We are incredibly proud of the multilingual and cultural diversity that exist at Churchfields Academy. In the Modern Languages Faculty we aim to build strong and lasting bridges of understanding between our own vibrant and diverse culture, and those that we can explore through our study of languages and beyond.
Today, the study of a foreign language is absolutely key to developing a rounded sense of self and instrumental in the academic and pastoral development of all students. Languages are now an integral part of the Primary curriculum and are being taught throughout KS2 and creating inquisitive young linguists, we are building on this great start and enabling students to exceed their potential in KS3 and further on at KS4. French and Spanish are global languages with growing importance on the world stage and therefore here too, in the classroom in Swindon. Students with languages can get into university more easily and build a portfolio of skills that will benefit them long after they have left the school gates for the last time.
Now that it is a requirement for Primary Schools to offer a language, more and more students are arriving at Churchfields with some languages experience. All students are assessed in their first term and whether or not they have studied a language before, learning is tailored within the scheme of work to ensure all students can reach and exceed their potential.
KS3 runs over 2 years in Year 7 and Year 8. Students will study Spanish for three hours per week. We have increased our allocation from two to three hours in order to allow for the increased demands presented by the new style GCSE MFL exams. During these years many useful and engaging topics are covered and students are introduced to the building blocks of grammar, expression and understanding, basic translation and transcription and learning to communicate in three timeframes in a number of different contexts.
We also offer residential and day trips abroad in order to offer students first hand experiences of the country that they are studying which can motivate and inspire. This allows students to communicate using their fledgling language skills in a real context
Our staff are all committed to maintaining the highest standards of teaching and learning. We have all been bitten by the language bug and our enthusiasm for languages bubbles away under the surface of every lesson.Each year we have a Spanish speaking foreign language assistant to help with speaking lessons across KS3 and at GCSE level.
We have a variety of different expertise and these are employed to good effect as we strive to ensure that students enjoy their lessons and achieve beyond their expectations at GCSE. We hope that you will support us in our goal to ensure that all students get equal access to these opportunities in all lessons across the key stages, and out of school with homework – which is set on Show My Home Work each week and can be accessed via the App. Please contact your class teacher via email if you need to have your PIN resent to allow access for you or your son/daughter.
Once students have selected which language(s) they will be doing, we follow the AQA GCSE course at KS4 and build upon the valuable work done in the previous years over KS2 and KS3. Learning languages at GCSE level is about peeking through the key hole of fluency and creating solid foundations for future study at A’Level. A GCSE will allow for adequate conversational communication when in a foreign land, getting around and fed and watered – and would be the perfect springboard for independent language study in a different country to hone the language skills you have gained.
Students will sit two formal GCSE speaking exams in year 10 and two formal writing exams in year 11. These count as 60% of the entire course and can make an critical difference in the final outcome. The exams in the summer of year 11 are listening and reading tests which gauge the breadth and depth of vocabulary knowledge of each student and count for 40% of the final grade.
We use every opportunity to offer interesting and stimulating lessons steeped in culture, music and film to deliver the complex and detailed curriculum at KS4. In the MFL classroom, regular vocab tests and opportunities to work and assess creatively in groups, pairs and as individuals offer the perfect learning environment in which every learner may thrive. This is a fascinating and challenging choice of option that requires total commitment and could change your life forever.
Students currently in year 9 and all new cohorts beyond will be studying the new GCSE for Modern Foreign Languages. This new exam does not have any course work and will be examined at the end of the course.
Every student will sit 4 exams at the end of the course: the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing will be tested. The new requirements mean that there will be elements of literature and translation included and that there will be a slightly longer speaking exam. There will still be the opportunity to opt for higher or foundation – though students will now have to enter for the desired tier in all elements of the MFL exam.
In the MFL department at Churchfields we are lucky enough to enjoy access to our own ICT suite where we can continue the work done in the classroom and give students the opportunity to work independently. All students can have access to these facilities after school in Homework Club and The Learning Zone which are offered on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons after school.
Video Cameras and voice recording devices allow for instant and continuous feedback from teachers and peers and keep fun records of some of the more creative lessons in MFL such as film reviews and News items and restaurant visits. We also incorporate the use of the library into our lessons, where we are lucky enough to have some iPads available.