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Modern Languages

The Languages Department uses a communicative approach with an emphasis on oral skill development. Students practise listening, speaking, reading and writing in the foreign language on a variety of topics, together with the use of a wide variety of learning resources and teaching methods. Students are also shown how to use transferable skills that they can then apply to other subjects or real-life situations. 

GCSE French/GCSE Spanish

Students have the option of studying one or more modern foreign languages in Years 10 and 11. We currently offer French and Spanish at GCSE, with the option of continuing at A level.

Spanish is offered as a second language GCSE to those students who have studied it in Year 9 after school, as well as any student who wishes to choose the language from scratch. For this, they must be predicted a grade 9.6 in their French classes. Students will have the language knowledge that they have gained from French as transferrable skills to help them.

The courses promote a sound working knowledge of the language and of cultural backgrounds, as well as the required skills for them to achieve and succeed at the GCSE examinations in their chosen language(s).

SPECIFICATION LINK: 8658 (Fr) / 8698 (Sp)

COURSE INFORMATION: AQA GCSE French (601/8157/6) / Spanish (601/8160/6)


The specification covers the following topics in the 4 skill areas:

Theme 1: Identity and culture
  • Topic 1: Me, my family and friends
  • Topic 2: Technology in everyday life
  • Topic 3: Free-time activities
  • Topic 4: Customs and festivals in French/Spanish-speaking countries/communities
Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest
  • Topic 1: Home, town, neighbourhood and region
  • Topic 2: Social issues
  • Topic 3: Global issues
  • Topic 4: Travel and tourism
Theme 3: Current and future study and employment
  • Topic 1: My studies
  • Topic 2: Life at school/college
  • Topic 3: Education post-16
  • Topic 4: Jobs, career choices and ambitions

The course encourages students to derive enjoyment and benefit from language learning, be inspired, moved and changed by following a broad, coherent, satisfying and worthwhile syllabus. It enables students to recognise that their linguistic knowledge, understanding and skills help them to take their place in a multilingual global society and also provide them with a suitable basis for further study.

The skills tested are Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing.

There are 2 tiers of assessment – Foundation (0-5) and Higher (0-9). Language skills are tested by student’s ability to manipulate the language, as well as to translate from English and into English.

  • Understanding and responding to different types of spoken language
  • 25%
  • 35 minutes (Foundation Tier)
  • 45 minutes (Higher Tier)
  • Communicating and interacting with speech to accomplish a series of tasks.
  • Role-play, Photo card, General conversation
  • 25%
  • 7–9 minutes (Foundation Tier)
  • 10–12 minutes (Higher Tier)
  • Understanding and responding to different types of written language.
  • Section A – questions in English, to be answered in English or non-verbally
  • Section B – questions in French, to be answered in French or non-verbally
  • Section C – translation from French into English
  • 25%
  • 45 minutes (Foundation Tier)
  • 1 hour (Higher Tier)
  • Communicating effectively in writing for a variety of purposes.
  • Question 1 – structured writing task (student responds to four compulsory detailed bullet points
  • Question 2 – open-ended writing task
  • Question 3 – translation from English into French
  • 25%
  • 1 hour (Foundation Tier)
  • 1 hour 15 minutes (Higher Tier)