The Modern Languages Department seeks to develop the potential of all of its pupils with reference to the following:
- From a practical perspective, to develop the ability to use one or more modern foreign languages effectively for the purposes of communication.
- From a cultural perspective, to develop an appreciation of the foreign language and its associated culture(s) and tradition(s).
- From an intellectual perspective, to enable pupils to gain not only awareness of language but wider skills such as language learning skills, analysis and memory.
- From a motivational perspective, to employ methods and resources which enable pupils both to enjoy and value what they are learning.
In terms of curricular provision, French, German and Spanish are offered to GCSE, AS and A2 level. The department also offer taster courses in Italian and Mandarin Chinese at lunch times or after school sessions. Pupils who take up both opportunities will therefore have tasted five languages by the end of S5 (Year 11) and have a formal qualification in at least one. In the context of a national decline in the take-up of languages, the department is keen to encourage the number of dual-linguists at GCSE and to make the Sixth Form courses as attractive as possible for example by widening the possibilities for visits abroad and work experience. An increasing number of Sixth Formers are continuing with their study of languages in higher education, not only in language degrees but in combination with law, economics and business to name but a few.
Whilst it is inevitable that different languages attract a differing number of pupils each year, the department has been careful to promote all languages equally. Since the overall aim is to increase the number of pupils studying two or more languages, then the individual languages are not seen to be in direct competition with each other. Moreover, the number of dual, and in some cases triple linguists amongst the staff ensures the cohesiveness of the department.