MFL - Queen Katharine Academy - Commended for the BMC Award

The Spanish department’s vision was to implement more opportunities for learners to develop their independent and spontaneous production of target language. This included creating staff and student resources, expanding extracurricular opportunities and participating in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) projects.

During the lockdown, the department explored ways that technology and online resources could enhance students’ experiences of language learning. Platforms, such as Nearpod and Genial.ly, have increased student motivation and participation in lessons. The Languages department was selected by the TDET trust to pioneer the use of iPads in KS5 lessons as part of the TDET Transform Project. This encouraged students to become independent learners and also created greater opportunities for students to advance their language skills.

The department has expanded extra-curricular opportunities to engage students and enrich their linguistic and wider skills. KS3 students are offered the chance to take part in the Routes into Languages Spelling Bee and Translation Bee competitions, resulting in students winning prizes at a national level. Cross-curricular projects such as LinguaMaths and a Year 7 Eurovision project are also offered.

One of the greatest impacts on increasing students’ curiosity and engagement came from participating in CLIL projects. Year 9 Spanish groups took part in a project to offer them a unique experience of bilingual education and an opportunity to learn a History-based topic. Teachers from the Spanish and History departments collaborated to devise a sequence of lessons covering the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The lessons were highly engaging and well received. Students were able to expand their range of vocabulary and develop their use of higher-order Spanish language. The CLIL projects have now been extended into a Year 8 Geography module, taught in Spanish, on Dark Tourism. Staff shared their experiences of bilingual education to the Peterborough Association for Languages network and were approached by the organiser of Linguascope Webinars to share their finding with Languages teachers across the country.

The department’s community and international Language Leaders schemes have allowed students to attend training led by the University of Cambridge, providing them with the tools to create and deliver lessons to local primary school Spanish students. The Erasmus+ Language Leaders project has also provided students with opportunities to deliver virtual English lessons to French and Greek partner schools. These schools have in turn taught QKA students about the language and culture of France and Crete.