Through the study of a modern language our sixth formers learn to understand and appreciate different countries, cultures and people – and as they do so they are able to think of themselves as citizens of the world as well as of the United Kingdom. Our modern linguists build on their knowledge of the structures of the language that they have already learned up to GCSE level. They are encouraged to develop an understanding of the spoken and written forms of their chosen language from a variety of registers. They learn how to communicate confidently, clearly and effectively and to manipulate and apply the language in more sophisticated ways.
Students develop critical insights into the contemporary society and culture of countries where their chosen language is spoken. The development of these skills, together with their knowledge and understanding of the structure of the language, lay foundations for future study either of the same language or of other languages at University.
In Year 12 students are guided carefully through the transition from GCSE to A-level and they are encouraged to adopt a much more independent approach towards their studies. They are able to draw on a wide range of resources for their own independent research: they are taught how to surf the World Wide Web using their target language to find relevant articles for their coursework; they are encouraged to use email to correspond with their fellow linguists in other countries.
They have access to magazines, various texts, audio and DVD materials in the Department’s well stocked library and in the Learning Resource Centre. Here they can work on a vast range of texts, past papers and individual assessment tasks. Students have the facility to download audio files in MP3 format in order to work on them outside school.
The presence in this area of the French Cultural Delegation, the Goethe Institute and the Instituto Cervantes, as well as the proximity of several universities, gives our sixth form modern linguists access to a wide range of teaching materials, language days, play performances and films, all of which provide an invaluable extra dimension to their studies.
Languages are widely viewed as increasingly important in today’s global economy and indeed many university departments such as Business Studies and Law look favourably upon applicants with a language ‘A’ level. Graduates of Modern Languages enjoy one of the highest employment rates of any subject in the UK. The many transferable skills they acquire through living and studying abroad gives them a competitive edge in an increasingly global job market.