Bonjour!      ¡Buenos días!

Why learn a new language?

Learning a foreign language opens up a whole new world

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

Nelson Mandela


Benefits of bilingualism

According to an article in The Telegraph, published 19th June, 2013, “Learning a foreign language is more than just a boost to your CV or handy for travelling. It will make you smarter, more decisive and even better at English”, says Anne Merritt.

Physiological studies have found that speaking two or more languages is a great asset to the cognitive process. The brains of bilingual people operate differently than single language speakers, and these differences offer several mental benefits

  • You become smarter
  • You build multi-tasking skills
  • It’s the perfect way to meet new people and discover new cultures.
  • Your memory improves
  • You become more perceptive
  • Your decision-making skills improve
  • You improve your English
  • Becoming fluent in a foreign language requires a high level of intelligence. It will make you stand out from the crowd and be an asset to your future job prospects too!

Knowledge of a foreign language is becoming extremely sought after in the field of International Business where A Level French or Spanish is needed to access certain degree courses. A good degree in this subject would be essential for the following:  teaching French or Spanish, Interpreter, work in import and export trade, the Foreign Exchange branch of a Bank and can lead to openings in most fields ranging from Law, Business, Journalism, the Media, Entertainment, Civil Service, Local Government to Tourism and Travel, Secretarial and Administrative work, Catering and the Hospitality Industry and many other jobs and professions.




Our Aims

We aim to encourage all pupils to develop their linguistic capabilities to the highest possible degree and to provide stimulating and enjoyable learning experiences, which may inspire pupils to continue their study of the language and embark on the study of a new one.


Mrs C Patterson. Head of Department

Mrs S Service.

Mrs S Crawford

Miss Louise Reid

Mrs Laura Stewart


French Assistant:

Mrs Diana Kelly

Spanish Assistant:

Mrs Esther McKeown-Ussher




Pupils work through a variety of topics in the language and develop the four skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking. The general topics are Classroom/School vocabulary, Family, Pets, Leisure, Describing where you live, Daily routine, use of Media and Holidays



Pupils currently follow the CCEA French and Spanish specifications. They take examinations in Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing. The oral component is conducted and assessed by their teacher.

Context 1: The Individual

Students’ lives, families, homes and interests, and those of others in French-speaking countries and communities

Relationships: families and friends;

Local environment: advantages and disadvantages;

Activities: daily routine and leisure activities; and

Health and lifestyle: diet, exercise and illness.


Context 2: Citizenship

Lifestyles, attitudes and customs in students’ own countries and communities, and in French-speaking countries and communities

Social issues: problems in society and equality;

Travel and tourism: destinations and choices;

Environmental issues: attitudes to and responsibilities for litter, transport, energy, conservation and recycling;

Media and communications; and

Celebrations: festivals and customs.


Context 3: Employability

Education and employment in students’ own countries and communities, and in French-speaking countries and communities

School life;

Part-time jobs: advantages and disadvantages;

Future plans: choices and expectations



The CCEA French and Spanish specifications are followed. Pupils cover a wide range of topics in the language and study a literary text and a film, as part of the course. They also attend Conversation Classes with the Language Assistant.

The topics are:



Culture and Lifestyle

For Unit AS 3: Extended Writing, students write one essay, in French or Spanish, based on their chosen set work.

Spanish Film:

El Bola

French Film:

Manon des Sources



Young People in Society

Our Place in a Changing World

For A2, students study

French Literature:

Mauriac: Thérèse Desqueyroux

Spanish Literature : La Casa de Bernarda Alba

For Unit A2 3: Extended Writing, students write one essay, in French or Spanish, based on their chosen set work.

Facilities & Resources

Pupils are taught by specialist teachers in subject-specific classrooms. Reading material in French and Spanish is available within the department and via the Language Assistant to promote further, independent study of the language.


Additional Information

The European Day of Languages is celebrated annually in school, providing opportunities to promote the study of French and Spanish.

In Year 9, pupils enjoy competing in the annual Spelling bee competition to see who is crowned champion, They have 100 words to learn to spell in French or Spanish in a four week period leading up to the grand finale where competition is fierce both in the class rounds and the individual rounds!

We have a partner school in Madrid and in October 2014 pupils travelled there to participate in language and cultural activities with their Spanish friends.

We have an annual careers event where visiting speakers are invited to school to inform our Year 10 pupils on the range of career options available to language students.

In Sixth Form, pupils attend the French and Spanish Study Days and Film Days  at Queen’s University, Belfast.


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