A language at GCSE is compulsory for the majority of students in Key Stage 4. Lessons are taught where possible in ability groups in order to give the most able the maximum chance to excel and to offer greater reinforcement to those requiring it. The curriculum maps below show the range of topics and grammar studied in KS4.Our students’ results are all the more exceptional as unlike most schools, we have a policy of entering the vast majority of our students for a GCSE in a Modern Foreign Language. In 2019, we celebrated out best results yet with 87% of students achieving a grade 4 - 9 and 93% in German.
In both French and German, we use the AQA Higher/Foundational coursebooks.
Each student has access to interactive resources via Kerboodle, a blended online resource which is complements the AQA textbooks.
Kerboodle offers access to all of the listening exercises, worksheets, online topic-specific word banks, interactive and non-interactive grammar exercises as well as an audio record tool for speaking practice. Included in Kerboodle is access to an e-book of the AQA ones used in class.
We also encourage students to participate in trips to countries where their chosen language is spoken. We maintain links with partner schools and have run several successful trips abroad.
Course content Year 10
Identity and culture: Me, my family and friends, technology in everyday life, free-time activities, customs and festivals in French/German speaking countries/communities
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/college, education post-16, career choices and ambitions.
Course content Year 11
• Healthy and unhealthy lifestyles and their consequences
Relationships and Choices:
• Relationships with family and friends
• Future plans regarding: marriage/partnership
• Social issues and equality
||Free Time and the Media:
• Free time activities
• Shopping, money, fashion and trends
• Advantages and disadvantages of new technology
• Plans, preferences, experiences
• What to see and getting around
|Home and Environment
||Home and Local Area:
• Special occasions celebrated in the home
• Home, town, neighbourhood and region, where it is and what it is like
• Current problems facing the planet
• Being environmentally friendly within the home and local area
|Work and Education:
||School/College and Future Plans:
• What school/college is like
• Pressures and problems
Current and Future Jobs:
• Looking for and getting a job
• Advantages and disadvantages of different jobs
GCSE languages have a Foundation Tier (grades 1 – 5) and a Higher Tier (grades 4 – 9).
Students are entered for all papers in either Higher Tier or Foundation Tier. Unlike in previous years, a combination of tiers is no longer permitted.
The exam is worth 50 marks at Foundation Tier and 60 marks at Higher Tier.
Unit 1 – Listening 25%
Students are required to listen to a series of recorded passages of French and to answer questions non-verbally, in English and in French related to that information.
Exam length: 35 minutes Foundation Tier and 45 minutes Higher Tier. Each exam includes five minutes to read the question paper before the listening is played. The exam is worth 40 marks at Foundation Tier at 50 marks at Higher Tier.
Unit 2 – Speaking 25%
Students are required to respond to a photo card and role-play stimulus material as well as hold a conversation in French.
- Role-play card (15 marks): 2 minutes at Foundation Tier; 2 minutes at Higher Tier
- Photo card (15 marks): 2 minutes at Foundation Tier; 3 minutes at Higher Tier
- Conversation (30 marks): 3-5 minutes at Foundation Tier; 5-7 minutes at Higher Tier
Unit 3 – Reading 25%
Students are required to read and respond to different types of written language. Questions are non-verbal, in English and in French. There is also a translation task from French into English (a minimum of 35 words for Foundation Tier and 50 words for Higher Tier).
Exam length: 45 minutes (Foundation Tier); 1 hour (Higher Tier). The exam is worth 60 marks for each of Foundation and Higher Tier.
Unit 4 – Writing 25%
Students are required to communicate in writing for a variety of purposes. For the Foundation Tier this includes a list task, a message, translation from English into French and a structured writing task. For the Higher Tier, there is a structured writing task, an open-ended writing task and a translation from English into French.
Exam length: 1 hour (Foundation Tier); 1 hour 15 minutes (Higher Tier).
Homework requirements during each term
Homework is set at least once a week, usually due in the next lesson. The nature of the task can vary from a reading exercise to a vocabulary learning task or a piece of written work. Students may also be asked to complete exercises on the ‘Kerboodle’ interactive learning website which works alongside the course book.
Students are regularly informally assessed on their progress and achievement in four skills; listening, speaking, reading & writing.