GCSE Languages

MFL: Chinese, French and Spanish                      

Speak to the future: Take a language!


Course specification links –





Subject content

Students study all of the following themes on which the assessments are based.

1. Theme 1: Identity and culture

2. Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest

3. Theme 3: Current and future study and employment



New 2


  • Students are tested in the four skills areas: listening, reading, writing and speaking. The four skills are equally weighted and each account for 25% of the final grade.
  • All themes and topics must be studied in the context of both the students’ home country and that of countries and communities where French / Spanish / Chinese are spoken.
  • Students must take the same language they have studied in Year 9



  • The speaking element – is externally assessed and involves a role play, a photo task and general conversation at the end of Year 11.
  • The writing examination, taken at the end of year 11, is a mixture of word, short phrase and text translation. There is also a literary component.
  • GCSE French / Spanish / Chinese (Mandarin) have a Foundation Tier (grades 1–5) and a Higher Tier (grades 4–9). Students must take all four question papers at the same tier. All question papers must be taken in the same series.
  • Writing, speaking, listening and reading exams will all be taken at the end of year 11, and will involve traditional sat exams in the hall. Each skill is examined separately. The speaking exam will take in the spring of the final year.



Students should purchase a basic dictionary in order to follow the course. We can recommend the Collins dictionary from high street stores for £3 or under. 

Candidates are however not allowed to use a dictionary in the final exams but it is good practice to consult one during the course learning.

Preparation for GCSE Languages at Key Stage 3

The Modern Languages courses in Chinese, French and Spanish at KS3 aim to provide a good foundation for further study at GCSE.  In Years 7, 8 and 9, pupils will have been introduced to and will have practised using key vocabulary, structures and grammar which will enable them to develop and enhance their skills, knowledge and understanding in Key Stage 4.

The new KS3 curriculum will also have emphasised the importance of skills and transferring skills to make sense of new vocabulary in various contexts. Our year 9 pupils have already started meeting new GCSE-style assessment formats.

Instructions in the foreign language

The majority of instructions are now in the foreign language as the new GCSE aims to test the understanding of the foreign language studied. It is therefore essential that pupils have a spontaneous comprehensive ability. They must not only understand the written or spoken texts but also understand the instructions relating to the task. This will be practised in lessons through the course.


A GCSE in a Modern Foreign Language is regarded by many universities and employers as a real asset, especially universities from the Russell Group and Oxbridge. 

Students wishing to enter careers in the Sciences, Computer Science, Engineering, Finance, Business, Journalism, Law, Maths-related and Teaching will find their prospects are enhanced through knowledge of a Modern Foreign Language. 

Some business courses at universities now include a compulsory language element so that graduates from English universities are equipped to work successfully in a multilingual environment.