Why study a language?

“The limits of my language are the limits of my world”

If we were to adopt a motto for the department, it would most certainly be the above. This sums up the message that we try to convey to our students when they visit our department.

As well as promoting the study of languages, the Language Department at Abbs Cross also aims to teach the importance and benefits of having multi-lingual skills in today’s world, whether at home or abroad.

When you learn another language, you are able to get a real cultural insight and understanding.

In today’s global economy, knowing another language really gives you a competitive edge when applying for a job.

Educational research shows that results in English and Maths are higher for students who study a foreign language.

We want to encourage our students to widen their horizons through language learning and overseas travel, to become global thinkers and help them understand their important role as citizens in an international, multi-lingual world.

We hope that through language study, students will develop a deeper understanding of other cultures and how other people think.

The subjects are delivered by specialists with four members of the department. The focus of the Modern Foreign Languages team is to develop the ability of our students to communicate successfully and effectively in the target language. We also put great emphasis on independent learning and achieving excellence; therefore, it is the ability of students to express themselves linguistically, resorting to different methods, which will be assessed in all parts of the
course and eventually at GCSE.

Aims and Ethos

  • To encourage and develop the ability the use of target language
    effectively for communication.
  • To promote active learning with both students and teachers in
    roles, acting out real life situations relevant to both age and interests
    of students.
  • To develop language genuinely needed to perform any task; offering
    an insight into the culture and civilization of the target language
  • To provide enjoyment and to stimulate awareness of languages.
  • To encourage positive attitudes to foreigners and foreign languages
    as well as respect and understanding of foreign culture and civilization
    to counteract prejudice.
  • To enable learners to communicate effectively in everyday
    situations involving either foreign visitors in this country or themselves
    visiting a foreign country.
  • To make a provision for trips abroad in the early stages of
  • To provide students with enough opportunities to experience
    success, enjoyment and feeling of acquiring a sound and satisfactory
    linguistic knowledge.

Linguistic Objectives

Our intention is to provide carefully structured activities and appropriate authentic material designed for both foundation and higher level of achievement in all Attainment Targets. We aim to offer a balanced variety of work and material allowing students to move with enthusiasm from comprehension to creation of their own utterances and written work in the target language. Thus, in all lessons, we aim to cater for all the abilities through the planning of activities which are aimed to suit students’ different learning styles and develop the four auricular skills.

Schemes of Work are regularly reviewed and are designed to include curricular and cross-curricular developments, in order to improve students’ language-learning skills and to provide them with strategies which aim to boost their performance. Literacy and Numeracy, as well as PSCHE orientations, are fundamental parts of our Schemes of Work as are regular activities developing strategies to improve listening and reading. Activities which require students to apply logic and make connections, activities to develop anticipation skills in exam contexts and ongoing opportunities for pair work and regular peer assessment are built in to every stage of learning.

French is taught to all students and Russian is currently taught in year 11.

Support for your learning

In order to support even further the pupils’ learning, the following extra-curricular activities are offered in our Department: Homework club: you can get help with your MFL homework at lunchtimes.

Outside the classroom

Revision Sessions
Year 11 intervention sessions for French, Italian and Russian run at lunchtimes and after school in the MFL area. Students can have extra practice of exam tasks or can have support and practice of grammatical and topic based material. Students can also benefit from smaller group preparation of speaking tasks.

The department is active in promoting trips abroad. The opportunity to practise a language in an authentic situation cannot be beaten. Trips are offered to France (KS3 and 4) and to Russia (KS4).

Moscow & St.Petersburg
This annual trip for KS4 students takes place in February half-term. Students fly to Moscow to spend three nights in the Russian capital visiting sights such as Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral, Kremlin, Lenin’s Mausoleum and Kolomenskoye. Students stay in a centrally located hotel and there is much opportunity to practise Russian language skills in the Russian capital. The trip then departs on the overnight train to St. Petersburg. This journey lasts approximately 9 hours and is always an interesting experience. In St. Petersburg there is another cultural programme which has included visits to the Winter Palace, Nevski Prospekt, Peter and Paul Fortress, a Russian school, Piskarevskoye War Memorial and Pushkin Summer Palace. Students have also taken the opportunity to attend a ballet at the Marinsky Theatre and the folklore evening is always a huge success. The group stays in a centrally located hotel opposite the Alexander Nevski Lavra with the tombs of Tchaikovski and Mussorgsky amongst others.


Useful Websites

French News Site Le Mensuel – http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/french/news/

GCSE Revision: BBC Bite Size French – http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/french/

BBC Languages – www.bbc.co.uk/languages

French Grammar and Practice; Real French – http://www.realfrench.net/

French Grammar and Practice: About French – http://french.about.com/

French Grammar and Practice – www.alliancefrancaise.org.uk

French Vocabulary website: www.languagesonline.org.uk

Vocabulary website: www.wordreference.com

Exam board website: www.edexcel.org

Vocabulary website: www.memrise.com

Vocabulary practice – http://atschool.eduweb.co.uk

Vocabulary practice: www.quizlet.com