Modern Foreign Languages

Head of Department

Mrs N Manser

Subject Overview

Our vision for the Modern Foreign Languages department is that all language learners develop the skills and confidence to consider themselves as ‘World Citizens’ who belong in a multicultural, mutually respectful world. We aim to equip our students with the necessary skills to communicate in a foreign language, as well as understanding and appreciating different cultures. The department is committed to developing strong, lifelong linguistic skills and to encourage students to become curious and interested in the world. We aim to make learning a language as interesting and innovative as possible in order to support and inspire our students to embark upon a lifelong enjoyment of Foreign Languages. All students will have the opportunity to study French or Spanish through their academic life at Cornwallis Academy.

The MFL Department is dynamic, passionate, and enthusiastic; all lessons are built around all four skills (Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening) and provide students with opportunities to revisit key skills in different ways and contexts. Grammar is the foundation for language skills and the very basis of all lessons at all stages.  Learning grammar enables students to speak and write more accurately, confidently and fluently. 

Lessons are engaging and involve students in active tasks they find interesting in an environment where successful learning is encouraged. The MFL department has high expectations for all students and the learning environment encompasses the contributions of all abilities; we trust in the success of each student.

Learning in the classroom is enhanced through homework, which is set every week, and consists of vocabulary learning, extended writing tasks and exam practice.


Key Stage 3

Key Stage 3 Overview:

All students at Key Stage 3 will be given the opportunity to study French and Spanish.

KS3 builds a strong foundation in key language and grammar concepts. We focus on the productive skills of Speaking and Writing as well as the receptive skills such as Listening and Reading. We use the newly released Dynamo which has been produced to support progression and success at GCSE level.

Year 7:

All Year 7 students study French for 2 lessons throughout the year.  This will give all pupils a firm grounding in one language which increases enjoyment and heightens their sense of achievement.

Our French programme of study is based on Dynamo 1. It covers Talking about oneself, School life, Free time & hobbies, Local Area and Holidays.

Year 8:

Year 8 students continue with French for one lesson and also study Spanish for one lesson a week. This will allow students to have a taste of both languages to enable them to make an informed choice for Year 9.

In both languages, we increase the emphasis on grammatical knowledge in order for students to begin manipulating the language.

In French, students progress onto the Metro 2 and Expo 2 courses. Topics covered include Social life, Tourism, Food, My identity, Home & lifestyle.

In Spanish, students start with the Listos 1 course. Topics covered include Talking about yourself, School life, Free time & hobbies, Local Area and Holidays.

Year 9:

At this stage in the course, we aim to consolidate the grammatical and communicative knowledge that students have acquired in Years 7 and 8 and build on those themes so that students can speak more in depth on topics and give more thought out points of view.

Our French course is based on Studio AQA GCSE French Foundation and Higher . It covers the topics of Going out, Health, The world of work, Tourism and Young people.

The Spanish course is based on Viva AQA GCSE Spanish Foundation and Higher. It covers the topics of Going out, Health, The world of work, Tourism and Young people.

Assessment at Key Stage 3:

The Key Stage 3 termly assessment schedule is defined by the need to replicate the high expectations at Key Stage 4 allowing students to make rapid progression in the 4 skill areas of Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. 

Assessment 13 skillsEnd of Term 1
Assessment 2All four skillsTo be completed before Christmas holidays
Assessment 33 skillsTo be completed before Term 4
Assessment 43 skillsTo be completed before Easter Holidays
Assessment 53 skillsTo be completed before Term 5
End of year testsAll four skillsTo be completed by end of the academic year

Key Stage 4

Key Stage 4 Overview:

For French and Spanish, students prepare for the new GCSE (9-1) course provided by AQA. We follow the Studio GCSE course for French and the Viva GCSE course for Spanish in both Foundation and Higher Levels.

All students are assessed at the end of Year 11 in all 4 skills, which carry equal weighting. Students will either be entered for Foundation (5-1) or Higher (9-4) depending on their level.

Years 10 and 11:

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

Theme 1: Identity and culture

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

Theme 3: Current and future study and employment

Year 10 French:

At this stage in the course, we aim to consolidate the grammatical and communicative knowledge that students have acquired in Key Stage 3 and build on those themes to fully prepare our students for the GCSE course. Students will carry on from the French lessons they will have chosen in Year 9.

In Year 10, our French course is based on Studio AQA GCSE French Foundation and Higher . It covers the topics of Holidays, Family and Friends, Leisure time activities, School, Work, Local area and Festivals.

Year 10 Spanish:

At this stage in the course, we aim to consolidate the grammatical and communicative knowledge that students have acquired in Key Stage 3 and build on those themes to fully prepare our students for the GCSE course. Students will carry on from the Spanish lessons they will have chosen in Year 9.

