Modern Foreign Languages
- Miss E Hofmann, Head of Faculty/Head of French
- Mrs A Bishop (Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme Co-ordinator)
- Mrs T Estella - 2nd in Faculty/Head of Spanish
- Mrs K Hamilton
- Ms S Melcarne
- Mrs I Navarro Bernal
- SCITT Trainee
The Modern Foreign Languages Faculty strives to develop, maintain and stimulate students' curiosity, interest and enjoyment in the process of learning foreign languages. We have very high expectations of student commitment and we support students in order for them to achieve the very best that they are capable of. The faculty mottos of “Languages for all, languages for life” and “Be the best you can be” drive the work we do to provide a curriculum which supports students who require extra help but also extends for students who have potential to fly.
The Faculty currently offers two languages: French and Spanish. Each of these languages offers its own unique appeal and can support the achievement of students in many of the other subjects offered at Bishop Ramsey School. The study of a modern language can give students a unique window into the wider world, as well as develop practical skills which can help students develop across the curriculum.
We believe that understanding and speaking French is a big advantage for our students in our global society. As a world language and one of the official languages of the UN, knowledge of French offers many opportunities for work and travel abroad. France remains one of the most important trading partners for all European and many non-European countries. French companies also play a large role in the UK economy and opportunities exist in the UK for French speakers particularly as many French companies have bases in the UK and expect their employees to have some knowledge of French.
France has a very rich cultural and historical heritage which can enrich the learning of students and also build their appreciation of the arts and everything which comes with them. We seek to nurture our students’ curiosity and passion for all things French.
We are proud to offer the opportunity for students in year 8, 9 and 10 to take part in a very successful exchange trip to our Partner school, Collège Les Ormeaux St Dominique in Le Havre. We undertake a series of trips whilst in France which include The Normandy Landing Beaches, the Bayeux Tapestry, Rouen, all things Joan of Arc and many more! Students are hosted in French Families for the duration of the exchange which proves to be an unforgettable and invaluable experience for them.
We also offer our Sixth form students the chance to take part in a work experience trip to France where they stay with host families and undertake work in a primary school. This is a great opportunity for them to experience working life but also to practise their language skills, build their confidence and also develop their interpersonal skills.
Students in KS4 also get the opportunity to visit the Institut Français in South Kensington to take part in a French cultural day which typically involves work in the library or a language workshop and then a talk on a certain theme linked to a French film.
Students in KS3 have the opportunity to experience a French Theatre performance in school which brings the language to life in a fun and engaging way.
We believe that understanding and speaking Spanish is an advantage as this language is becoming of greater importance. Spanish is a popular second language having more than 400 million speakers worldwide. It is the fourth most commonly spoken language in the world (after English, Chinese and Hindustani). It is an official language on four continents and is of historical importance elsewhere.
As a result of its historical links, Spanish and Hispanic Culture is wide-reaching, varied and culturally rich. We hope to nurture a love of all things Hispanic in order to widen our students’ cultural knowledge.
We are proud to offer a popular exchange visit to our partner school Colegio Divina Pastora in Toledo, which is available for students in Year 8, 9 and 10. This trip includes a day in Madrid where students learn about the history of the Spanish royal family, taste chocolate con churros and see the Bernabéu stadium. We also spend time in the beautiful city of Toledo itself – seeing the ancient sites and soaking up this historic and culturally rich city.
In the academic year 2018/2019 Spanish students at KS5 will have the opportunity to take part in a work experience programme in Spain. They will stay with a host family and undertake work in a primary school. This is a great opportunity for them to experience working life but also to practise their language skills, build their confidence and experience Spanish culture first-hand.
Students in KS4 get the opportunity to visit the Instituto Cervantes to take part in a Spanish cultural day which typically involves a language activity in the library. Students will also be given the opportunity to experience a theatre performance and workshop as part of the day.
Students in KS3 have the opportunity to experience a Spanish Theatre performance in school which brings the language to life in a fun and engaging way.
Studying a foreign language at Bishop Ramsey
Throughout the language learning process, students also develop a range of other skills which are important across the curriculum and in future life. These include translation, effective communication, deductive and thinking skills, comprehension and conversational skills. Through the use of original materials and authentic texts students are also given a good basis for sparking their interest in the French or Spanish culture.
It is important to note, that despite the developing use of English, a Language qualification in French or Spanish is very highly regarded. Many prestigious universities look favourably at the study of a language in the application process. Moreover, given our school’s prime location near Heathrow and the ease of access to Europe, additional languages can give students the edge that others may not have and open up a wealth of job opportunities. Foreign Languages combine well with a range of other subjects and can complement the Arts, the Humanities and Sciences.
