“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.”
– Frank Smith (Psycholinguist)
The Stanley High School Languages Department believe that languages provide a way of transcending cultural barriers, allowing students to view their world from a different perspective and develop the skills and confidence to consider themselves as world citizens. Learning a language at Stanley High School supports the whole curriculum aims, enabling students to become successful and curious learners, confident and resilient individuals and responsible and healthy citizens. Studying a language will help students to belong in a multicultural, mutually respectful world and provide them with the ability to embrace the fact that we live in a rich and diverse place, filled with different customs, points of view, history, art, literature and ways of thinking.
Languages also afford students the chance to understand the codes which exist behind different languages and they might be similar to, or different from, English. Students can build a more powerful understanding of their own language through questioning how we put together words, sentences and texts.
The Languages Department is a dynamic, passionate, and enthusiastic department; a collaborative approach to teaching and learning is embedded within daily practice and future planning. The department endeavours to make learning languages fun and meaningful, providing students with many opportunities for both collaboration and independent work in each lesson. It is staffed by 3 specialist teachers (two French and German specialists and a French and Spanish specialist.) 90% of students are expected to study a language through to GCSE level.
Curriculum maps in both key stages are designed to ensure that all four skills (Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening) are covered in every unit and opportunities to revisit key skills, in different ways, are built into students’ learning journeys. Knowledge of grammar and key structures is the foundation for building language skills, which enables students to speak and write more accurately, confidently and fluently. Consequently, key grammar points are regularly revisited. The emphasis is on equipping students with the linguistic skills to unpick and decode unfamiliar language. In KS3, there is a focus on recycling key “chunks” of language and explaining the relevant grammar points and at KS4, grammar is unpacked even more explicitly. Curriculum maps outline the skills and knowledge students are expected to master across the two key stages. The KS3 curriculum has been designed based on guidance from the Chartered College of Teaching Languages Network as well as advice from other fellow MFL practitioners on effective second language acquisition.
The KS2 programme of study and the language provision of our feeder primary schools are considered to ensure progression from the students’ primary school languages experience. In the summer term, information about provision is collected from the main feeder primary school in order to review curriculum plans for the next academic year.
The usual allocation of time per 50-period cycle is as follows:
|French||2 lessons||In Year 7, students are provided with a taster of each language to allow them to make an informed decision at the end of the year about which language they wish to study during the rest of their time at Stanley.|
|French, German or Spanish||5 lessons in the language the student picked at the end of Year 7.|
In Years 7, 8 and 9, KS3 students are taught to become determined, independent and curious linguists who:
- identify and use tenses or other structures which convey the present, past, and future as appropriate to the language being studied
- use and manipulate a variety of key grammatical structures and patterns, including voices and moods, as appropriate
- develop and use a wide-ranging and deepening vocabulary that goes beyond their immediate needs and interests, allowing them to give and justify opinions and take part in discussion about wider issues
- use accurate grammar, spelling and punctuation.
During KS4, where students follow the AQA GCSE course in their chosen language, they will continue to develop their ability and ambition to communicate with native speakers in speech and writing. Students begin to cover aspects of the GCSE course during Year 9. The AQA GCSE course will broaden students’ horizons and help them to become compassionate and resilient global citizens. The AQA specifications provide a good level challenge for students and, as two members of the department have been AQA examiners in French and Spanish, staff have an excellent knowledge of exam requirements to provide additional support for our students.
The Languages department are firm believers in languages for all and have the highest expectations of every student. The use of scaffolds, the modelling of good examples and open-ended tasks allow all students to achieve, regardless of prior attainment. A range of authentic materials, such as books, magazines and films, are available for more able students. In class support from teaching assistants is available for SEND students and revision materials are purchased for disadvantaged students. Additional support with homework and revision is available to all students.
Curriculum enrichment opportunities
Students are given the opportunity to participate in a range of enrichment activities to enhance their learning. From the activities organised for European Day of Languages in September and the tapas restaurant trip for GCSE Spanish students to the Year 7 Spelling Bee and taster sessions in new languages such as Japanese and Korean for Year 10 students, students are exposed to a culture where languages are alive and accessible for all.
We are currently developing a link with the Languages department at UCLAN and plan to resume visits abroad when it is possible to do so.
During their five years at Stanley, we aim to provide students with challenging, high-quality language lessons. We hope that the majority of students will leave school with a language qualification and that we have made all students aware of the importance of languages in the wider world. Our curriculum should also fully equip students for post-16 language study.
We have been pleased with the results achieved by our students since the introduction of the new, more challenging GCSE courses. In 2018, students achieved very pleasing outcomes. GCSE Spanish results were close to national averages at grades 9-7 (26.67%) and 9-5 (53.33%).
We will continue to review our curriculum regularly to ensure students receive the best possible languages offer.