"It is arrogant to assume that we can get by in English or that everyone else will speak our language. Learning a foreign language is polite, demonstrates commitment - and in today's world is absolutely necessary."
Sir Trevor McDonald.
Modern Foreign Languages
Language learning is at the very heart of our school. We, the staff of the The Aylesbury Vale Academy MFL department, strongly believe that every young person should be given the opportunity to acquire a foreign language. Languages are part of the cultural richness of our society and the world in which we live and work. Learning languages contributes to a mutual understanding, a sense of global citizenship and personal fulfilment. Students learn to appreciate different countries, cultures, communities and people. By making comparisons they gain insight into their own culture and societies whilst understanding that communicating in another language is a lifelong skill for education, employment and leisure in this county and throughout the world. Our successful department consists of enthusiastic staff, whose aim it is to endow our young linguists with a passion for language learning.
Spanish and French are taught as part of the core curriculum and all students learn both languages from KS2. Spanish currently is offered at GCSE level, and budding linguists furthermore can acquire advanced language skills at A level.
As we are now introducing French to our core curriculum, this will be offered at GCSE level from the academic year 2021/2022.
We also guide our Portuguese, Cantonese, Mandarin, Russian, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Turkish, Arabic, Greek and Dutch speaking students, who might want to add a native speaker qualification to their portfolio, towards taking the GCSE and A Level exams in their respective languages.
Our lessons focus on the action orientated and communicative aspects of language in every-day situations, while at the same time they provide our learners with a sound grounding in grammar and language. The building of confidence through interactive language learning activities is vital for students to develop their skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Moreover, we lay emphasis on cultural awareness by organising cross-curricular and language immersion trips to Spain.
Curriculum Leader: Miss A Felipe-Ruiz
"I graduated from the University of Granada, Spain, with a degree in Translation and Interpreting in 2016. After working as a Spanish Teaching Assistant at Scripps College in the US for a year, I decided to pursue a career in teaching and completed my MA in Education. As part of this program, I did two internships: one at a secondary school in Spain and another one at Ilkley Grammar School, in Yorkshire. I’ve also been working for Middlebury Interactive Languages and IES Abroad as a Residential Educator, Peer Advisor and grammar teacher for the last 3 years, where I’ve shaped myself into helping people immerse themselves in the fantastic experience of learning and living a new language and culture. What I enjoy the most about teaching Spanish is building a bridge between different cultures in a world where cultural exchanges are so frequent and valuable."
Teacher of MFL: Miss S Camacho
"Being from a little town in South Spain, I started to learn English at an early age with the hope of travelling around the world and living abroad. Learning English as a foreign language allowed me to travel and to discover other people and cultures and to understand the world with a different perspective.
I did my studies in Seville, where I graduated from the University Pablo de Olavide with a degree in Humanities and, later, I graduated from the University of Seville with a master's degree in teaching Secondary and Further Education. I moved to Madrid where I did a master’s degree in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language and a year after I moved to the UK where I started my professional career as a Spanish Teacher.
During those years I also studied French together with my degree and later I got the DELF-B2 certification, providing me with the power of speaking three of the most spoken languages around the world: Spanish, English and French.
Learning languages really changed my life, making it more exciting. My aim to become a Language Teacher is to transmit that passion and to help other people to see the world from a different perspective."
Teacher of MFL: Mrs M Stephenson
Teacher of MFL: Mrs S Laidain
KEY STAGE 3
Students studying at Key Stage 3, Year 7 and Year 8, have the opportunity of learning two languages: Spanish, two lessons per week, and French, one lesson per week. In both languages students will develop listening, reading, writing and speaking skills.
The main focus on KS3 is for students to learn essential vocabulary and the basic grammar structures that will help them to communicate in real situations in French and Spanish.
Students are assessed at the end of every topic. This will take place in the classroom with teacher guidance and revision at home with supported materials. In addition, in order to improve their vocabulary a 20 words vocabulary test is done every week about the words they have learnt.
When students are at home it is essential that they engage in activities which will increase their vocabulary and awareness of the language and culture. This should include completing their homework; they can also use Memrise or Quizlet to practise key vocabulary and access on line activities from Hot Potatoes.
Students in year 7 will study the following topics: personal information, physical appearance, personality, family, friends, animals, school, local area, home, lifestyle, sports and leisure, among others, divided in the following units:
Spanish – Español
- Me presento
- Mi burbuja
- Mis pasatiempos
- Mi casa
- En mi ciudad
- Mi insti
French – Français
- Tout sur moi
- Mon monde perso
- Autour de moi
- A table
- Mon quartier
- Ça, c’est mon truc
- Destination vacances
- Bouger, c’est important!
- Aux quatre coins du monde
Students will build on their skills from year 7; for example students will start to study more difficult concepts of grammar such as three different tenses (past, present and future) their usage together, the use of comparatives, how to order food, how to accept and reject invitations, asking for directions and how to describe outfits.
Students in year 8 will study the following topics: French and Spanish speaking countries and traditions, Technology, issues of teenagers, food, transports and holidays, entertainment and advertising, jobs and ambitions divided in the following units:
Spanish – Español
- Mi dieta y salud
- Por fin de vacaciones
- Aquí mando yo
- Adictos a la moda
- Yo y mi mundo
- De paseo por el mundo hispánico
French – Français
- C’est quoi, la France?
- Le monde des médias
- Accro à la technologie
- Etre ado, c’est quoi?
- En pleine forme!
- Autour du monde
- Chez moi, ça veut dire quoi?
- Un métier, un rêve!
KEY STAGE 4
Students at Key Stage 4, Years 9, 10 and 11, will be starting the new AQA GCSE specification which is divided into 3 themes:
Theme 1 - Identity and culture
- Me, my family and friends
- Technology in everyday life
- Free time activities
- Customs and festivals
Theme 2 - Local, national and global areas of interest
- Home, town and neighbourhood
- Social issues
- Global issues
- Travel and tourism
Theme 3 - Current and future study and employment
- My studies
- Life at school and college
- Education post -16
- Jobs careers and ambitions
Students are assessed on 4 key skills which are each worth 25% in a final exam at the end of year 11: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. The aim of the course is to enable students of all abilities to develop their Spanish and French language skills to their full potential, equipping them with the knowledge to communicate in a variety of contexts with confidence.
Students will be assessed on a regular basis within the topic to monitor student progress – usually practise exam questions so that students can practise their technique and time management skills. At the end of Year 11 students will have completed 4 external exams:
- Paper 1 – Listening – written exam lasting 45 minutes
- Paper 2 – Speaking – a non-exam assessment which is recorded by the teacher and submitted to the exam board.
- Paper 3 – Reading – written exam lasting 1 hour
- Paper 4 – Writing – written exam lasting 1 hour 15 mins
When students are at home it is essential that they engage in activities which will increase their vocabulary and awareness of the language and culture this includes completing their homework but they can also use Memorise and Quizlet to practise key vocabulary and access online activities from http://www.languagesonline.org.uk/Hotpotatoes/Index.htm.