Modern Foreign Languages

Aims of the Subject

The Modern Languages Department is a very popular department whose mission is to promote the learning and enjoyment of languages. We offer courses in French and Spanish and it is also possible to take a GCSE in other European languages if you are interested.

We offer A level French and Spanish and are currently working hard to make The Ilfracombe Academy the course of choice for all North Devon linguists.

We currently welcome students from all over Europe who come and study with us for various lengths of time, ranging from 3 weeks to 3 terms, thus providing our students with the opportunity to forge friendships with native speakers.

Our lessons focus on communicating through a range of interactive activities, including role play, “Active Teach” software and games.

Learning a language is an important skill as it develops memory, reasoning, logical thinking, communication and listening skills, all of which are transferable to other subjects and activities. In today’s ever-changing, technology-based global economy, employers and governments are looking for highly skilled individuals who can communicate in a variety of languages. People with these skills are often able to earn more than the average.

For many students a good GCSE languages grade opens the door to further opportunities in their chosen subject at university e.g. an Erasmus funded placement, a work experience opportunity abroad or access to overseas conferences and field work.

Finally, being able to travel abroad and meet other people and communicate with them in their own language opens up a whole new world of exciting possibilities and experiences – it can also be great fun and add to the enjoyment and thrill of travelling.

 Course Outlines

 French and Spanish

 Year 7

In Year 7 half of the students study French and half study Spanish in ability groups. Students will have experience in the four skill areas of listening comprehension, reading comprehension, speaking and writing. The topics they study include a variety of useful skills, such as telling the time, giving directions and talking about members of their family. Students will be expected to:

·         Listen carefully to distinguish new sounds

·         Learn vocabulary and spellings by heart

·         Become used to looking up words that they are not familiar with

·         Complete a number of set independent study activities over the course of the year.

Year 8

In Year 8 all students continue with either French or Spanish (the language they started in Year 7). Students will continue to develop their four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. In French the topics they study include eating out, shopping, school life abroad and how to use different tenses. In Spanish the topics they study include describing your family, your hobbies and where you live. In both languages students will be expected to:

·         Write longer sentences and work with more accuracy

·         Use a bi-lingual dictionary

·         Improve their ability to learn vocabulary and spellings by heart

·         Start to work in the Future and Past tenses as well as the Present.

·         Produce a certain number of set independent study activities over the course of the year as well as smaller activities set on a weekly basis

Year 9

Students will continue with their language laying the foundations for the GCSE course in Key Stage 4.

In Year 9, the topics include:

·         Local area, holidays and travel

·         School

·         Socialising, hobbies and family relations

 Key Stage 4

 EDEXCEL French or Spanish GCSE

Students focus on:

·         independent and spontaneous use of the spoken language

·         increased emphasis on the culture and identities of the countries and communities where the language is spoken

·         understanding how grammar works, in order to communicate effectively in writing on a range of topics

·         How to translate into English and from English into the target language

·         How to refer to past, present and future events

 The Edexcel GCSE consists of 4 exams at the end of Year 11:

· Listening: understand and respond to different types of spoken language (25%).

·         Speaking: communicate and interact in speech (25%).

·         Reading: understand and respond to different types of written language (25%).

·         Writing: communicate in writing (25%).


Key Stage 5

EDEXCEL A-Level in French or Spanish

If you enjoy meeting and talking to people from other countries, finding out about their cultures and developing your knowledge of how language works, then studying Spanish or French at A level is for you.

We follow the Edexcel examination board for A level courses. Students work towards exams in listening, speaking, reading and writing.

The courses cover a wide range of topics:

·         Evolving society in Spain/France

·         Artistic culture in Spanish or French speaking countries

·         Immigration and multiculturalism in Spain/France

·         Aspects of political culture such as the Occupation and Resistance in France, and Franco’s dictatorship and the transition to democracy in Spain

·         Students will also study Spanish or French films and books.

The A level exams in Spanish or French consist of two externally-examined papers assessing Listening, Reading and Writing and a speaking assessment.

Paper 1: Listening, reading and translation (2 hours), 40% of the qualification

Paper 2: Writing and translation (2 hours and 40 minutes), 30% of the qualification

Paper 3: Speaking assessment, 30% of the qualification

Students complete two tasks. Task 1 is worth 30 marks and Task 2 is worth 42 marks.

·         Task 1 (discussion on a Theme)

Students discuss one theme from the specification based on a stimulus containing two different statements.

·Task 2, Part 1 (independent research presentation)

·         Students present a summary of at least two of the written sources they have used for their research and give a personal response to what they have read.

·         Task 2, Part 2 (discussion on independent research)

·         Students answer questions on their presentation and then have a wider discussion on their research.


 Extra-curricular activities and Visits Abroad

·         Year 7 International Carol Concert

·         Year 8 Languages and Careers Enrichment Day

·         Year 9 Participation in Regional Speaking Competitions

·         Year 10 Visit to Spain / France

·         Year 12 Visit to Spain / France

Upcoming extra-curricular visits and activities:  

·         Year 7 ‘My Future in Languages’ cross-curricular day

·         Year 8 European Project (runs for 2 years with selected students)

·         Year 9 ‘You are Hired’ competition

·         Year 10 Exchange / Residential visits to France and Spain

·         Year 10 French academic catch up club

·         Year 11 Spanish getting ready for GCSE club


For more information please contact the Head of Department:

Jose Hernandez Garcia


Content updated September 2018