Learning a foreign language helps our students develop an understanding of the world we live and work in. Students learn to appreciate different countries, cultures and people which enable them to make comparisons with their own society. The four aspects of language learning (listening, speaking, reading and writing) help students to express themselves and also explore the similarities between English and the language they are learning.
No one can predict the field of work they will go in to or what role a foreign language will play in their career, but having a GCSE in a foreign language can only enhance future career possibilities. Being able to communicate in another language is, quite simply, a lifelong skill, one which can be used throughout the world!
French or Spanish are the languages currently on offer at The Vale Academy. Students are allocated a language in Year 7 and study the same one throughout KS3. They continue with this language at GCSE, if they follow the English Baccalaureate pathway.
Although only a small department of 2 full time staff and 1 part time member of staff, all languages are very well catered for.
Mrs G Perseu: Curriculum Leader
Mrs H Holmes: Spanish (Acting Curriculum Leader)
Mrs E Geldar: German
Facilities and Resources
Equipped with interactive whiteboards in every specialist classroom, staff use a range of software designed to support and extend language learning. MP3 technology is also being used to help student vocabulary and grammar learning at home and new on-line resources also allow students to work away from the classroom environment, further developing their skills as independent learners. The ‘Learning Platform’ as it is called, allows every student access to an on-line text book, the same as is used in the classroom. This resource allows students to revisit work done that day, prepare for future lessons, learn vocabulary with the aid of native speakers and gain invaluable tips for the speaking and writing assignments. Past exam papers have also been uploaded onto the ‘Learning Platform’, allowing students to practise both the listening and reading elements of the exam, in the comfort of their own home. It’s quite simply an amazing resource!
Students are allocated a language upon their arrival at the college and study it throughout years 7 & 8. Language lessons allow the students to work in all 4 skill areas using a variety of engaging activities. Numerous topics are covered, enabling students to communicate at a personal level as well as being given more creative opportunities.
KS4 and Courses
The AQA GCSE course places increased emphasis on speaking and writing skills. Students study 4 key areas:
- Home & Environment
- Work & Education
The content of the GCSE course is much more interesting and relevant for today’s teenagers.
September 2011 saw the MFL department introduce AS Spanish for the very first time and it is solely taught at the academy. Following the AQA course, Y12 students develop their foreign language learning in much greater depth but have the luxury of doing so in much smaller groups. The 4 topic areas are:
- Media (TV, Advertising, Communication Technology)
- Popular Culture (Cinema, Music, Fashion)
- Healthy Living (Sport, Health, Holidays)
- Relationships (Family, Friendships, Marriage)
The ‘Learning Platform’ is available for KS5 students with plenty of exam papers for them to practise, in preparation for their AS exams!
Following on from AS, A2 Spanish was introduced at the academy in September 2012. A2 explores the topics of:
- The Environment
- The Multicultural Society
- Contemporary Social Issues
Through our joint sixth form, it is also possible to study AS/A2 French and German.
Forthcoming events / Enrichment / Extra-curricular activities
Lunch time and after school support is available for all students should they need one to one help or wish to take their language learning further. Students have had the opportunity to practise their language skills in trips abroad: Barcelona, Spain in April 2013, Lille, France in December 2014 and this academic year students will hopefully have the opportunity to practise in Paris, France.
And finally . . . . . . . . . . . did you know?
Approximately 93% of the world does not speak English as a 1st language and 70% of the world does not speak English at all!
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” (Nelson Mandela)
www.valeacademy.org (for access to the Learning Platform)