We are a team of well-qualified and committed linguists. We presently offer French, German, Spanish and Mandarin.

Peter Morton Strategic Lead for MFL, Teacher of French, Spanish and German

Ceri Jones Teacher of German and French

Sarah Coombes Teacher of Spanish and French

Rachael Dutton  Teacher of Spanish, German, French

Ben Pennington Teacher of Spanish and German

Laure Legname Teacher of French

Stephanie Reid Teacher of French

Fang Xiao Teacher of Mandarin

Why study languages?

As the world becomes a smaller place with greater opportunities than ever for travel and work abroad, learning a language becomes increasingly essential. We seek to equip our students with the world passport they require to venture out into the world of work and explore the possibilities that commerce and travel have to offer.

In the MFL department, we aim to give our students the skills to understand and hold a conversation, to read and write a language as well as learning about the country, its culture and way of life.

At The Castle School we currently run our languages department in the following way:

Year 7: ‘Taster’ sessions in 4 languages until Christmas (2 per half term). After Christmas, top band students will continue to study 2 of the languages that they have sampled. It is expected that these languages will then continue to KS4 and GCSE.  Lower band will continue with one language to get a firm foundation in that area

Year 8: Students will continue to study 2 of the languages that they have sampled. It is expected that these languages will then continue to KS4 and GCSE.  Lower band will continue with one language to get a firm foundation in that area

Year 9: Students will continue with the languages that they have been studying in year 8. Students can then opt to continue with one or both of their languages into KS4.

Lower band:   2 hours of French to give them a firm foundation in one language, with an additional hour of literacy support.

At Key Stage 4, students have the opportunity to either continue their French, German or Spanish studies or a mixture of any languages) if they have already studied the language(s) at Key Stage 3.  Those students who have taken French and Spanish in Key Stage 3, for example, but who wish to study German at GCSE will be required to attend extra-curricular catch up classes in the run up to year 10 so that they can be brought up to speed by the start of the GCSE course.

Visits Abroad

Our Year 8 cross-curricular French / History study visit to Normandy is a very popular trip where Key Stage 3 pupils are able to learn more about French culture and the history of World War II through visiting this beautiful region of France.  The students experience shopping at a French market; as well as visiting museums, war cemeteries and the Normandy landing beaches. Our trip in June 2013 was a huge success!

In 2011 we also set up an exchange with our German partner school which allowed our students to live in a German family and immerse themselves fully in the different language and culture.  This was a very successful trip despite most of the students not being able to speak the language.  We hope that, with the introduction of German in Key Stage 3 as of September 2012, this trip will grow even more in popularity and will serve as a useful tool for the German learners.

The Key Stage 4 Spanish trip is also widely recommended and encourages students to use their communication skills in a ‘real’ environment. 

 Extra curricular provision

We run a regular French club on a Thursday after school where students of all ages and abilities can come and get help with homework, get help with their work or brush up on their grammar.  KS4 students are supported extensively during lunch and form times with exam preparation and speaking practice in all languages offered.

Throughout the school year there are various language activities available to different year groups to promote a wider understanding of both language and culture. Oktoberfest is celebrated (without the beer), there is German week in the lead up to Christmas with a trip to the Frankfurt German market (in Birmingham!), as well at the European Day of Languages on 26th September.

Provision for the most able

Last year we introduced a primary ‘Gifted and Talented’ induction day, where year 6 students were supported in their learning of mandarin by year 7 students. In December the most able French students in Year 8 are given the opportunity to participate in an intensive residential weekend course with students from other schools in the South West at Kilve Court.  This helps them concentrate on sharpening their language skills and meeting like-minded linguists.

House Languages

The house languages competition gives students the opportunity to extend their linguistic skills beyond the classroom and combine them with music and drama. Each house must create some form of entertainment in any language, under the guidance of the Year 11 Languages prefects, meaning that native languages may also be used and celebrated. This proves to be an ideal opportunity for our EAL students (those with English as an Additional Language) to share their knowledge, language skills and expertise.


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