Spanish is spoken by around 400 million people and is fast becoming one of the most spoken languages in the world. Experts predict that during the next century Spanish will overtake English as the most widely used language in the USA. Spain remains the UK’s favourite holiday destination. What other modern foreign language could be more useful to young people equipping themselves for their future?
Through the study of Spanish our pupils gain an insight into another culture and develop an appreciation of cultural variety. They develop the confidence to express their ideas, in a wider variety of social situations, as they gather vocabulary and master grammatical structures. Pupils have access to some of the highlights of Spanish-speaking culture such as Latino American cinema or the magic realism of Latino American literature. They learn communication and analytical skills that are required or highly desirable across a broad spectrum of career paths. Our department is highly successful in equipping pupils to succeed in Spanish; in 2012 100% of our A Level students gained A or A*.
“Spanish Day was a huge success – action-packed great fun!” Year 7 pupil
Spanish is a phonetic language making spelling and pronunciation easy to learn. In Year 7 pupils study the topics of Family, School, Free Time and the Local Area and learn the concepts of gender, word order, using the present tense, expressing simple opinions and talking about the future. At the Year 7 Spanish Day pupils are involved in salsa and merengue workshops and activities that include tapas tasting. In Year 8 pupils learn the past tense and use the topics of Food, Holidays, Health and Clothes in order to develop greater complexity of expression through the use of connectives and new structures.
“The dancing in the morning was certainly different to anything I have ever done but so much fun!” Year 7 boy
In Year 9 pupils continue to build up core knowledge with the imperfect, future and conditional tenses. They study various topics in order to broaden their vocabulary and assessment begins preparing pupils for the demands of GCSE. From Year 10 they are expected to speak and write at length on topics both familiar and new to them. We work hard to boost their confidence and oral fluency. In Year 9 or 10 pupils are given the opportunity to travel to the Cantabria region of Spain; this trip allows pupils to attend language lessons and practise their skills as well as to experience the culture and Spanish way of life first hand through trips to the Picos de Europa and Guggenheim museum.
“The short time you spent there really brought the language and the culture alive for our daughter.” Parent
At A Level the department works to support students as they move towards
more abstract and discursive use of language. They are encouraged to
develop their ability to construct and sustain an argument and support
that with evidence. In Year 13, recent topics studied have included the
films of Guillermo Del Toro and Garcia Marquez’s novel “Cronica De Una
Muerte Anunciada”. A language trip to Salamanca runs during the autumn
term. Ultimately students sit their exams with detailed knowledge of both
the language and culture and the confidence to express themselves with
conviction as shown in the department’s highly successful exam results. We follow the Edexcel exam board at A Level.