“If you speak to people in words they don’t understand, how will they know what you are saying? You might as well be talking into empty space.” 1 Corinthians 14:9
With Christ at the centre, the MFL department at Mount Carmel aims to provide all pupils with a valuable educational experience which broadens their horizons and gives them skills for life beyond school. By studying a foreign language, pupils are provided with the opportunity to develop communication skills, whilst simultaneously learning tolerance, acceptance and celebration of different languages and cultures.
We provide opportunities for pupils of all abilities to develop the necessary skills in listening, speaking, reading, writing and grammar to meet the requirements of the national curriculum and the demands of key stage 4 language study, and we are committed to ensuring that each pupil meets their full potential by embedding these across topic areas.
We want pupils to enjoy learning a language and look forward to their lessons with self-belief and a can-do attitude, knowing that they will receive a high-quality learning experience and be encouraged to get involved, persist and be resilient.
At Mount Carmel, pupils receive two hours of language lessons per week in key stage 3 and three hours per week at key stage 4. In addition to lessons, we supplement curriculum time with support, intervention, competitions and university visits, in order to enrich pupils’ experiences.
At Mount Carmel, pupils study an ambitious Spanish curriculum at key stage 3 (although some pupils currently study French, this will be the case from September 2020). We cover the national curriculum and aim to provide pupils with the knowledge and skills needed to understand and communicate in a foreign language, whilst topic by topic and year by year preparing pupils appropriately for the demands of a challenging key stage 4. We aim to recycle language as pupils progress through the school so that they understand how the same structures can be transferred across topics.
Topics taught (2019-2020)
The topics taught at key stage 3 are the foundations of some of the very broad GCSE themes, carefully selected to allow pupils to experience a range of language structures that they will regularly need. We aim to build up pupils’ use of vocabulary and grammar points across topics, and deal with the topics most relevant to our younger pupils. We are also aware of the varying experiences that our pupils have of other languages and cultures, and aim to provide them with the cultural capital they need to become good world citizens.
Most KS3 pupils at Mount Carmel will study (September 2020 onwards) the topics of:
Year 7: Self, family and friends; hobbies; school
Year 8: My life and free time; where I live; relationships and celebrations
Year 9: Holidays; future jobs and where languages can take you; helping the environment
How will the subject be assessed?
At key stage 3, assessment takes place formatively through low-stakes testing, such as vocabulary tests and translation tasks, and both summatively and formatively in the form of end of unit assessments. We aim to tackle misconceptions as and when they arise. All four skill areas (listening, speaking, reading and writing) are tested across the year, and assessment in the two productive skills requires pupils to use different tenses and opinions. Summative assessment is used formatively to inform future planning.
At key stage 4, all pupils have the opportunity to opt for a modern language, and those that study one work towards the Edexcel GCSE in French or Spanish. The scheme of learning ensures that pupils build upon the skills and knowledge gained at key stage 3 so that they can understand and communicate ideas in greater depth and with increasing complexity. They will also begin to study themes that are of greater relevance to older pupils. Listening, speaking, reading and writing are practised regularly as we cover the five main themes of:
• Identity and culture
• Local area, holiday and travel
• Future aspirations, study and work
• International and global dimension
How will the subject be assessed?
At key stage 4, assessment is ongoing through class work and homework tasks. Pupils sit listening, reading and writing papers in formal conditions on three occasions throughout key stage 4 (PPEs) and also have full speaking assessments in July of year 10 and December of year 11. These assessments not only allow pupils to experience the unique nature of languages GCSE examinations, but also allow teachers to identify areas for improvement so that appropriate strategies can be put in place to help pupils to improve further, both in and out of lessons.
Where possible, we also allow pupils with a home or community language to sit the appropriate GCSEs. In recent years, Mount Carmel pupils have celebrated exam success in Italian, Portuguese and Polish, and we welcome a teacher of Polish into school each year to deliver Polish lessons and to ensure that our pupils fill any gaps in their knowledge.
Enrichment and / or extra curricular activities
The languages department offers the following enrichment and extra-curricular activities:
• Trips to UCLAN/MMU for language enrichment events
• Year 7 ‘European Day of Languages Bake-Off’
• Weekly language support clinic (available to years 7-10)
• Breakfast revision sessions (year 11)
• Trip to Spain (2022)
Next steps (College, University, career)
What can the subject prepare me for?
Languages skills are considered invaluable by many employers. Being able to communicate in a foreign language opens doors to the wider world and not only offers pupils the possibility of living or working abroad in the future, but also allows them to develop self-confidence and awareness of other countries and cultures. Knowing a foreign language can give you the edge in a competitive world of work and can expand your horizons.
Languages skills can be used in almost all areas of work, including:
• Translation and interpreting
• Travel and tourism
• Business and finance
In addition, some university courses in a range of subjects require knowledge of a foreign language to GCSE level or above.
• www.quizlet.com (ask your MFL teacher for information about how to join your class)
• www.pearsonschools.co.uk/mflrevisionaudio (ask your teacher how to access the resources to accompany your purple revision workbook)
Edexcel GCSE French specification
Edexcel GCSE Spanish specification