Modern Languages

Learning a foreign language is an opportunity for children to develop a lifelong skill that enables them to broaden their intellectual horizons and enrich their cultural awareness. We aim to inspire an enthusiasm for languages from the start so children can see language learning as a way of making sense and communicating effectively with the world around them.


At all times, communication is at the heart of our approach – and we believe in starting young. Younger children are fascinated by new sounds and new language and are not afraid of trying to reproduce them. The pre-prep school is the perfect place to begin learning a language. Children can start mastering the basic skills of listening and speaking in a foreign language and through games, rhymes and songs can practice the important skill of extracting what they need to know from a body of unknown language.

Throughout their time with us, children are encouraged to pursue an active engagement in their learning in a happy, non-threatening environment. In doing, so they can develop self-confidence as well as expertise in the language. We constantly look for new ways to bring the subject to life. For example, European Languages Day is celebrated annually, with every child dressing up to represent a country, and offered taster sessions in languages including German, Spanish and Russian.

In terms of achievement, we have an impressive record in Common Entrance and Scholarship examinations.

Modern Languages Assessment

Regular examinations and weekly tests help identify strengths and weaknesses and support future progress.

Modern Languages Curriculum and Teaching

As children progress through the school, the number of lessons increases from one per week to three per week in Year 8. The emphasis also gradually moves from Speaking and Listening to Reading and Writing. This is to accommodate the rigorous demands of CE and Scholarship exams. The CE Syllabus mirrors the National Curriculum and so provides excellent preparation for further study at GCSE and AS Level.

In languages lessons, children might be acting out a short conversation, giving a presentation, using an interactive website, learning a new tense, drawing a poster to explain a grammatical point, designing a brochure, doing a vocabulary test, creating a PowerPoint, listening to authentic recordings, conducting a survey, playing vocabulary games, singing songs, talking about music or working with puppets.

  • Year 2 children are taught by class teachers - from then onwards by a subject specialist.
  • New courses and materials have now been introduced in Years 3-8.
  • In Years 3 and 4 the innovative Catherine Cheater Scheme is now greatly enjoyed by pupils and teachers, with parents noting the increased oral competence of their children.
  • In Years 5-8 the Expo Course has also been greeted with enthusiasm: its practical and highly accessible approach is ideally suited for EC and Scholarship exam preparation.
  • In Year 8, children who have completed their examinations are offered the opportunity to learn German.
  • Pupils are encouraged to take part in our e-twinning programme with the Collège Fenelon Sainte Marie in Paris.

We are also fortunate to have the use of an ICT suite, enabling us to make use of the wealth of online resources available. ICT also allows the children to work independently, at their own pace, in or out of school.

Modern Languages Department Staff

Karen J Perry Head of Department,
Years 6, 7, 8
Mr D J Whately-Smith Year 5
Mrs E A Cox Years 3, 4
Mrs J M Morgan Year 2