Bishop Ramsey School is proud to have an uptake of approximately 86% of the students eligible to take a language at GCSE, opting to take French or Spanish.
We encourage students to take part in a range of activities and the European Day of Languages is a very popular event at the beginning of the year – we hold language themed competitions for each Key Stage and encourage students to engage with the importance of languages for life.
The MFL faculty try to engage students in all aspects and have their own twitter feed @MFL_BR which is used to regularly update students on interesting articles, excellent classwork, trip pictures etc.
Key Stage 3
The Year 7 cohort will be offered the opportunity to learn either French or Spanish, depending on the year half that they are in. They will then pursue this language choice for the rest of their time at Bishop Ramsey. From around October half term, the Year 7 cohort will be assessed on their individual language ability and put into ability groups for the remainder of the year.
Assessments throughout year 7 and in year 8 ensure that the students are still in the correct group for their ability as the year progresses.
We use a range of techniques to engage students in their learning and try to encourage students to learn about people who live in the Francophone and Hispanic worlds.
The four skill areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening are continually assessed and techniques like role-play, peer assessment, games and modelling of responses are used to support students. We cover a range of topic areas including; “me and my life”, “the environment”, “healthy eating”, “sport and free-time”, “holidays”, “food and drink” and “school and education” to name a few.
There are extensive materials which students can access online. Homework is set twice a week - details of which are also to be found on “Show my Homework”. Homework is typically a “learning” homework and a “doing” homework and amounts to one hour to one and a half hours a week.
Key Stage 4
At Key Stage 4, we are currently using the AQA examination board and students are examined in all four language skills at the end of year 11.
They are also encouraged to take an active interest in the target language’s country to build cultural awareness and to give the taught language a real life context. The topic areas which are covered during the course include:
* Identity and Culture (Self, family, friends, home life, shopping, meals, , illness and accident, free time, fashion, relationships, future plans, music, cinema, social media, customs and festivals in the target culture etc).
* Local, national, international and global areas of interest (Home town, local environment, pollution, recycling, local facilities, comparisons with other towns and
regions, weather and seasons, healthy living, travel and holidays, social issues, voluntary work, life in the countries and communities where the language is spoken.)
* Current and future study and employment (School, school life, education post-16, jobs, careers, ambitions)
The qualification is awarded over four units and can be done at both higher or foundation level. The qualification is awarded with equal weighting (25%) split between the four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking.
Members of the MFL Faculty frequently run support sessions at lunch time and after school to help and support students.
Homework is set twice a week and details are published on “Show my Homework”.
Key Stage 5
We offer the traditional A Level route as well as the potential to take an AS level, where appropriate. The A level board we use is AQA and the specification gives candidates an excellent grounding in all aspects of the target language. Throughout the course they have the opportunity to demonstrate their ability in speaking, listening, reading and writing. Materials are drawn from a wide range of authentic target language sources and students are encouraged to study all social and cultural aspects of the target language’s countries, as well as develop their individual interests in the local language and culture. Students will also have to develop their own critical and analytical expression by examining works of literature and film.
Units are externally assessed and there is a speaking component, as well as listening, reading and writing papers. Topics could include the changing nature of society and family life, the environment, science and technology, culture, aspects of daily life, leisure and entertainment, communication and media, education and training, politics to name but a few. They will also look extensively at aspects of cultural life and cultural heritage in both France and Spain.
Members of the faculty frequently run support sessions at lunch time and after school. A-Level students also receive a one-on-one Tutor session where individual help and support can be given. Students also have the opportunity to have conversation classes with a native speaker to develop their confidence and competence in this skill.
A-level students are given the opportunity to undertake community service placements supporting language classes at Key Stage Three which is always very popular.
A-level students in French and Spanish also take part in a Film Study day at the BFI Southbank which focuses on the set Films for their A-level studies. This enriches and enlivens the films for students and gives them a flavour of how lectures at university are conducted.
Further information about the courses at Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 can be found at http://www.aqa.org.uk/
Mandarin at Bishop Ramsey
In the 2018/2019 Academic Year, we will be offering students the opportunity to learn Mandarin as part of the extra-curricular programme in school. These sessions are supplied by an external supplier and will be held out of the normal school day hours. We are also offering Mandarin to parents who may be interested in learning something new. This opens the door for greater employment opportunities for students in the future as Mandarin has become increasingly important on the global stage.