Modern Languages

At St Edward’s the learning of foreign languages is a key part of the curriculum in recognition of the huge demand for these skills amongst employers.

At St Edward’s the learning of foreign languages is a key part of the curriculum in recognition of the huge demand for these skills amongst employers. It is this focus on our students’ future prospects that also drives our decision to be one of few local schools to offer German to significant numbers of students. German and French are the top 2 languages desired by British businesses, which is no surprise with Germany being our second largest global trading partner after the US, and with France alongside Ireland and the Netherlands making up the top 5.

We teach both languages from Year 7 through to GCSE and A level, with our students achieving very strong results. Many of our former students then study languages at degree level or link language study to another discipline.

Curriculum Intent

Our role is to open doors to our students that will otherwise be closed, to open their eyes to the reality of a world and jobs market that is international, and in which young people from other countries speak multiple languages. We seek to develop in our young people a curiosity about the world outside Dorset and to inspire in them a sense of the opportunities available to linguists. Through excellent teaching we will enable our students to express themselves, in writing and in speech, in the languages identified as most in demand by employers, and introduce them to the culture and way of life in our nearest neighbours, both in the classroom and in the friendships our students can develop by participating in exchange programmes.

Our students will thus become global citizens, acquiring the skills, inquisitive mindset, intellectual curiosity and understanding that will enable them to work internationally.

Our students will be:

CONFIDENT in communication with their peers and adults in more than one language

EMPOWERED to take ownership of their learning and their future

HIGHLY-SKILLED in their understanding and use of foreign languages

AWARE of the world outside Dorset and the UK, inspired to travel and equipped to work and live internationally


We have longstanding partnerships with the Gymnasium am Kaiserdom in Speyer, Germany and the Collège Charcot La Bucaille in Cherbourg, France and run annual student exchanges with them.

As well as providing an opportunity to practise and hone their language skills these full exchange visits provide a complete cultural immersion to our students, with them hosted by a family throughout their stay. The cultural, linguistic and character-building experiences offered by these trips provide a unique opportunity to our students.

Alongside our international partnerships we are also linked to the Department of Languages and Linguistics at Southampton University, and have visited their campus with several groups of students in recent years. Our department has achieved the PTI Subject Leadership Mark in each of the last three years, enabling us to partner with other leading schools from across the country in developing excellence in the teaching of languages.

Key Stage 3

Students at Key Stage 3 currently study French or German.  Throughout Key Stage 3 we seek to teach students the vocabulary and grammar constructs needed for further study at GCSE.

Lessons are designed to be fast paced and fun, with a focus on speaking and writing the language as well as listening and reading comprehension.  We aim to immerse students in the culture of the main countries whose language they are learning and also to drive students to make rapid progress so that they are ready for the rigours of GCSE and A level study.  We encourage extensive and regular home learning to supplement work completed in class and expand students’ linguistic horizons. As in later study we provide students with online tools to support this.

Modules studied during Key Stage 3 include: personal information, my school, my free time, my holidays, my family, my home, my town, shopping and healthy living

We also teach all key grammar constructs needed for GSCE including: nouns and gender, past, present and future tenses, key verb conjugations, use of conjunctions, use of subordinate clauses, modal verbs, the imperfect tense, negatives, quantifiers, comparative and superlative.

Key Stage 4

In our globalised society and internationally-competitive employment market, a GCSE qualification in a foreign language is increasingly stated as desirable, and in some cases a requirement, for entry to many of our top universities.  It is also hugely advantageous in many careers, and a compulsory constituent of the EBACC group of subjects that are being strongly promoted. But the fact that languages are important is far from the only reason to choose them.  Learning languages to GCSE level is also enjoyable, challenging and interesting.  As well as opening doors, language skills also open eyes and minds to other cultures, giving students an enhanced understanding of the world and of our closest and most important partner nations.

At Key Stage 4 we follow the AQA GCSE curriculum, where the focus is on the rapid expansion of students’ vocabulary and grammatical understanding so that they can communicate with confidence by the time of the exams.  The course includes the use of authentic resources such as newspaper articles and the topics studied are current and interesting. The  course is designed to develop students’ cultural understanding as well as their language skills and unlike previous specifications focuses on true ability in the language for use in real-world situations.  Assessment is through 4 exams in listening, reading, writing and speaking which are sat at the end of Year 11.

Topics studied include: marriage and partnership, technology, leisure activities, customs and traditions abroad, our town and region, social issues, the environment, holidays and travel, school and careers and global issues.

As well as the learning that takes place in the classroom, we also offer students the opportunity to travel abroad to use their language skills in context and to experience life in Germany and France for themselves.

Method of Assessment

Exam board: AQA

Unit Assessment: All assessment is by final external exam with an even 25% split between 4 assessed skills: listening, reading, speaking and writing.

Pathways after Year 11

One of the great things about learning a language is that it is so much more than a subject – you will be acquiring a skill which, with practice, you can retain for the rest of your life.  After Year 11 you will have the opportunity to continue studying your chosen language to A Level, enabling you to achieve a strong level of fluency in the language. As highly-regarded academic subjects, languages at A Level can open doors to a range of courses at the UK’s top universities. Languages give students a clear edge in their future lives and careers.

Key Stage 5

At A Level our students follow the AQA course and quickly build towards a high level of fluency in the language. Students are taught by 2 teachers in each of French and German and students are encouraged to communicate entirely in the language studied, even outside of lessons! Topics studied focus on the social, cultural, economic and political environment in countries speaking the language, covering areas such as political change and engagement, immigration, cultural life, crime and punishment and history. We also study film and literature as part of the course.

Course Contact

Mr M Lenarduzzi

Modern Foreign Languages Subject Leader