Modern Foreign Languages

Modern Foreign Languages are both academic subjects in their own right and useful tools to accompany other disciplines. We offer the following Modern Foreign Languages at iGCSE:

The UK is historically, geographically and culturally a part of Europe and our own language has its roots in both northern and southern European languages. Job opportunities in a variety of fields, such as banking, law, commerce, tourism and journalism, are enhanced by qualifications in Modern Foreign Languages, and employers in areas as diverse as engineering, financial trading, ICT, telecommunications and import/export may all now request at least a working knowledge of one or more modern foreign language.

Students who are aiming to read languages at university and/or who have achieved a high standard in their languages in Year 9 would benefit from choosing two languages for GCSE. Having had the benefit of learning a language for at least three years, during the next two years students will mainly consolidate and extend their knowledge and focus on developing the four skills required for IGCSE i.e. speaking, listening, reading and writing.

There will be more emphasis on spoken and written accuracy, reinforcing topics and language skills covered in the last three years. Students are encouraged to build upon their existing knowledge of grammar and to be creative with the language. All Modern Foreign Languages are taught primarily in the target language.

There is no coursework. By learning a Modern Foreign Language students will learn a lot about the culture and daily life of other countries. Through learning about a different culture and set of customs and values we hope students develop the following personal and transferrable skills:

  • confidence in working with information and ideas
  • responsibility towards own learning
  • innovation to cope with new challenges
  • commitment to take any opportunity to strengthen knowledge of the language

French

Course specification: CIE IGCSE 0520

A good working knowledge of French is enormously useful. It not only gives students access to France’s rich and vibrant culture, it also opens up the entire francophone world which spans the globe, taking in places as diverse as Tahiti and the whole of French Polynesia, Quebec in Canada, Switzerland and several African countries.

The syllabus content is organised around five topic areas:

  • Area A: Everyday activities
  • Area B: Personal and social life
  • Area C: The world around us
  • Area D: The world of work
  • Area E: The international world

All students take the following four examinations, each worth 25% of the final grade:

  • Paper 1 Listening: students listen to a number of recordings and answer questions in French. The paper is divided into three sections and the examination lasts 45 minutes.
  • Paper 2 Reading: students read a number of texts and answer questions again in French. The paper is divided into three sections and the examination lasts 1 hour.
  • Paper 3 Speaking: students complete two role plays, a topic presentation with follow-up conversation and a general conversation. The examination is carried out by a teacher and lasts 15 minutes. It is recorded and assessed internally and moderated externally.
  • Paper 4 Writing: students have three different exercises and write exclusively in French. Section 1 has two questions: first students have to write a series of single words based on pictures and for the second question they are tasked to write 80-90 words. Section 2 gives the students a choice of three tasks, with each task consisting of 130-140 words. The examination lasts 1 hour.

The listening, reading and writing skills are assessed at the end of Year 11 as external examinations. The speaking skills are assessed in the Spring Term of Year 11.

Optional trip: French Study Trip in Years 8 & 9, 6 days. Approximate cost: £500.

German

Course specification: CIE IGCSE 0525

Germany is one of the world’s biggest industrial countries with world-famous products, so speaking German opens up a world of professional possibilities. Not all journals and publications are translated into English and, since German is the second most common language used in scientific publications, you may need a working knowledge of German to understand them, especially at research level.

Other industries that may require employees to have a working knowledge of German would include tourism, entertainment, banking, manufacturing, engineering and commerce, to name a few. Additionally, German speaking countries are located in the heart of Europe and have long histories and rich cultures. The syllabus content is organised around five topic areas:

  • Area A: Everyday activities
  • Area B: Personal and social life
  • Area C: The world around us
  • Area D: The world of work
  • Area E: The international world

All students take the following four examinations, each worth 25% of the final grade:

  • Paper 1 Listening: students listen to a number of recordings and answer questions in German. The paper is divided into three sections and the examination lasts 45 minutes.
  • Paper 2 Reading: students read a number of texts and answer questions again in German. The paper is divided into three sections and the examination lasts 1 hour.
  • Paper 3 Speaking: students complete two role plays, a topic presentation with follow-up conversation and a general conversation. The examination is carried out by a teacher and lasts 15 minutes. It is recorded and assessed internally and moderated externally.
  • Paper 4 Writing: students have three different exercises and write exclusively in German. Section 1 has two questions: first students have to write a series of single words based on pictures. In the second question students are tasked to write 80-90 words. Section 2 gives the students a choice of three tasks with each task consisting of 130-140 words. The examination lasts 1 hour.

