What will students learn?

Year 7

In the first year of Languages, students will experience learning either French and Spanish alongside Mandarin.  We will build, where possible, on knowledge from primary school. Preparation will take place for the Year 7 day trip to Boulogne, Northern France in the summer term and students compete in a singing competition in the language which they study. The emphasis will be put on pronunciation skills and productive skills so that the students have a solid foundation ready for Year 8. Literacy skills and thinking skills will be embedded in all they do.

In the summer term, Year 7 pupils will choose which language they will pursue – from French/Spanish or Mandarin Chinese. 

How will they be assessed?

In Year 7 there is a focus on oracy and productive skills and students will conduct presentations in the target language on “My Favourite object”, “My family” “My home” as well as translation check points on these topics. Students end the autumn term by describing a favourite object,  in the winter term they compare and contrast family members and in the spring term they will be able to explain what their house looks like and compare this with their ideal house. There are formative checkpoints throughout the year and students will be checked on their writing, reading and listening skills. 

Year 8

French and Spanish:

Students in Year 8 will move through a range of topics and skills, designed to give a strong foundation for GCSEs. However, the ultimate goal is to be able to communicate in the target language and develop fluency and confidence whilst learning about the culture of the country which they study. We also emphasise the use of target language in the classroom as much as possible.

Year 8 students will be able to talk about themselves; their hobbies, fashion, music, health, holidays and their pocket money. Alongside these topics they will learn real life skills to use when travelling to the country of the language  which they study; they will learn to order food at a restaurant or market, book a hotel and go to the doctors.  

How will they be assessed?

In Year 8 students continue to develop all four skills and end the autumn term by creating a fashion show in the target language. In the winter term students are checked on their reading and writing and, in the spring, students conduct a role play in the language as well as have a listening checkpoint. Assessment checkpoints always build on previous topics so students will constantly be revising previous topics and using this with their new learning. Towards the end of the year students will work on developing their writing skills using all grammar and vocabulary which has been acquired during the course. There are planned formative writing and listening checkpoints used by the teacher throughout the year to assess the development of these skills. 


In Year 8, lessons feature regular and engaging references to the background cultures of the Chinese language. Of course, we make every effort to visit Chinatown around the time of the Chinese New Year, in January or February. We have had groups of Chinese students visit our school and take opportunities as and when they arise. 

Students in year 8 will start by learning to pronounce Mandarin Chinese correctly – using the pinyin system of phonetics. Having developed the key literacy foundation of speaking and listening, they will then encounter a wide range of topics – all relevant to their growing knowledge and also linked frequently to the background culture of the Chinese language and people. 

Reading skills, thinking skills and intercultural understanding skills are all part of the Year 8 curriculum in all three languages.

Year 9


In Year 9, students will study a French film and be able to give their opinions on this and the characters in the target language, they will be able to give a short review of this film in French. Students will then be able to describe their school and learn to talk about their town, ask and give directions and eventually debate about environmental problems in French. During this year students will engage in a penpal project and write letters to students in a school in Paris.  There is the opportunity for students to go on a trip to Paris to consolidate their French skills. 


Students will study a Hispanic film and will learn about Central American countries and their recent history. They will be able to express their opinions on the world of entertainment and what people like doing in their free time in Spanish speaking. There is a consistent focus on GCSE-exam readiness in terms of topics and skills, so we engage with a partner school in Madrid to establish pen-pal links via zoom meetings and letter exchange, always under teacher supervision. There is the opportunity to go on a film workshop and trip to a Spanish city to promote student’s knowledge of the language,  culture and way of life.  

How will they be assessed?

In Year 9 we focus on developing the key exam skills and techniques needed for success at GCSE. We begin the year with 2 speaking GCSE style conversation checkpoints and learn how to approach a GCSE style speaking photo card. There are more summative listening assessments as well as summative writing assessments. All topics and grammar are tested with each summative checkpoint to encourage students to re-use and build on previous learning. 


It is incredible in year 9 to see how the foundation in spoken and written Chinese from year 8, serves to build confidence in the pupils, who in year 9 now encounter more extended texts, memory tests of the key written characters and also understanding of the longer, more challenging listening and reading passages. Pupils gain a real sense of satisfaction as they are able to write more from memory and speak more fluently, with the foundation of strong pinyin pronunciation gained in year 8. 

There is a strong emphasis on GCSE-exam readiness – whilst also maintaining a strong element of engagement and motivation through interactive and culturally-relevant tasks.


In the summer of Year 9 the school arranges students into their GCSE classes, in their new timetable, following the options process.


The acquisition of a varied vocabulary is an integral part of learning languages and enables students to articulate themselves in the target language;  all year groups will have regular vocab checks in their lessons. In all years specific pieces of work are marked which allow staff to give the class precise and tailored feedback on how to improve.

How can parents support their child?

Allow students to use the websites recommended by the MFL department: 

Get students to learn their spellings and vocab in the kitchen/lounge, doing look/cover/write/check. For a list of different ways to learn vocab please see these slides. 

-Encourage them to look for cognates in English and French and also patterns in the various languages they might speak at home. 

-Use Chinese websites to engage more widely with Chinese characters – seeing them in wider context. is very useful.