Modern Foreign Languages

The Languages Department is a friendly and supportive team committed to the teaching of Languages at Icknield High School in order to equip our young people with the skills and ideology needed to live and succeed in a multicultural society. In an increasingly competitive job market our students will need to earn their place alongside highly skilled workers from abroad who all have English as a second language. We firmly believe that it is no longer acceptable or practical to be monolingual.

german-64270_640We aim to enthuse our students for languages through stimulating and challenging lessons delivered through a wide variety of teaching and learning styles. Emphasis is placed on the spoken language and building up students’ confidence to enable them to enjoy using the foreign language. We aim to develop a whole area approach to the improvement of communication, social and grammatical skills which are essential if our students are to leave Icknield High School with the confidence to manipulate the written and spoken word for their own pleasure and purpose in the future. Learning a language is an enriching experience that continues well after school.

The teachers in the Languages Department have experienced for themselves the benefits of language learning and foreign travel. We endeavour through our teaching to broaden our students’ horizons and raise their own expectations. We firmly believe that a greater understanding of other countries and cultures can breed tolerance, empathy, adaptability and consideration for others, as well as a willingness to overcome communication barriers.

Extra Curricular Activities and Community Links

German Trip / Exchange

For many years now the Languages Department has run a very successful German Trip open to students in Year 9. Icknield High School students travel by coach and ferry to Aachen and Cologne in October or December where they stay at a youth hostel, attend school and participate in a variety of cultural visits and excursions. The German students travel to Britain in the Spring Term.

French Trip / Exchange

A three-day trip is organised in April or June for all Year 8 students studying French. We have links with French schools which we maintain regularly via Videoconferencing. We also regularly host one-day exchange at Icknield High School

Europa Centre Visit for French and German

The Languages Department are running a visit to the Europa Centre in Hornchurch, Essex for students of GCSE German in Years 10 and 11. The Centre is a simulation centre for students learning Modern Foreign Languages. It is set out in the form of a village with shops, a hotel, market square, café, post office, railway station and many other facilities to simulate a visit to a foreign country.

Gifted and Talented Languages Club

Our Gifted and Talented students are encouraged to attend Languages Club on Friday lunchtimes which is run by our Foreign Language Assistants. The club offers students an opportunity to use the foreign language for variety of purposes.

Year 11 Revision Classes

The Languages Department aims to provide these either at lunchtime or after school prior to GCSE. These focus mainly on preparation and practice for the oral exam and grammar revision and are run by subject staff. Students and parents are made aware of this provision via assemblies, letters home and notices in tutor rooms.

Theatre Visits

The Languages department organises for all year groups French and German Theatre Visits to school. The actors are native speakers and communicate with students in the target language. This is a great opportunity for all students to practise their listening skills and to see French and German being used for authentic purposes.

Languages Day

Every year on 26th September the Languages Department organises Languages Day. The European Day of Languages is a Council of Europe initiative that is held annually in order to celebrate the language and cultural diversity within Europe. It aims to highlight the importance of learning languages, to increase the awareness and appreciation of all languages and to encourage lifelong language learning.

Key Stage 3

On arriving in Year 7 students have theplate-64271_640 opportunity to study a language, either French or German and from September 2013 also Spanish. The KS3 curriculum has been created and thought to enable students to develop skills and linguistic competence within a range of common topic areas. The Modern Foreign Languages team also pride themselves in helping raise the literacy skills of all students by improving the students’ understanding of their own language and transfer their knowledge to a new foreign language. Students are taught in mixed ability groups.


Students are assessed every lesson to check progress made and a formal assessment is done at the end of each unit of work. We assess different skill areas at different times (listening, speaking, reading and writing). Students’ performance in these assessments combined with their work in class and homework will be used to decide which level they are working at. In Year 7 students will quickly move from a level 1 to aim for a level 4. It is no surprise that their level will be lower than their English level as they are starting a new language from scratch. Year 8 students are aiming to achieve a level 5 and Year 9s aim to reach a level 6.

Key Stage 4 –

Students have the opportunity to continue with French or German at KS4. They follow the GCSE specification set by AQA Examination Board. Students concentrate on the four skills: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. These four skills are tested in a variety of topic areas which are taught during the GCSE course:

• Lifestyle and Social Issues
• Leisure and Holidays
• Home and Environment
• Work and Education

Students are expected to learn the new vocabulary and structures on a weekly basis in order to improve their grade and reach their full potential. Learning a new language requires a steady input of work and cannot be “revised” the night before. Students will be expected to do extra practice in their own time in order to achieve the fluency and the accuracy which is required.


All four skills will be evaluated over three years. The Reading and Listening Paper are to be completed at the end of Year 11 during the exam period, whereas the Speaking and Writing will be completed as Controlled Assessments in Year 10 and 11.

For the Listening and Reading units students can take a combination of Foundation Tier and Higher Tier units to match their abilities. However, they can only take one tier for each skill. The level at which students are entered is based on progress during the course. Speaking and Writing skills are differentiated by outcome, so no tiered entry is required for these units. Below is an outline of the course details and assessment objectives for GCSE Languages.