GCSE Modern Languages

All pupils study at least one modern foreign language from French, German or Spanish. Study of a foreign language enhances cultural awareness, develops oral and written communication skills and increases confidence, all skills which can be transferred to other subjects. Moreover, as international travel and business become the norm, more and more employers are recruiting staff who can communicate in more than one language. A qualification in a modern foreign language or languages could therefore enhance career prospects.

The two year course begins as pupils enter Y10 and all pupils take AQA GCSE (French -8658, German – 8668, Spanish – 8698). Full specifications may be viewed at:


There are three themes. The first covers Me, my family and friends; Technology in everyday life; Free-time activities. The second covers Home, town, neighbourhood and region; Social issues such as voluntary work; Global issues such as the environment and poverty; Travel and tourism. The final theme deals with My studies; Life at school; Education post-16; Career choices and ambitions.

Insight into the foreign culture and knowledge of the country thus go hand in hand with systematic mastery of the structure of the language and acquisition of vocabulary.

Scheme of assessment

The qualification comprises four assessments, taken at the end of the course:

  • Paper 1: Listening (Foundation – 35 minutes; Higher – 45 minutes): 25%
  • Paper 2: Speaking (Foundation – 7-9 minutes; Higher – 10-12 minutes): 25%
  • Paper 3: Reading (Foundation – 45 minutes; Higher – 1 hour): 25%
  • Paper 4: Writing (Foundation – 1 hour; Higher – 1 hour 15 minutes): 25%

A wide range of enjoyable and stimulating resources are used, with all of the six specialist language-teaching rooms equipped with interactive whiteboards with high quality sound systems. To enhance oral fluency, boys have conversation in small groups with our French, German and Spanish assistants. In addition, the department offers a range of homestays or study visits abroad and boys are strongly recommended to take part in such visits. Recent GCSE Study Visits have been to Paris, Berlin and Sevilla.

Boys have the opportunity to participate in various Regional Language Competitions. Recent successes include winning a GCHQ Language and Codebreaking Challenge run by Business Language Champions. The winners enjoyed a day out at Bletchley Park.

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