We believe that language learning is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences that life can offer. Modern Languages prepare you for modern life.
French, German and Spanish are offered at The Maynard. French is the main language in the Junior school. Our ‘Language Circus’ in Year 6 continues to be popular and gives the girls a firm footing derived from one term of each language to feel ready to choose in Upper 3 (Year 7).
Girls, therefore, continue with French in Upper 3 (Year 7) but are able to choose their second foreign language, both of which they study until the end of Lower 4 (Year 8).
To then focus fully on their GCSE language and its demanding content, our girls choose which to pursue – the option of carrying both is available and recommended – at the beginning of Upper 4 (Year 9) and are getting stronger, more elaborate and confident on their chosen language.
At GCSE, girls are free to choose whichever language they prefer and some choose to pursue two.
The department makes full use of all available techniques and strategies to give the students confidence in using their language knowledge in the classroom situation. The use of the latest software and audio-visual technology all serves to enhance motivation and confidence. Wherever possible, the onus is on real communication: girls produce work that is to be read by girls of their age in other countries. Our partnerships with Scharnhorst Gymnasium in Hildesheim have been key to our successful bid for International Schools status, awarded by the British Council.
Time spent abroad is of great value to students, giving them the opportunity to put their knowledge to use in truly authentic situations. We regularly take large numbers of girls in year 7 and 8 to St Omer and in year 9 and above to La Rochelle, where trips to nearby cultural attractions complement the morning’s language lessons. The Spanish study trip to Salamanca during the October half-term, where girls attend lessons in the morning, is also an excellent event. The longstanding German exchange to Hildesheim is similarly successful and has forged many friendships. Such foreign visits are key to improving the students’ linguistic proficiency and cultural awareness.
Our popular French, German and Spanish GCSE courses follow the AQA specification. Learning a Modern Language at GCSE will develop each student’s ability to understand and use the language effectively for practical communication in a wide variety of everyday situations. The subject also promotes skills which have a wider application such as analysis, drawing inferences and memorising. Students will develop a good understanding of grammar and gain insights into other cultures.