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Cirencester Deer Park School

Cirencester Deer Park School


Learning another language is vitally important to prepare students for life in Modern Britain. Knowledge of a foreign language and how to learn it is not only a useful qualification, it is also something many future employers and higher education providers look for. A poll by the exam board OCR found that more than 90% of adults want their children to learn a language. 8 out of 10 Britons said they wished they could speak a foreign language better.

Find out about each Key Stage in Languages:

KS3 Languages

In Year 7, pupils are taught in mixed ability tutor groups and they learn either French or Spanish for four hours per fortnight.

In Year 8 and 9, pupils continue with their main language in ability sets and the more able pupils pick up German as a second language. Pupils are taught for 4 hours per fortnight in the lower groups; the upper groups study their main language for 3 hours and German for 3 hours.

Assessment takes place throughout the year. Pupils are assessed through homeworks, paragraphs, regular short tests as well as through end of Module Assessments. Each end of Module Assessment tests pupils’ Listening, Reading, Speaking and/or Writing skills.

KS4 Languages 

In Year 10 we are following the AQA GCSE course.  This will be examined at the end of Year 11, with 4 exams in Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing. Each skill is worth 25%. This course builds upon the topic areas that the pupils have studied in Key Stage 3. 

In Year 11 we are completing the Edexcel GCSE course which includes Controlled Assessments in Speaking and Writing (worth 60%) of the final grade and Listening and Reading exams (worth 40%) at the end of the course. 

Although Languages are now optional at Deer Park, we continue to have an uptake of over 60% each year.  

In Languages, we reinforce Literacy skills in every lesson through discussions around gender, spellings, and complex grammatical terms. We encourage pupils to use a wider range of vocabulary/structures for example using connectives, different tenses and adverbs. We have a bank of authentic reading materials to enrich pupils’ cultural understanding.

We support the development of Mathematics through the use of ICT, teaching of numbers, time, using different currencies, prices and quantities and through shopping. Pupils also have the opportunity to apply their mathematic skills when reflecting on their Assessments at the end of each module.

We cover aspects of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) awareness in Languages when we discuss cultural diversity. Pupils have the opportunity to compare their own lives in Modern Britain with their counterparts in the target language country.

Why study languages? 

Learning languages gives opportunities to develop listening, speaking, reading and writing skills and to express yourself with increasing confidence, independence and creativity. Pupils explore the similarities and differences between other languages and English and learn how language can be manipulated and applied in different ways. The development of communication skills, together with understanding of the structure of language, lay the foundations for future study of other languages and support the development of literacy skills in your own language.

If you enjoy communicating with other people, finding out how language works and learning about different countries and cultures, studying a language GCSE is an excellent choice for you.

Knowledge of a foreign language and how to learn it is not only a useful GCSE qualification; it is also something many future employers and higher education providers look for. If you think there is a chance you will travel abroad, meet someone from a different country or be looking for employment in the next few years, you will get much more respect if you can make yourself understood in someone else’s language.

Britain needs fluent linguists. Employers want evidence of good communication and analytical skills, confidence and outward-looking attitudes, so a language qualification is an important addition to anyone’s CV. It’s incredibly important to ensure our young people have as level a playing field as their European neighbours in this global market. By giving them the same skills as their contemporaries we are making them more employable.

The Director of CILT, the national centre for languages

Many schools and 6th Form Colleges are offering the International Baccalaureate as well as, or instead of, A levels and this always has a language element. Many university courses have either a language element or work experience abroad. Be sure you don’t cut yourself off from your chosen pathway. Check ahead...

Above all, we live in a multicultural society where we need to understand and appreciate that other people in our country may have a different culture and language. We are seeking ways to include up to 90% of pupils in GCSE learning opportunities.

ICT and Languages 

The Faculty is housed in a specialist suite of rooms with 30 dedicated computers where classes may be timetabled once a fortnight. We use a wide range of educational language software and also expect pupils to do regular class and homework tasks using Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The Languages pages on iDeer are a useful resource for pupils, parents and staff. Every classroom is equipped with an electronic whiteboard around which we continue to build a shared resource bank.

School Exchanges 

Pupils are given the opportunity to go abroad whilst at Deer Park, with trips to either France, Holland or Germany in Year 8 during the Summer Term, and in Year 11 to Germany. The foreign trips always prove popular, with over 200 pupils each year taking the chance to experience all aspects of culture, language, food, geography and history which have been studied whilst at Deer Park.  In addition to this we had a Spanish Exchange in 2015 and 2016 which was a big success and we are continuing to develop this link.

Cross Curricular Initiatives 

Opportunities exist to work creatively to establish exciting projects to enhance both the creative and functional aspects of the curriculum and there is a real willingness amongst both colleagues and pupils to explore dynamic initiatives which can impact upon learning within and beyond the curriculum. These could include poetry, music, art and history.

Extra Curricular 

In January, we run our Languages and the World of Work module for Year 9 pupils about how to decide their options for Key Stage 4 and to put language learning into context for the modern, international world. In KS4, pupils are offered the opportunity to attend Top-Up sessions with their teachers in preparation for their Controlled Assessments and final exams. We have been course-providers for primary French and ICT in Modern Foreign Languages.