish, amongst many other languages, have had the opportunity to gain a qualification in their mother tongue. This year, we are offering French and Spanish at A level to students achieving a B grade at GCSE in the language of choice.