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 Pre-Prep and Junior school with pupils starting basic lessons in the Reception class. 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).
Students continue with French in Upper 3 (Year 7) and are also able to choose their second foreign language, both of which they study until the end of Lower 4 (Year 8).
At the beginning of Upper 4 (Year 9) students usually choose one language to focus on, enabling them to build their confidence and strength in this subject and providing a good grounding for the GCSE syllabus. It is not compulsory to study a Modern Language at GCSE, although we do recommend it for most of our students; some girls choose to pursue two languages.
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 Upper 3 and Lower 4 (Years 7 and 8) to St Omer and in Upper 4 (Year 9) and above to La Rochelle, where trips to nearby cultural attractions complement the morning’s language lessons. The longstanding German exchange to Hildesheim is similarly successful and has forged many friendships, while Spanish students have the opportunity to travel to Salamanca. 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.