The listening, reading and writing skills are assessed at the end of Year 11 in external examinations. The speaking skills are assessed in the Spring Term of Year 11.

Mandarin Chinese

Course specification: CIE IGCSE Chinese as a Foreign Language

Mandarin Chinese has the largest population of speakers in the world. Native speakers alone account for nearly 15% of the world’s population – 1 trillion people. Mandarin Chinese is the official language of China, one of the official languages of Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan, and is recognised as one of the official languages of the United Nations.

Currently, the GDP value of China alone represents approximately 15% of the world economy. In the last few years, the connections between the UK and China have been strengthened, especially in bilateral trade. In 2013, the value of this trade surpassed £43 billion.

The syllabus content is organised around five broad topic areas which provide contexts for the acquisition of vocabulary and the study of grammar and structure. The topic areas are:

  • Area A: Everyday activities
  • Area B: Personal and social life
  • Area C: The world around us
  • Area D: The world of work
  • Area E: The international world

All students take the following four examinations, each worth 25% of the final grade:

  • Paper 1 Listening: students listen to a number of recordings and answer questions with non-verbalresponses (e.g. tick boxes) and verbal responses in Chinese (either using Chinese characters or pinyin). The examination lasts approximately 35 minutes (30 marks)
  • Paper 2 Reading: students read a number of texts and answer questions with non-verbal responses (e.g. tick boxes) and verbal responses using Chinese characters. The examination lasts 1 hour 15 minutes (36 marks)
  • Paper 3 Speaking: students complete two role plays, a topic presentation/conversation and a general conversation. The examination is carried out by the teacher who has taught the class and lasts approximately 15 minutes. It is recorded and assessed internally and moderated externally (100 marks)
  • Paper 4 Writing: candidates respond in the target language to three tasks. The examination lasts 1 hour 15 minutes (45 marks)

All skills except speaking are assessed at the end of Year 11 in external examinations. There is no controlled assessment in this subject.

Spanish

Course specification: Edexcel IGCSE 4SP1

There are almost 430 million native Spanish speakers in the world: this is more than in any other language except Chinese. It is spoken in 23 countries and is recognised as one of the official languages of the United Nations. Spanish is spoken by more than 11% of the US population, especially in New York, Los Angeles and other large cities.

It is also becoming increasingly important in the world of business: Spanish speaking countries represent 6% of the world’s GDP and the total value of business between Spain and the UK is around £21 billion per annum. The syllabus content is organised around five topic areas:

  • Area A: Home and abroad
  • Area B: Education and employment
  • Area C: Personal life and relationships
  • Area D: The world around us
  • Area E: Social activities, fitness and health

The structure of the examination is as follows:

  • Paper 1 Listening (25%): students listen to a number of recordings and answer questions with non-verbal responses (e.g. tick boxes) and verbal responses in Spanish. The examination lasts 30 minutes with an extra five minutes of reading time (40 marks)
  • Paper 2 Reading and Writing (50%): students read a number of texts and answer questions with nonverbal responses (e.g. tick boxes) and verbal responses in Spanish. There are two extended writing tasks: the first requires about 60-70 words to be written in Spanish, and the second will be narrative, descriptive or discursive and may be a letter, report, article, or page from a diary, for example. The examination lasts 1 hour 45 minutes (80 marks)
  • Paper 3 Speaking (25%): students complete a presentation and discussion based on a picture of the student’s choice and a general conversation covering two of the topic areas listed. The examination is carried out by the teacher who has taught the class and lasts 10 minutes. It is recorded internally and assessed externally (40 marks)

All skills are assessed at the end of Year 11 in external examinations. There is no controlled assessment in this subject.

Optional trip: Spanish Study Trip, Years 10 and 11, 6 days. Approximate cost: £650.