Modern Languages

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 – Subject Leader
  • Mrs S Service
  • Mrs S Crawford
  • Mrs Laura Stewart

French Assistant: Ms Joelle Coudiere

Spanish Assistant: Ms María Aledo Martinez





Pupils work through a variety of topics in the language and develop the four skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking. They have the opportunity to learn both French and Spanish.



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.  The four units are each worth 25% of the overall GCSE.

You will study a range of topics in three Contexts for Learning:

  • Identity, Lifestyle and Culture

Myself, my family, relationships and choices (for example family and friends)

Social media and new technology (for example online communications, computers, tablets and smartphones)

Free time, leisure and daily routine (for example sports, hobbies, cinema, TV, music, dance, fashion, eating out, shopping, at home, at school and at the weekend)

Culture, customs, festivals and celebrations (for example Easter, Christmas, birthdays, cultural activities and events, national holidays, celebrations and cuisine)

  • Local, National, International and Global Areas of Interest

My local area and the wider environment (for example home, neighbourhood, town or city, places to visit, region and country)

Community involvement (for example charity and voluntary work)

Social and global issues (for example health, lifestyle, antisocial behaviour, caring for others and caring for the environment)

Travel and tourism (for example holidays, destinations, transport, tourist information, weather, directions, accommodation, activities, shopping and eating out)

  • School Life, Studies and the World of Work

My studies and school life (for example school subjects, uniform, timetable, rules and regulations)

Extra-curricular activities (for example clubs, societies, events, trips and visits)

Part-time jobs and money management (for example evening work, weekend work and work experience)

Future plans and career (for example post-16 education, further studies, employment, aspirations and choices)


GCSE Overview:

Unit 1:


This is a written examination lasting approximately:

  • 35 minutes at Foundation Tier; and
  • 45 minutes at Higher Tier.

You will answer twelve questions, in English and French/Spanish.

Unit 2:


You will take part in two role-plays and a general conversation on two topics in French/Spanish.

The teacher conducts the speaking examination, which lasts 7–12 minutes (plus 10 minutes of role-play preparation time).

Unit 3:


This is a written examination lasting:

  • 50 minutes at Foundation Tier; and
  • 1 hour at Higher Tier.

You will answer questions in English and in French/Spanish as well as translating short sentences from French/Spanish  into English.

Unit 4:


This is a written examination lasting:

  • 1 hour at Foundation Tier; and
  • 1 hour 15 minutes at Higher Tier.

You will answer four questions including listing (at Foundation Tier), short phrase/sentence responses, translating short sentences, and an extended writing task (from a choice of three) in French/Spanish.




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:


AS themes:


  • different family structures;
  • roles, responsibilities and relationships within families;
  • challenges for families;
  • intergenerational issues; and
  • influences on young people, for example peers, family and friends.

Culture and Lifestyle;

  • physical well-being, for example diet or exercise;
  • risk-taking behaviour, for example smoking, alcohol and drugs or extreme sports;
  • dealing with stress and challenges, for example school or examinations;
  • hobbies and interests, for example sport or music;
  • the arts, film, fashion and design;
  • social media and new technology; and
  • holidays, festivals and tourism.


AS3: Extended writing

Film :

Berri: Manon des sources (French)

Achero Mañas : El Bola (Spanish)



A2 themes

Young People in Society

  • part-time jobs;
  • education and employment;
  • career planning – aspirations and/or intentions;
  • young people and democracy;
  • European citizenship – advantages, disadvantages and opportunities; and
  • societal attitudes and young people.

Our Place in a Changing World

  • equality/inequality and discrimination/prejudice;
  • poverty at home and abroad – causes, consequences and measures to combat it;
  • immigration and emigration – causes, benefits and related issues;
  • multicultural society and cultural identity – benefits and challenges;
  • causes, consequences and resolution of conflict; and
  • sustainable living and environmental issues.
  • Our Place in a Changing World.

A2 3: Extended writing


Pagnol: La Gloire de mon père (French)

García Lorca : La Casa de Bernarda Alba (Spanish)


AS/A2 French and Spanish overview

AS 1:


This is made up of a presentation

[3 minutes] which you will prepare in advance followed by a conversation

[8 minutes]. It will be conducted by an External Examiner. The speaking test will last approximately 11 minutes.

30% of

AS level

12% of A level

AS 2:

Listening, Reading and Use of Language

Section A: Listening

The listening test will consist of two sets of questions based on two passages recorded on disk. It will last approximately 40 minutes.

Section B: Reading

One set of questions in French based on one passage and one translation from French into English

Section C: Use of Language

Five questions with grammatical and lexical exercises and the translation of sentences from English into French

Sections B and C are combined into one paper which will last 1 hour 20 minutes.


40% of AS level

16% of A level

AS 3:

Extended Writing

The test will consist of one extended writing response chosen from a range of questions. This will last 1 hour.


30% of AS level

12% of A level

AS: 40% of

A level

A2 1:


This is made up of an introduction [1 minute] which you will prepare in advance followed by a discussion [5 minutes] and then a conversation [9 minutes].

It will be conducted by an External Examiner.

The speaking test will last approximately 15 minutes.


18% of A level

A2 2:

Listening and Reading

Section A: Listening

The listening test will consist of two sets of questions based on two passages recorded on disk with answers in French and in English.

It will last approximately 45 minutes.

Section B: Reading

The reading test will consist of two sets of questions in French based on two passages, one summary exercise and one translation from English into French.

It will last 2 hours.


24% of A level

A2 3:

Extended Writing

The test will consist of one extended writing response chosen from a range of questions. This will last 1 hour.


18% of A level

A2: 60% of A level


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 Year 9 Trip to Paris offers pupils an ideal opportunity to practice their language skills and to enhance their cultural knowledge of France.

Year 9 pupils also enjoy participating in our annual Spelling Bee competition, where they learn 100 spellings in French or Spanish over a 4 week period before the overall winner is decided in a hard fought contest in the grand finale, prior to our Easter break.

We also have a partner school in France and in June 2018 pupils travelled there to participate in language and cultural activities with their French friends.

In Sixth Form, pupils attend a Film Day at Queen’s University, based on the Spanish film they are studying at AS Level.

We also entered teams in Nicilt’s Francofest trade fair in February 2018 where Year 10 pupils had the opportunity to market their products in French.

In recent years, pupils have also participated in the A Level French and Spanish debating competitions run by Nicilt at Queen’s University, Belfast. These provide an excellent opportunity for pupils to put their languages skills to good practice.

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

On espère que vous ayez aimé notre page web! Bonne journée!

¡Esperamos que les haya gustado nuestra página web! ¡Qué tengan buen día!

[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”59″ display=”basic_thumbnail” show_slideshow_link=”0″]