At Leweston we understand the value of learning a foreign language: it can help you to further understand your own language and it makes our girls stand out from the crowd. Not only it is an impressive achievement to be able to understand and speak another language but it also provides better options for the future. French and Spanish are taught across all year groups and girls are encouraged to learn additional languages off curriculum, such as Italian, Mandarin and Japanese. The MFL department also offers a diverse enrichment programme, which includes translation workshops, language plays, study visits and joint schools talks.
Head of Modern Languages
In Year 7 at Leweston girls have the opportunity to study both French and Spanish and we tailor our lessons to cater for different levels of ability and knowledge. This system continues in Year 8, providing more exposure to languages and cultures, as well as the contexts in which these languages operate.
In Year 9 girls start the GCSE course and have the opportunity to continue with two modern languages if they wish. Pupils joining Leweston in Year 9 who have not previously experienced a second language are provided with the necessary help/tuition to supplement their knowledge and make a genuine choice.
Languages at GCSE give an equal weight of 25% to the four skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing. Students have the opportunity to study a variety of contemporary topics in a wide range of relevant countries. The main topic areas, which will be developed using the four language skills, are as follows: everyday activities; personal and social life; the world around us; the world of work; and the international world. The pupils are also given exposure to films, TV, music, journalism and story-writing, as well as the opportunity to take part in study visits to Cordoba and Nice for those in Year 10 and Year 11. All candidates are entered at Higher Tier level, although we offer certain flexibility to cater for a variety of needs.
Students looking to study Modern Languages in the Sixth Form need a high grade at GCSE as the courses are demanding, building on the skills already developed. Girls will need to talk to native speakers and the School recommends that students spend time immersed in their language of choice on an exchange or educational visit during the holidays, in addition to taking advantage of the study visits arranged by the School.
During the course students will develop their linguistic skills while studying authentic contemporary material, drawn from newspapers, magazines, radio, television and the internet. Topics include many aspects of culture and society, such as the arts, the media, literature, social problems, politics, scientific and technological developments, the environment, a town or region, industry and a period of recent history.
The syllabus has a linear approach gaining A level qualification at the end of the 2 year course. Examinations involve multi-skill testing, i.e. listening, reading and writing in the target language and also a small amount of translation. Speaking is examined internally, accounting for 30% of the marks.
The new syllabus follows the AQA exam board requirements and students have the opportunity to access extensive online resources at school or at home. These resources will allow students to self- test and evaluate, using independent learning effectively.
Spanish A Level students are offered the chance to go on a study trip to Spain (Almuñecar or Puerto de Santa Maria in the summer term). The trip sets out to combine carefully targeted study with a more general exposure to a wide range of features of Spanish culture. The study visit is targeted at those wishing to improve their listening and speaking ability and for those who intend to study Spanish at university.
French A Level students have the opportunity to be immersed in the French culture and language for a week during the Easter holidays. Students attend 4 hour lessons at the language school in Nice and have free time in the afternoon for excursions and visits. This study visit is particularly useful as it allows students to hone their oral skills just before their Speaking exam.