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Newman Catholic College

NewmanCatholic College

A UNICEF Rights Respecting School

Modern Foreign Languages (MFL)

​​​​​“If you speak to a man in a language he understands that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language that goes to his heart” Nelson Mandela

We believe that learning a Foreign Language sharpens people’s vision, helping them to make informed decisions not limited to their lived experience. By exposing our students to great literature and artists of the world we intend to liberate them from their insularity and arm them with the cultural capital that will transform their lives.

We offer World Class Language teaching that seeks to develop students’ ability to express their ideas and thoughts in French or in Spanish, as well as sustain a conversation with native speakers.  We use a variety of authentic materials and real life examples to immerse our students into the linguistic mechanisms of the target language. We fully recognise the etymological links between English and Latin languages and insist on dissecting words in order to reveal their meaning, thus enriching our students’ vocabulary. Equally, the teaching of grammar is at the heart of our practice, as we are striving to stretch our pupils thinking skills and ability to manipulate grammatical structures confidently and efficiently in both language.

We plan to travel abroad every year to ensure that our students are given the opportunity to improve their pronunciation and understanding of Modern Foreign Languages.

Finally, we are fortunate that the vast majority of our students are EAL and tease each other’s curiosity by sharing different experiences and languages. Indeed, there is an understanding that “Heart speaks to Heart” in an environment where young people are prepared to become global citizens.

Key stage 3 overview: 

At KS3, our students work towards broadening their Language and Vocabulary skills through exploring topics such as ‘The Self and Family’, ‘Social Media’, ‘Animals’ ‘Food and Drink’, ‘Hobbies’ and ‘Education’.

We also strive to introduce students to the life and culture of the countries where the language they are studying is spoken and hence include a number of enrichment projects, plays, trips and competitions. Aspects of Catholicity, including the school Prayer in the target language, are performed by the students in each lesson.

Year 7

The academic year is organised into two parts. The first three half terms, students learn either French or Spanish and the second part of the academic year (the three last half terms), they swap over. They are given the opportunity, therefore, to experience both languages. Students are given the freedom to choose the language they want to study from Year 8 up to Year 11. 

Key Skills:

  • Learning vocabulary
  • Listening strategies
  • Reading strategies
  • Study skills
  • Speaking initiation (phonics and pronunciation)

Grammar- grammatical terms immersion, the verb to be and to have, pronouns, the negative form, adjective and article agreement.

1st Half Term: Introduction to the Target Language

2nd Half Term: My family

3rd Half Term: Descriptions: Physical and personality

Year 8

Grammar- the present tense (regular and irregular verbs), the near future tense, the negative form, time expressions, giving opinion, justification using adjectives and applying the adjective agreement.

Autumn term: Free time activities, sports and media.

Spring term: School life.

Summer term: My local area and gastronomy.

KEY SKILLS: Reading, listening, speaking, writing, translation.

Year 9

Grammar- Sequence and frequency adverbs, three tenses together: present, past and future, the conditional, less common connectives and adjectives, more complex opinion expressions, contrasting ideas, reflexive verbs and pronouns. 

Autumn term: Holidays and routines.

Spring term: Healthy habits and role models.

Summer term: Careers and future aspirations.

KEY SKILLS: Reading, listening, speaking, writing, translation.

Key stage 4 overview : 

Students prepare for the Edexcel GCSE in French or Spanish.

Students work to develop their competence in the four key Language areas of Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, with an equal amount of time devoted to each of these skills in lessons.

The department has also has a greater focus on mastery of grammar which has been very successful in ensuring that pupils are able to work more independently. Indeed, students are expected to complete one main homework per week, as well as revising for a weekly vocabulary assessment based on the topics studied over the course of the year. We use an array of online and interactive resources to foster independence.

Second Language competence is strength in MFL and is celebrated. Students are invited to take part in plays and discussions in the Target Language. Extra modules are offered for our More Able students, including the study of Culture and Media in the Target Language.

We start to prepare our students for GCSE from year 9 onwards with the first year focusing mainly on developing the necessary skills to succeed at GCSE. We introduce some new topics that will be revisited later in the course:

  1. School and after school life
  2. Interests and Influences
  3. Culture
  4. Holidays
  5. Me and my background
  6. My local area
  7. Environment and global issues


“If you speak to a man in a language he understands that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language that goes to his heart” Nelson Mandela

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