The challenge | To improve cultural awareness to inspire future linguists.

Develop a challenging, innovative and enriching curriculum

Literature, poetry, film and music are used as tools to breathe life into languages. The school library now offers translated versions of well-known books such as Harry Potter to encourage independent reading. In Year 11, the French translation of Greta Thunberg’s environmental book is studied.

Enthuse pupils through subject-based activities beyond the curriculum

Languages Day was celebrated with the entire cohort of Year 7 being dressed in traditional costumes (80% of the school are from West Africa). Students had to find their flags in the canteen and Irish dancing, Afrobeats and Flamenco dancing took place. Year 13 run a lunchtime discussion group called “Because I’m a girl” aimed at tackling challenging issues around inequality, racism and sexism in the world.

Enrich the subject knowledge and impact of all teachers within the department

Teachers attended PTI courses which invigorated their approaches to teaching. Lessons were subsequently devised on the French motto, “Equality, Fraternity, Liberty” and the role of female spies in the anti-Nazi war effort.

Encouraged links within and beyond school, including universities and professional bodies

Native speaking teachers forged links with their old friends to set up pen pal links. Exchange programmes and trips to enabled pupils to experience another culture. Contexts such as visiting a sweet factory, schools and learning about conservation of wildlife in the Pyrenees provided real-life meaning to the experiences.

Contact | Frances Suc-Diamond