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Hi! Welcome to the Languages Department! At Notre Dame, we are proud to be a Language College which means we are lucky enough to have 9 teachers and 3 Language Assistants, who help us in lessons and run after-school clubs.

Amongst our school community we speak many different languages and students in our department study French, Spanish, German and Portuguese. Native speakers can also sit exams in Polish , Italian and Russian.

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Section A: AIMS

We aim to enable pupils to:

  • Develop the ability to understand and use the foreign language effectively for the purposes of practical communication.

  • Develop the ability to use the language both imaginatively and creatively and to understand the language used both imaginatively and creatively.

  • Develop an understanding of the grammar of the foreign language.

  • Offer insights into the culture and civilisation of the countries and communities that speak the foreign

  • Encourage positive attitudes to foreign language learning and to speakers of foreign languages and a positive approach to other cultures and civilisations.

  • Develop students’ understanding of their own language and culture.

  • Provide enjoyment and intellectual stimulation. 

  • Form a sound base of skills, language and attitude required for further study, work and leisure.

  • Promote skills, which have a wider application such as information technology, and learning skills (eg analysis, memorising, drawing inference).

Further, we aim to develop in our students:

A   The ability to communicate freely and confidently in a foreign language: eg

  • To make contact with fellow human-beings and make oneself understood

  • To be prepared to go into any situation and start a conversation in whatever way one can manage

  • To talk about one’s interests

  • To be willing and able to cope with everyday matters in another culture, eg restaurant, hotel, etc.

B   The ability to listen and to understand a language as spoken by a native speaker, both in detailed and gist comprehension: eg

  • To make contact and be able to understand the message being communicated

  • To be prepared to listen to others, thereby understanding alternative points of view

  • To break down codes and learn new codes, organising strings of information to be represented at a later stage in one’s own reply using the learned code

C     The ability to understand written messages in a foreign language eg

  • To familiarise oneself with the written symbols of another communication system

  • To distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information

  • To understand information being communicated in letters, stories, advertisements, magazines, newspapers etc.

  • To read and understand the literature of another culture (dependent upon the level of ability and material)

D   The ability to write simple but clear messages in the foreign language using a variety of tenses where applicable: eg

  • To learn new patterns and codes, and organise them into comprehensible written messages

  • To learn the discipline and accuracy of language, one’s own and that of others, thereby increasing one’s feel for language in general and shedding light on the mother tongue

  • To store information to be presented systematically at a later date

  • To increase skills of literacy

  • To seek and convey information, report and express ideas and feelings in various modes, including personal and analytical writing

In addition to the above, we aim to foster:

  1. a) Organisational skills

Pupils are expected to attend lessons with the proper equipment, make good use of oral practice times and meet deadlines.

  1. b) Study skills through learning by heart and managing their work load.

  2. c) Co-operation and respect for others through collaborative learning (eg pair and group work)

  3. d) Positive attitudes towards speakers of foreign languages and sympathetic approach to other cultures

We endeavour to make language learning a positive experience, to offer enjoyment and a sense of achievement to pupils. We help to deliver the mission and objectives of the school through:

  • Developing pupils’ confidence

  • Providing an atmosphere in which all members are valued as individuals and recognising each pupil’s contribution

  • Recognising each pupil’s contribution


  1. Outline of courses


The school has a 5-form entry.

All pupils entering the school start the study of French and either German or Spanish (both languages alternate each year).  They have 3 lessons per week for French in years 7 and 9 and 2 lessons in Year 8. For German and Spanish they have 2 lessons per week in Years 7 and 9 and 3 lessons per week in year 8.


The study of at least one foreign language is undertaken by all pupils, and all pupils are entered for the GCSE examination in at least one language. 

We believe this to be an essential part of our students’ curriculum and it is our policy not to disapply students.


Speakers of French, Spanish and Portuguese have the possibility to be entered early for GCSE and complete AS in year 11.

This will depend on their ability and the level of proficiency in such language.

Teaching Skills

Year 7 is taught in form groups in the year 7 Block.

Year 8 and 9 are taught in sets in 5 different groups depending on levels of ability. Some SEN students with severe learning difficulties might not do a second language. 

The number of teaching groups in each language in Years 10 and 11 will depend on the number of students opting to continue that language to GCSE.  Given a year group of 125, we would expect 4/5 MFL teaching groups in the core language (French) and 3 groups in the second language. The core language is taught in sets depending on their end of Year 9 levels. The second language (German/Spanish) might be taught in groups of mixed ability. 

It is very important to encourage students to take more than one language for GCSE. We aim at least 35% of year 9 students choosing to do French and German/Spanish/Portuguese/Italian.

Extra Provision

  • We have introduced Latin to year 7 Fast track classes after the success of GCSE results in 2016.

  • The Language assistants will offer after school clubs for KS3 and KS4 French, German and Spanish.

  • All members of the department will deliver intervention sessions for Year 11 students underachieving in MFL.


The department is staffed by 9 well-qualified language specialists, a classroom assistant and also benefits from the services of foreign language assistants on a yearly basis.

Ms Santana – Head of Department – Spanish, French and Latin.             MS

Ms Jukwey – Assistant Head teacher – French                                                   OJ

Ms Barra – EAL Coordinator – French, Spanish and Portuguese               IB

Ms Bhira – MAC Students – French and Spanish                                                SB

Mr Hornby – British values – French, Spanish and Italian                           MHO

Mrs Hrouda – Head of Year 9 – French and German                                       SH

Ms Borundel - French and German                                                                           MIB

Mrs Lafferty – Head of Year 7 - French and German                                        SL

MS Linter – Spanish and German                                                                                 JL


Teacher assistant

Ms Stockdale – classroom assistant and French AS support
Language assistants arrive in October and leave at the end of May.

European Languages day 2017


Tlaxcala University