• MFL Header Autumn 2013

Modern Languages

One of the key strengths of the Faculty is the breadth of choice that students are offered. In year 7, they start either French or Mandarin. In year 8, they start a second MFL, choosing between Spanish or German.

The Faculty maintains an excellent public examination record and pupils report that they enjoy language learning.  Almost all pupils gain A*-B grades at GCSE, and our AS/A level results have been similarly pleasing over the years, most gaining A or B grades with many students continuing their study of languages at university.

The teaching team is experienced and motivated; collaborating on new initiatives and sharing good practice. There are 5 specialist teaching staff who are supported by 3 native speaker assistants who help the girls to perfect their conversation skills.

The Faculty has a state-of-the-art language laboratory which enables interactive lessons using the latest ICT technology.

In addition to language teaching, a cultural understanding and awareness of the target language culture is successfully promoted and students are given the opportunity of very many extra-curricular clubs, trips and events.

From year 9 onwards, girls can attend the Internet Café which runs a French blog. There is a Mandarin Club for those who haven’t chosen Mandarin as part of the curriculum. There is an annual Year 8 day trip to Northern France and the German department has developed a home stay exchange programme with the Angela Merici Gymnasium in Trier (see German Exchange download at the foot of this page). Girls start corresponding with penfriends in year 8. Following the stays, girls present a bi-lingual assembly on their experience. The Mandarin department offers a bi-annual trip to China, open to all year groups.

castellon spainThe Spanish Department are delighted to have a new international link with Penyagolosa High School, in the sunny region of Valencia. Eight students from year 10  participated in the first Spanish Exchange to Castellón, visiting Valencia in June 2014, with our Spanish partners visiting us in September 2014. The students were involved in an exciting programme of activities, enabling them to discover the traditions and beautiful coast line of this region known as the Orange Grove of Spain. Visits included guided tours of three cities and plenty of gastronomic and cultural opportunities. Our girls are developing strong friendships to last a lifetime.

For those who continue their languages beyond GCSE, there is a European Work Experience programme for year 12 and students can also take part in a MFL residential conference at  Reading University.

In Year 12, there is a summer residential trip to Paris with an emphasis on literature and arts.

The Faculty has developed a Film Initiative, available in all four languages through either the BFI or Film Education. Eight cinema events ran during the academic year 12-13. The initiative makes languages more accessible, promoting culture and developing the learning experience.

Pupils celebrate Chinese New Year, Cinco de Mayo and the International Day of Francophonie. At KS3, they are encouraged to research these cultural events and present assemblies to the school.

Older students carry out short cultural and linguistic projects and also present these in assembly. Last year, students in Year 10 completed the “le mur des je t’aime” project by which was cross-curricular with the Art Department.

In Year 10, all girls attend a “let’s talk languages” day with visiting speakers and language activities such as salsa dancing, French cookery, calligraphy and German drama. The aim is to promote languages as an option at sixth form and beyond.

In Years 7 & 8 students visit either the British Museum and China Town or the French Institute to learn about Chinese and Mandarin culture. Spelling Bee 2014 gold medal Y8 winners

The students are also given the opportunity to compete. We present teams from Year 7-9, across all four languages at the GDST National Spelling Bee competition (see photo right) and in school we ran a Christmas competition. The girls wrote their letters to Santa in a Modern Foreign language of their choice.

Please see below for articles relating to MFL teaching and learning at BHS.   

Click here to read more about our International Dimension.


Filename Size  
Meridian Magazine article on teaching Mandarin AND Classi... Download
Teaching Mandarin at BHS Download
MFL Chinese New Year celebrations Download
MFL Film review Download
MFL trip to British Film Institute review Download
German Exchange 2014 265 KB Download