In Year 10, our Spanish course is based on Viva AQA GCSE Spanish Foundation and Higher. It covers the topics of Holidays, Family and Friends, new Technologies, Leisure time activities, School, Work, Local area and Festivals.

Year 11 French:

In Year 11, our French course is based on Studio AQA GCSE French Foundation and Higher . It covers the topics of environmental problems and solutions, social issues as well as exam practice for all 4 skills.

Year 11 Spanish:

In Year 11, our Spanish course is based on Viva AQA GCSE Spanish Foundation and Higher. It covers the topics of environmental problems and solutions, social issues as well as exam practice for all 4 skills.

Assessment at Key Stage 4:

Year 10 French and Spanish assessments:

The Key Stage 4 termly assessment schedule is defined by the expectations of the GCSE papers, allowing students to make rapid progression in the 4 skill areas of Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. 

Assessment 13 skillsEnd of Term 1
Assessment 23 skillsTo be completed before Christmas holidays
Assessment 33 skillsTo be completed before Term 4
Assessment 43 skillsTo be completed before Easter Holidays
Assessment 53 skillsTo be completed before Term 5
End of year testsAll four skillsTo be completed by end of the academic year

Year 11 French and Spanish assessments:

The Key Stage 4 termly assessment schedule is defined by the expectations of the GCSE papers, allowing students to make rapid progression in the 4 skill areas of Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. 

Assessment 13 skillsEnd of Term 1
Assessment 23 skillsTo be completed before Christmas holidays
Assessment 33 skillsTo be completed before Term 4
Assessment 44 skillsFull GCSE exam papers

Students in Years 10 and 11 will sit 4 papers at the end of Year 11:

  • Paper 1: Listening – Written exam: 35 minutes (Foundation Tier), 45 minutes (Higher Tier) – 25% of GCSE
  • Paper 2: Speaking – 7–9 minutes (Foundation Tier) + preparation time / 10–12 minutes (Higher Tier) + preparation time – 25% of GCSE
  • Paper 3: Reading – Written exam: 45 minutes (Foundation Tier), 1 hour (Higher Tier) – 25% of GCSE
  • Paper 4: Writing – Written exam: 1 hour (Foundation Tier), 1 hour 15 minutes (Higher Tier) – 25% of GCSE

The MFL Department conducts GCSE afterschool sessions for our Key Stage 4 students on a carrousel to cover all skills needed for the final GCSE papers on a Wednesday on a fortnightly basis.


How can I support my son / daughter’s learning in French/Spanish?

You don’t need to know any French or Spanish to be able to support your child’s learning.

Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Encourage your child to learn little and often. We suggest breaking the learning into 10 minute slots over several days.  Learning on one day won’t help the words stick!
  • The principles of learning spellings for a foreign language are very similar to how your son or daughter learnt spellings in primary school

e.g.  Look-Say-Cover-Write-Check is an important process.

  • Phonics and spelling rules are different, but there are patterns.  Students should try to learn similar words together.
  • You can test your child by saying the English, and see if they can spell the word in French/Spanish. 
  • They will have some speaking questions to practise during the year.  You can test them by holding up the flashcard which shows the question, and see how much they can say.
  • It’s very important that they test themselves at the end of each learning session.
  • Students also need to know if the nouns are masculine or feminine.  They can help themselves by colour-coding them
  • le/un = masculine;  la /une = feminine;  les /des = plural in French
  • el/un = masculine;  la /una = feminine;  los /las/ unos/ unas = plural in Spanish

Useful websites and apps

Memrise *also an app

An effective  way of learning vocabulary, which frequently recycles the words you are practising. Search ‘AQA GCSE French vocabulary’ / ‘AQA Spanish GCSE’ to get going.

Languages on line

Français / Español

A good site to revise all key basic vocab and grammar

S-Cool (French only)

This can help again with key vocab. Revise and practise and even test yourself. Bitesize revision in topic areas.

GCSE Bitesize revision

This can help again with key vocab. Revise and practise and even test yourself. Bitesize revision in topic areas.

Slow News

https://www.newsinslowfrench.com/ (also available in Spanish and on Spotify for free listening practice).

https://tunein.com/radio/News-in-Slow-French-p761034/

Quizlet *also an app

Use to access topic by topic links to pages with vocabulary practice.

French/Spanish Knowledge Organiser Revision Pack Y7-11

Refer to the model answers in the KO revision pack you were given in class to plan answers to exam style writing and speaking questions.

1jour1actu

Reading and listening practice on big questions/concepts as well as current news items. French only.

https://www.1jour1actu.com/