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Modern Foreign Languages

Current Teaching Staff:  
Ms H Brown (Head of Department)
Miss J Boyd, Miss H Jones, Mrs P Smedley-Mathe, Mrs R Stacey, Ms J Bee

Curriculum Intent:

As a department, the aim of our curriculum is to support our students in becoming confident communicators and to develop an appreciation of other cultures. We aim to stretch and challenge our talented linguists and inspire all students to want to interact with, and be respectful of, people from all corners of the world, wherever life may take them.

We want our students to appreciate that in order to experience other countries and cultures to the fullest, speaking solely English is not ‘enough’ and being able to converse in another language seeks to increase their opportunities and fulfilment in future life.

Subsequently, our aim is to develop intrinsic motivation within our students; we want them to want to learn and develop the skills which will allow them to communicate in more than English. We also want them to ‘learn to be a linguist’, honing their understanding of their native language and supporting literacy across the school.  

Subject Overview

The intent of our curriculum is implemented through quality first teaching. Our teachers are passionate about the languages and cultures of French, German and Spanish speaking countries and their enthusiasm is contagious. This enthusiasm and strong interest, not only in the subject, but also in evidenced-informed pedagogy, has resulted in a curriculum that is inclusive, challenging and adds cultural capital from beginning to end.

At Key Stage Four, all students continue with at least one language to GCSE in recognition of the importance of a Modern Foreign Language both as part of an all-round academic education and as a life skill. Post-GCSE, students can continue with languages to A level and we are very proud of how many students use these qualifications as a springboard to studying a language or studying internationally.  

In the MFL department, we create all our own course materials which allows us not only to deliver the National Curriculum Programs of Study, and GCSE and A level specifications, but also the richness, depth and breadth which our bright and curious students need. In line with the recommendations from the 2016 pedagogy review, our curriculum is built around the core principles of knowledge of phonics, vocabulary and grammar and we choose our topic areas based on the potential both to manipulate language in a meaningful way and to expose students to the French, German and Spanish speaking worlds, and their cultures.  


Our curriculum focuses on teaching students how different people live their lives, both in Europe and more globally where French, German and Spanish are spoken. Students are taught how different cultures live and are encouraged to react thoughtfully to this through use of the target language.

The GCSE course allows us to discuss topics such as the appropriate use of technology, physical and mental health and relationships, and students are able to give their opinion on these areas sensitively.

The A-Level languages courses develop these topic areas further whilst also allowing students the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of society and culture of the countries that speak that language. For example, students learn about gender equality, LGBT+ rights, the changing role of the family and youth engagement in politics. 

British Values

Our MFL lessons reinforce tolerance and respect for others. Our subject actively and naturally promotes diversity and British values. Be it through cultural differences that promote democracy and individual liberties such as celebrations, discussing marriage to the rule of law on internet safety. We learn about customs and festivals and how they compare to British customs. We also look at how different cultures live and work. We have embedded ‘culture’ into our curriculum and take a holistic approach in teaching these core values. This is through exposure to songs, geography, food, art and history to name a few.

Many topics from Year 7 through to Y13 allow our students to consider the consequences, advantages and disadvantages of cyber bullying, environmental and social issues, marriage, internet safety and international political systems amongst other things.

Freedom of speech is promoted at all times as students debate these topics and discuss different viewpoints with respect and tolerance for one another. 


Whilst students may not be reading texts in English in their languages lessons, 25% of the GCSE grade comes from being able to show comprehension of written texts. Therefore, we complete many different activities which focus on vocabulary awareness and development (synonyms, antonyms, etymology, decoding) which support literacy and reading across the school. If students have the skills to decode unknown words using vocabulary that they do know in their own language, these are transferable to all English texts that they may encounter over the wider curriculum. Students often tell us that they learn so much about the English language through their languages lessons.  


By nature of our subject, verbal communication is key!  Oracy is built into our curriculum from the first lesson in Year 7 and can be seen being developed in classrooms day in, day out with students building their confidence with speaking in foreign languages.  The GCSE requires students to be able to communicate verbally both in formal and informal scenarios and we work on how different spoken registers operate in different languages. As we build towards the speaking exam in Year 11, we focus on the importance of confidence, clarity and intonation within spoken language, which supports their presentation skills across other areas of the school. 


We use the week that encompasses European Day of Languages as a springboard to discussing and exploring careers involving languages with KS3 classes. Further to discussing fields that use languages skills directly, we want students to appreciate that the abilities that they develop in their languages classrooms will be of great benefit to them in a range of different careers. Our curriculum allows students to become great communicators who have the confidence to present well, grammar lessons develop problem solving skills and we help students to be more self-assured when they find themselves out of their comfort zone.

One of the key themes at GCSE is ‘Future aspirations, study and work’ and we spend time looking at the world of work and how the knowledge of a language can benefit students going into the world of work. 

Character skills

In each of the languages classrooms at TGGS you will find clear evidence of the development of our character skills and self-esteem amongst our students.

Leadership and teamwork

Students spend a lot of lesson time working with each other in order to practise new language verbally. We discuss how to work together supportively. Languages subject ambassadors apply for leadership roles to represent the department at school events and this is something that will be further developed this year.

Aiming high and staying positive

We are unapologetically ambitious for what our students can achieve and are always aiming high with the content of our lessons, which often contain content traditionally taught in later years. With that in mind, our classrooms are safe spaces for making mistakes and we stay relentlessly positive when students are giving something a go for the first time (or the second or third time!)

Speaking and listening

Developing listening and speaking skills is inherent to our subject area and we do this day in, day out with our students. From the start of Year 7 we discuss strategies for being able to listen actively to target language input and how best to make yourself understood verbally.


We feel that by developing the character skills as above leads directly to a higher level of self-esteem. Being able to communicate in another language – albeit not perfectly – is no mean feat and something to be proud of and we reiterate this over and over!

Our overarching aim is to instil the confidence and resilience to go out into the world and communicate with others, and to demonstrate the sense of satisfaction that students can get from this.