Modern Foreign Languages

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 and Spanish are offered at The Maynard. From September 2024, Senior School staff will teach Spanish in Reception to Year 3, French in Years 4 and 5, and a carousel of both languages in Year 6 in order for pupils to make an informed decision on their Senior School language choice.

In Upper 3 (Year 7), students choose to study either French or Spanish for one hour a week.

In Lower 4 (Year 8), to provide a greater emphasis on the spontaneous use of the language and to enable the students to have more practice in their language lessons, they continue studying the same language with an increased teaching provision of 2 hours a week to indeed encourage continuity and more regular exposure to this language. This improves the girls’ language skill as shown by considerable pedagogic research.  This is increased to 3 hours a week in Upper 4 (Year 9)

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 serve 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. 

The students are also encouraged to participate in various language competitions throughout the school, both internal and external ones, which they find both challenging and rewarding. 

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 studying French in Key Stage 3 to St Omer on the Opal Coast, France, with trips to nearby cultural attractions. Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 students studying Spanish also have the opportunity to go to Spain (Madrid, Grenada, Barcelona depending on the years) to practise their language and enjoy the culture. Such foreign visits are key to improving the students’ linguistic proficiency and cultural awareness.

Many of our linguists in the Senior School go on to take a language at A-level.


Our popular French 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.

We also have some legacy German, with the last cohort studying German beginning Upper 5 in September 2024.