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Foreign Languages

Course description 

At Fakenham Academy, we offer both French and Spanish languages at KS3 and KS4. We aim at opening our students to the ever changing French and Spanish speaking cultures and issues in order to develop their curiosity and deepen their understanding of the modern world.

Whilst learning a foreign language, students will be taught how to express themselves orally and in writing, as well as understanding and responding to the spoken and written language.

Following recent changes in the MFL curriculum and assessments, culture is now a key part of languages at KS3 and KS4 and this is why there are more songs, poems, stories and letters in languages lessons to develop students’ awareness of literary texts as well as allowing students to express their individual creativity.

There is also a greater emphasis on translations to develop students spelling and grammatical accuracy.

In order to help all students to be more independent learners and develop their languages skills, the academy supports the learning of all students by subscribing annually to key websites or languages programmes such as Kerboodle and Linguascope, where students have access to a variety of activities and assessments to further develop their languages skills. We also use websites/apps such as Duolinguo, quizlet and memrise.

All languages classes are mixed ability.

Key Stage 3 

At KS3, all students are taught French in year 7,8,9 and are also taught a crash course in Spanish in year 9, allowing all students to be able to consider both languages for GCSE if they so wish.

Students are taught core grammar and vocabulary, where they learn how to express their points of view as well as justifying them. They are also taught the present, past and future tenses and key grammatical structures. Students are encouraged to manipulate and use them in different contexts in the four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students are routinely expected to use accurate grammar, spelling and punctuation and their pronunciation is further developed by their native speaker teachers. The English literacy principles are reinforced by the MFL regular use of grammatical terms. Each unit is formally assessed by end of unit tests in the four skills.

A yearly Spanish exchange is offered to reinforce students ability and confidence with our counterpart school in Madrid. There is also a KS3 weekly after-school French club as well as a half termly French film club to support students in their learning of both languages. Furthermore, in order to make students aware of the importance of languages in their future life and career opportunities, several Yr9 students are selected to attend an Outreach trip to Cambridge in January, where they are taught different languages such as Arabic or Portuguese. The rest of the day is spent looking at the importance of the French and Spanish languages in Africa and Latin America as well as the positive impact on university applications of having a language GCSE as one of their options. A further Outreach trip to the UEA occurs in June, where students are introduced to the Japanese culture.

We also actively involve primary school students in the life of languages at the Academy early on and KS4 students are selected to visit Fakenham Junior school in December to teach a typical French Christmas song to the primary school students. This link is further developed in the Spring when some yr6 come to the Academy to have a “French Experience Day” to help them build their confidence about learning French in yr7. 

Key Stage 4 

Due to the changes in the AQA specifications for MFL, both languages will follow 2 different GCSE specifications for 2016-7.

Year 11, 2016-7

Both French and Spanish students of the 2017 class will complete the specification they started in year 10. They will continue to be assessed through half-termly controlled assessments, either in writing or speaking skills, as well as completing half-termly past papers as exam practise for the listening and reading skills. The topics studied for these are:

  • describing myself, my family and my friends
  • my free-time
  • where I live
  • Festivals
  • School
  • Jobs
  • Tourism
  • Lifestyle
  • Environment

Year 10, 2016 onwards

Students beginning Year 10 in September 2016 will be studying the new AQA GCSE specification in both languages. This is a linear exam, which means that students are no longer assessed through controlled assessments but through one exam for each skill area of listening, speaking, reading and writing.

The new course is based on 3 themes:

  • Identity and culture (me, my family and friends, technology in everyday life, free-time activities, customs and festivals)
  • Local, national, international and global areas of interest (home town, neighbourhood and region/social issues/global issues/ travel and tourism)
  • Current and future study and employment (my studies, life at school and college, education post-16/job, career choices and ambition)

There are regular assessments in:

  • Reading and listening
  • Writing and translation
  • Speaking

To further support our students, Spanish students are offered to take part in the Spanish exchange. There is also a KS4 after school French Club and an email exchange with a school in the Ariège.

Some yr 11 students are also identified for a week of French and/or Spanish morning intervention. 

We actively involve primary school students in the life of languages at the Academy early on and KS4 students are selected to visit Fakenham Junior school in December to teach a typical French Christmas song to the primary school students. This link is further developed in the Spring when some yr6 come to the Academy to have a “French Experience Day” to help them build their confidence about learning French in yr7.