To learn another language is to learn a skill for life. Our girls will be entering a global workplace and so language-learning has never been more important, particularly since 75% of the world’s population do not speak English.
Modern Foreign Languages are a core subject at Kings Norton Girls’ School and all our girls will learn at least one language during their time with us. We aim to equip our girls with the skills and confidence to communicate in another language to the very best of their ability and also to understand the written and spoken form of the language.
On arrival at Kings Norton Girls’ School, all year 7 students will study French. This may build on their experiences of language-learning in their primary school or it may be completely new. In year 8, just over half of the year group will begin the study of a second language as well (either Spanish or German) and they will pursue both languages until at least the end of year 9.
Our Key Stage 3 curriculum aims to give a firm foundation to language learning and to equip our girls with the skills and good habits they will need in order to be successful. Memory skills, attention to detail with spelling and the ability to check work carefully all feature strongly, as do the need for development of ideas and the expression and justification of opinions. Promoting an understanding of grammar is fundamental to our teaching and by the end of Key Stage 3, most pupils can refer to past, present and future events in the target language. We encourage girls to access appropriate language-learning websites in order to consolidate the work they do in lessons and to extend their range of vocabulary.
Adjustments have been made to our current KS3 provision and assessment pattern to reflect the demands of the new GCSE, which is wholly examination based, and to ensure that students can face the new GCSE with confidence.
Languages remain a core subject in Key Stage 4 and all girls work towards accreditation in at least one language. For most girls, this will be a GCSE course but a small number will prepare for an NVQ level 2 qualification in French for business. Those girls who have studied 2 languages in Key Stage 3 may decide to pursue both, in which case one will be their core language whilst the other is chosen as a GCSE option subject.
Course content in all three languages in Key Stage 4 builds extensively on work covered during Key Stage 3 but allows girls to extend, refine and improve their knowledge of grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and sentence-structure.
Topics covered are as follows:
Theme 1 : Identity and Culture
- Me, my family and my friends
- Technology in everyday life
- Free time activities
- Customs and festivals in French/German/Spanish speaking countries
Theme 2: Local, National, International, Global areas of interest
- Home, town, neighbourhood and region
- Social issues
- Global issues
- Travel and tourism
Theme 3: Current and Future Education
- My studies
- Life at school/college
- Education post 16
- Jobs, career choice and ambitions
The four key skills of listening, reading, speaking and writing are all tested discretely at GCSE level and are each worth 25% of the final GCSE grade. An examination in each skill takes place at the end of the course, with the speaking test being conducted and recorded by the class teacher, but marked externally.
Homework is usually set after every language lesson, to ensure that our girls can maintain their progress from one lesson to the next. Tasks will vary between comprehension work, vocabulary learning, research tasks, written tasks and preparation for assessments.
The Modern Foreign Languages Faculty offer a range of activities to enhance language-learning. In Year 7, girls are offered the opportunity to enjoy a day-trip to Boulogne in France. This is always well-supported. Girls studying German in Year 8 visit the Frankfurt German market in Birmingham each December. In Years 8 and 9, some girls are invited to participate in language-themed days run by Aston University. We have a well-established exchange programme with our partner school in Melle for girls studying German in Years 11-13 and there is an annual cultural visit to Spain for girls studying Spanish in Years 10-13.
A French club is available to all girls on Thursday after school to support them with home learning tasks and to give an opportunity for extra skills practice. There is also an MFL homework club which runs on Monday lunchtime, and activities which run by our Language Ambassadors at lunchtimes.
Our Language Ambassadors offer individual support to students in Key Stage 3.