Modern Foreign Languages

Subject Overview

Languages are an excellent choice at GCSE! Having a GCSE in languages is extremely well-regarded by employers and universities alike. Here is some information about how important languages are:

  • Starting in 2018, soldiers in the British Army will not be eligible to apply for any post beyond that of captain without basic capabilities in a foreign language
  • The World Health Organisation demands that all its employees have proficiency in a second language
  • It is estimated that learning a language can add between 10-15% to your wage
  • Languages bring people closer; they build bridges, dispel prejudice, encourage peace and communication

We offer a GCSE in all three languages, French, German and Spanish. Come and learn how just a little bit of language knowledge can go a long way!

Syllabuses (Course Outline and Structure)

We follow the AQA GCSE Specification:

Students in Year 10 (2016-2017 academic year) 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

For students in Year 10 (2016-2017 academic year) all exams will be sat at the end of the course and will be assessed in the four skills of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing with each skill having an equal weighting of 25% towards the overall GCSE grade.

GCSE languages have a Foundation Tier (grades 1-5) and a Higher Tier (grades 4-9). All four question papers are taken at the same tier. Please note that tiers cannot be mixed as has been the case in the past.

Examination (applicable to students in Year 10 2016-2017 academic year)

  1. LISTENING 
    • Written exam: 35 minutes (Foundation Tier), 45 minutes (Higher Tier)
    • 40 marks (Foundation Tier), 50 marks (Higher Tier)
    • 25% of GCSE
  2. SPEAKING 
    • Role-play: 15 marks (2 minutes at Foundation Tier; 2 minutes at Higher Tier)
    • Photo card: 15 marks (2 minutes at Foundation Tier; 3 minutes at Higher Tier)
    • General conversation: 30 marks (3-5 minutes at Foundation Tier; 5-7 minutes at Higher Tier)
    • 60 marks (for each of Foundation Tier and Higher Tier)
    • 25% of GCSE
  3. READING 
    • Written exam: 45 minutes (Foundation Tier), 1 hour (Higher Tier)
    • 60 marks (for each of Foundation Tier and Higher Tier)
    • 25% of GCSE
  4. WRITING 
    • Written exam: 1 hour (Foundation Tier), 1 hour 15 minutes (Higher Tier)
    • 50 marks at Foundation Tier and 60 marks at Higher Tier
    • 25% of GCSE

More Information available on the AQA Wesbite:

For students in Year 11 (2016-2017 academic year) only the Reading and Listening papers will be sat at the end of the course and will be assessed in the four skills of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing with Reading and Listening being 20% each and Writing and Speaking 30% each. Writing and Speaking are Controlled Assessment with the two best pieces in each skill to be submitted to the exam board by May.

Examination (applicable only to students in Year 11 2016-2017 academic year)

  1. LISTENING 
    • Written exam: 35 minutes (Foundation Tier), 45 minutes (Higher Tier)
    • 35 marks (Foundation Tier), 40 marks (Higher Tier)
    • 20% of GCSE
  2. SPEAKING 
    • Controlled Assessment (externally assessed)
    • Two tasks submitted for moderation
    • 30% of GCSE
  3. READING 
    • Written exam: 30 minutes (Foundation Tier), 50 minutes (Higher Tier)
    • 35 marks (Foundation Tier), 45 marks (Higher Tier)
    • 20% of GCSE
  4. WRITING 
    • Controlled Assessment (externally assessed)
    • Two tasks submitted for moderation
    • 30% of GCSE

 More Information available on the AQA Wesbite: 

For this specification we have a range of past papers on the school's shared area: 

  • L:LanguagesReading & Listening Papers (Students)*

*Only available by logging in from school or through the portal from home.

Entry Requirements and Prohibited Options

We offer a GCSE in all three languages, French, German and Spanish. For you to progress and succeed at GCSE you need to choose languages already studied in Year 9.

Activities and Trips

We have in the past offered a number of exchanges and trips. Currently, we have no plans to run trips next academic year although should this change we will update the website and inform you and your child accordingly.

Expected Costs

It is strongly recommended that students purchase bilingual dictionaries to support their learning and encourage independent study. We have negotiated a significant discount from Oxford and will place an order at the start of the next academic year.

Complementary Subject Combinations and Enrichment Activities

Languages have a solid reputation with universities and employers alike. At GCSE, a MFL is one of the five subjects needed to gain the EBac. At A-Level, a MFL will compliment and enhance many other A-Level subjects, whether you are orientated towards Maths/Science, or to English, Law, Business or Art.

We also have a Foreign Language Assistant to support German speaking, and a Spanish native speaker in our team who can offer conversation at A-Level or GCSE.

Subject Resources

Schemes of Work

The AQA Website (for those students studying languages in Year 10 2016-2017 academic year) for each language can be found here:

The AQA Specimen Papers, Mark Schemes & Specifications for each language can be found here:

The AQA Website (for those students studying languages in Year 11 2016-2017 academic year) for each language can be found here:

Past Papers

We run a Parental Explanation Evening in late September each year to inform both parents and students about what resources we have to support the students' learning, study tips and additional information. All past papers for students in Year 11 (academic year 2016-2017) are found on the school's shared area here:

  • L:LanguagesReading & Listening Papers (Students)*

*Only available by logging in from school or through the portal from home.

Useful Links

We have GCSE Resource Packs to support students' learning. These are available to download and are found on the school's shared area here:

  • L:LanguagesOnline Resource Packs*

*Only available by logging in from school or through the portal from home.

These resources contain a number of key resources like the A* Checklist, grammar PowerPoints and vocab lists.

We have past papers for all three subjects and these are on:

  • L:LanguagesReading & Listening Papers (Students)*

*Only available by logging in from school or through the portal from home.

Multimedia links

Websites that we would recommend to support learning languages are:

Other apps which we would recommend are: