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Modern Languages

Modern Languages at Key Stage 3
Year 8

In year 8 pupils have the opportunity to study both French and Spanish.   Each class will have two lessons of each language timetabled per week.

The focus in year 8 is to equip pupils with essential language skills in order to get by if they are on holiday in any country where the languages are spoken.

The topics covered are:


Personal Details - Answer questions about personal details e.g. name, age, birthday, nationality.

School objects.
Food and drink- Ordering food in a restaurant or café
Clothes- Shopping in a clothes shop

In the chemist’s-products, body parts and ailments.

More food, drink  and quantities


Question words


At the end of year 8 pupils will be given the option of choosing the language they wish to study in year 9 and 10 from French/Spanish.  Results of the assessments in each language in year 8 will be taken into account.

Year 9 and Year 10

In Year 9 and 10 pupils will study a variety of topics which will prepare them for progression into a GCSE language class. The topics studied in Year 9 and 10 are:

Daily routine
Household chores
My home
School subjects
My area

During year 9 and 10 pupils will be assessed at key points throughout the course through listening, reading, written and speaking tests.

GCSE Languages (CCEA)

We encourage all students where suitable to follow a course in a Modern Language until the end of Year 12 in order to maximize chances of success in job and university applications. In all languages assessment is by terminal examination. 

GCSEs are offered in French, and Spanish. (provided a viable class can run).

The GCSE Examination in Modern Languages is made up of four components:

  • Listening

  • Speaking

  • Reading

  • Writing

The reading, listening and writing exams will be assessed at either Foundation or Higher Tier. 
The speaking exam has no tier of entry.  Grades ranging from A* - U are awarded based on outcome.  The allocation of marks in each area is as follows:

Unit 1 Speaking - 25%
Unit 2 Writing - 25%
Unit 3 Listening - 25%
Unit 4 Reading - 25%

GCE Languages (CCEA)

The CCEA specification at AS and A2 levels builds upon the knowledge, understanding and skills attained at Key Stage 4.

It is therefore essential that those good candidates opting for AS or A level in a Modern Language should have achieved a very good grade at GCSE level.

The format is common to French and Spanish and will assess the four skills area – listening, speaking, reading and writing – although not separately, as at GCSE Level.

The AS levels (Modules AS 1 & AS 2) can be taken as a “stand alone” qualification without progression to A2 (modules A2 1 & A2 2). 


Contexts for learning

The Contexts for learning and associated topics are set out below in grid format.  Where a statement of content is provided for AS level it is deemed to apply also to the A2 list.


AS Topics


  • Family Life and Relationships

  • Personal ad interpersonal realtionships

Culture & Lifestyle:

  • Physical well-being

  • Mental well-being

  • Interests

A2 Topics

Young people in Society:

  • Equality

  • Multicultural Society

  • Democracy and Conflict

Our Place in a changing world:

  • Conservation

  • Energy

  • Climate Change

A21 Speaking

Question 1: students introduce and discuss one individual research project based on either (6 minutes):

• a cultural aspect of a French-speaking country or community;

• a historical period from the twentieth century of a French-speaking country or community; or

• a region of a French-speaking country or community.


Question 2: conversation (9 minutes)

Total Time: 15 mins

Worth 18% of A2

Taken during the summer

A2 2: Section A – Listening

Students answer two sets of questions based on two discrete passages recorded on


Recording 1: students answer in French.

Recording 2: students answer in English.

45 mins

Worth 24% of A2

Taken during the summer

A22 Section B - Reading

Students answer two sets of questions and complete one summary exercise and one translation exercise.

Question 1: students complete a gap-filling exercise in French.

Question 2: students answer a set of questions in French based on one passage.

Question 3: students read a passage in French and summarise it in English.

Question 4: students translate a passage from English into French.

(2 hours)

Taken during the summer

A2 3: Extended Writing

Students write one essay in French in response to a set literary text.

18% of A level

1 hour

A2 18%

A2 60% of A Level

Taken during the summer

AS 1 - Speaking

Q1: Presentation - 3 minutes - AS 30% - Summer

Q2: Conversation - 8 minutes - A2 12% - Summer

AS 3 - Extended Writing

Students write one essay in French in response to a set film or literary text.

1 hour

30% of AS Level

12% of A Level

AS: 40% of A Level


AS 2 - Section A - Listening

Students answer two questions based on two passages recorded on individual disk.

Recording 1: student answer in the target language.

Recording 2: student answer in English.

40 minutes

AS 40%

A2 16%


Section B - Reading

Question 1: students answer one set of questions in French based on one passage.

Question 2: students translate a passage from French into English.

50 minutes


Section C - Use of Language

Questions 1, 2, 3 and 4: students complete a series of short grammatical and lexical exercises.

Question 5: students translate short sentences from English into French.

30 minutes


Extra Curricular Languages

At key stage three there is a weekly language club which all pupils are welcome to attend. In addition and where possible pupils are offered the opportunity to take part in language related events e.g. the opportunity Europe trip to Belfast. Where there has been sufficient demand, there have also been school trips abroad arranged.

In addition to teaching and support staff, the Language Department offers contact time with native speakers of the languages taught.

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