Languages is a flagship department at Anglo European School offering an unparalleled range of subjects to aspiring linguists and native speakers of other specified European languages.
Scientific studies have found that speaking two or more languages is a great asset to our cognitive processing. So as well as being culturally enriching, speaking a foreign language enhances the functionality of our brains boosting our problem solving ability.
Teaching staff and range of languages provided
The languages department is staffed by a team of specialist teachers and led by a management team under the direction of the Head of Department, Catherine Peeters. Mrs. Peeters has overall responsibility for all key stages, for the vision and ethos of the department, for curriculum development and for staff development needs. Subject leaders are also nominated for French, Fanny Gallet; Spanish, Hannah Latimer; German; Susannah Porsz and Chinese; Frank Wang. EAL, under the management of Ana McDermott is also part of the wider languages department.
Two teachers from China also offer extra support to our students and work in schools in the local community. We are one of two sites to host the Jiangsu Centre for Chinese Studies and we are also a recognised Confucius Classroom.
The languages curriculum is organised as follows:
Phase one languages – French, German and Spanish
Phase two languages – Russian, Italian and Japanese
Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) – Mandarin Chinese
All Year 7 students take two languages from the phase one group of French, Spanish and German. Those studying Chinese take this subject only as it has a double timetable allocation. Dedicated study of Chinese continues through to Year 11, culminating in entry for GCSE. In Year 8 most students continue with the two languages studied in Year 7 which are pursued through to GCSE. However these students can elect to drop one of their phase one languages at the end of Year 7 and pick up a phase two language in Year 8 from amongst Italian, Japanese or Russian instead. Hence most students take two language GCSE’s, other than those on the MEP and a few weaker linguists who are supported through the WJEC qualification. In this way we endeavour to accommodate the needs of all our students and offer the best possible choice.
All students in the Sixth Form study at least one language and a range of courses are available from which to choose. We offer A Levels in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Japanese and Chinese as well as the highly acclaimed International Baccalaureate Diploma at ab initio, standard and higher level. We also offer entry level qualifications across a range of languages. Most unusually, however, there is the opportunity to study selected parts of the IB Diploma with A Levels. We believe that this provides unrivalled opportunity for linguists to combine qualifications in a way which best suits their wider study interests.
Style of lessons
Lessons are typically lively and are taught in the target language as far as possible with the aim of inspiring students and encouraging learning. We consider a strong grasp of grammar an essential foundation for ultimate proficiency in a foreign language. Activities are designed to develop listening, speaking, reading and writing skills so that students become able to express themselves with confidence. However learning a language is not only about grammar and syntax, the journey through our syllabuses also provides a rich insight into the way of life in other countries and is hence expansive to young minds.
Determination of language options
Prospective students are invited, through their parents, to specify preferred languages upon application to the school. The cutting-edge Mandarin Excellence Programme, is limited to 30 students per year. We are one of only two state schools involved in this national initiative. Interest in this programme, which is subject to selection, should be registered on application to the school.
Students with close familial association or native speaker background in one of our phase one languages are expected to study that language alongside a second choice. However native speakers with strong mother tongue fluency in all four key skills (listening, reading, speaking and writing) are exempted from this requirement and may be considered for GCSE entry at a later date. The same arrangement applies for year 8 students with close familial association or native speaker background in phase two languages.
Whilst the combination of languages studied from Year 7 onwards is open to student choice, and we endeavour to honour preferences, the precise combination of languages for which any student is selected is subject to availability and timetabling.
Native speaker provision
Native Speakers are identified on admission to the school and their level of language is assessed during the Year 7 induction programme. The department supports languages provided on our curriculum through extra activities in addition to the class work completed by the rest of the class or with the agreement of parents, on extension work of a more advanced nature. There is particular emphasis on improving the accuracy of written language, which is often the weakest of the four skills.
We teach mixed ability sets in Y7-Y9 and students are set according to ability in Y10 and Y11.
Assessment of grammar and vocabulary is ongoing in our lessons throughout each term. Once per half term assessment is conducted on the unit of work that has been studied. This assessment comprises of two skills from the listening, speaking, reading and writing selection and also always contains a translation element.
Overseas visits programme
An extensive overseas visits programme is supported by all staff from the languages team along with all other full time teaching staff who accompany students annually for 10 days to France, Germany, Spain, Italy and China. Longer exchange visits are available to year 10 students to Frankfurt and Dijon and sixth form students have the possibility of work experience in the country of their language studied. The visits programme enhances the language learning process enormously and we encourage as many students as possible to take part in this programme. It also makes a significant impact on our students’ personal development. Annually, approximately 50% of our 1400 student take part in this programme. However, no such visits take place in Year 11 or the Upper Sixth, due to exams.
Other extra-curricular activities
We run support clinics for each language outside the curriculum and offer specific sixth form clinics on the timetable for sixth formers to attend as and when a need arises.
We support our sixth formers in the preparation for their speaking exams through the help of native speaker parent volunteers. Each sixth former is given a slot on their timetable above the standard language lesson provision.
There are also day visits to the Japanese Embassy, the British Film Institute and many more.
After school hours, our Lingua Centre opens its doors to members of the public who wish to learn a language. Currently we offer EAL (English as an Additional Language) and Italian classes. These classes are run by Anglo staff and fees are payable.
We seek to equip our students with the capability to communicate confidently in foreign languages and strive to enable each student to maximize their personal potential for success at examination. Significantly, Anglo European School students come to appreciate that languages contribute to the cultural richness of our society and help us develop a mutual understanding of other countries and cultures.